I don’t know if it’s just the sun. Or if it’s just the blue skies, the buildings, the sea, the girls, the food, the wines, the craft beers or all of it together at the same time. Probably it’s this last alternative. But after 5 months without the sensation of having one complete day with warm sunlight in my skin and blue skies, Barcelona had quite an impact over me.
I have to say that I wasn’t expecting much. I booked a hostel for 9,50 euros the day, got a somewhat cheap plane ticket in a decent departure-arrival time and would get to meet up with some friends that I hadn’t seen for a while. All of that made me think that it would at least be nice to spend a week in this Spanish city, but I guess I wasn’t quite ready.
Surprises are always along the way, for those who keep on walking. I arrived on a Tuesday night, and later on, to this old building in the Barceloneta district. I don’t know if honestly I would recommend this hostel, despite the fact that I enjoyed myself a lot over there. I got a bed in a room for 4, during five days at an excellent price and, amazingly, stayed there the whole period by myself. The thing is: the reception only opens for 2 hours and if something happens you just have to deal with it somehow, and no breakfast is included, though a small café is just under the hostel. If you’re like me that don’t bother much with those things, go ahead and book yourself a room, you’re going to enjoy it.
On the second day I met my friends. This may sound as the “what I did in my last vacations” type of text, but truthfully those five days were like going to another world inside Europe. The architecture of the city is very interesting, the Spanish people are quite “sui generis” and it just feels like good times wherever you go.
Especially if you’re like me, a hungry, thirsty and walking man, it’s your type of town:
– You eat very well. From those fancy places up in Passeig de Gracia to simple restaurants in alleyways to those obscure… things… in the gothic area, you probably will find decent food in a very honest price. Especially if you go to somewhere with local food, such as a ‘bar de tapas’, where you serve yourself in sort of a buffet and eat different snacks: from olives and cucumbers to a type of bruschetta with goat cheese, tomato and ‘jamon’.
– You drink very well. In this aspect it goes along the lines of Rome. The wine isn’t as famous as the french but they still manage to present quite interesting stuff for a very honest price. And caves, the Spanish champagne, is a must if you’re into some nice drinking – this place from the photo is awesome, for example. And look out for some beer places such as Cerveteca! The craft Spanish beers are on its babysteps towards something interesting, I tried some local Barley Wines and Porters, everything pretty robust and different.
– The subway is a bless. It will take you to everywhere from everywhere. The geography of this town is a little different and the subway covers it very well. Making it the perfect allied for those who like to wander around without much care, knowing that there will always be a quick and efficient transport alternative around to take you home. And besides, usually there are some good musicians in the subway, especially some “señores” playing the accordion. Totally worth it.
– Don’t plan too much. Think of three or four things to do per day, but don’t rush to do all of them and use public transportation as often as you can, and take it easy. It’s that type of town that you can spend hours on some café watching people going by.
I would easily spend a month there. But that’s me. Some people think that a week or two it’s enough, but as I realized, if you wanna fully enjoy Barcelona – and by that I mean, from going to clubs at night, to buying a “pata negra” down at La Boquería, to just chill in front of Barceloneta’s beach – I would definitely recommend a month or so.