My name is Mat, I’m 39yrs old and I live in Southampton. (I moved down here from South of London 20yrs ago and have stayed ever since).
My first trip to Barcelona was for La Noche Vieja (New Year’s Eve) in 2004. It was around this time that the “no frills” airline boom really started to take off (no pun intended), and quite a number of my then work colleagues booked short breaks to Barcelona via Ryanair’s Bournemouth to Girona service.
Tying in with this my family normally had a couple of nights somewhere in the UK or France for NYE, so given the great things my work colleagues said about Barcelona I suggested to the family we went to Barcelona… and that’s where my 10yr (ok, its 11yrs and counting) obsession with Barcelona started.
View from the Museu d’Història de Catalunya
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Houses in Carrer Campoamor, Horta-Guinardó
Being born and raised in Barcelona has given me the chance to enjoy this wonderful city in many ways. Now that I live abroad, I still regularly come back to Barcelona, to see my family and friends, to enjoy Barcelona’s culinary and cultural hotspots, and of course, the nice weather and the sun! For my perfect day in Barcelona I’ve made a summary of my favourite places and local spots, which I always enjoy visiting.
My perfect day would begin in Horta, which is the neighbourhood where I grew up and where my family lives. At one of the terraces in Plaça Eivissa I would start my day with a café con leche (a cup of coffee with milk) and some sweet pastry. At Plaça Eivissa there’s also a churrería. Pick a handful of churros and eat them while you discover Horta! Carrer del Tajo is the main shopping street with a local market you cannot miss. A bit further you can discover Carrer d’Aiguafreda, where in the past century clothes from Barcelona’s upper-class members were cleaned. Read the rest of this article…
UPDATE: Unfortunately the excellent Manolete is no more. It is now the Aperol Spritz Bar. A nice bar, with a covered terrace, in a good location, that thankfully serves more than Aperol.
Manolete, Passeig d’Isabel II, Barcelona
Located slap-bang next to Port Vell underneath the beautiful arches that line parts of Passeig d’Isabel II, Manolete is a charming little restaurant serving some equally charming tapas.
Now I want to be up front here. I don’t normally do restaurant posts. I’m not normally invited to restaurants. To review them I mean – I have friends. But Manolete kindly invited me and for once with these sort of things they were kind enough to invite my wife too. So it was brownie points all round.
We arrived on a warm August evening. You can see Manolete from across the street thanks to the string of bright bulbs out front that remind me of a stage actresses dressing room mirror. They have a small terrace outside with cute red and white polka-dot tablecloths. Inside is similarly charming. It has some nice touches. Distressed-look cupboards filled with glasses and wine, modern black and white photography perched on a shelf half way up the back wall, and pretty embroidered cushions along the wooden but perfectly comfortable benches. Even as I write this it sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it does. The lighting was just right too. And the music playing in the background was loud enough to notice but quiet enough not to be intrusive. I have to admit, I sat down, arranged my cushions behind me, looked around, listened, and then smiled. Even though the restaurant was pretty empty at this point it was an extremely pleasant atmosphere. Read the rest of this article…