Barcelona is funky. Warm. Cultured. The most laid back big city I’ve been in (which hasn’t been many). It quickly makes sense why it’s rated the 2nd best beach city in the world, behind Rio. The style is casual, flip flops and shorts are more abundant, skateboarders with overgrown mohawks roam the streets, and parks are full of the dazed and confused. Large sidewalks make walking around easy and even pleasant, while older narrow streets not suited for cars make for fun wandering (getting lost) in the city. There are lots of street side attractions to stay amazed, like food tents, street fairs, pop-up shops, restaurants and bars.
I arrived late after flying through the most terrifying and most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen – a gnarly lightening storm that surrounded the plane. White rods exploded just meters from my window. I thought for sure, flying in that large metal container, that that was going to be it. At first, I shut the window, totally and completely freaked out at the silver fire surrounding me. But after a few minutes, I realized, this is the coolest thing I’ll ever see and continued to watch the light show envelop. When I checked into my hostel at 2 am, it was surely time for a beer. I met some Aussies that had been traveling around Portugal in a van as a surf trip. We went out to the street to hang out in the van and found a homeless junky breaking into it. Apparently Barcelona is known for this kinda thing. The Aussies weren’t too bummed, so we hung out all night and I fell asleep somewhere around 7 am – which I hear, is typical for this city that never sleeps. The next morning was warm and sunny and looking at the map, I was happy to see that blue surrounded us. Get me to the beach. It’s time.
Okay but only after indulging in the local food and drink, of course. This being tapas (small plates), pintxos (small bites eaten off a toothpick), and of course – paella. The drinks of Barcelona are cava (a sparkling wine), and vermouth (Sangria is actually from a different region). So I had it all. Then did my European traveler due diligence and saw a church *eye roll*, some art work (the only Picasso piece in the city), and then hit the beach. It was a short trip – a chance to see the City – and for sure I missed many of the “tourist attractions”. But I do know that for a City beach, actually no, for any beach it was damn beautiful. Crystal and I mean crystal clear water, perfect temperature, perfect energy, not to mention being top free was the norm and it only took 15 minutes by bus from the city center. So nice.
And the food culture I loved. Smaller portions so you can try lots of things in different rounds. Cured meats, seafood, sardines (gross), various toppings on slices of baguette and omelettes and fried things. Over-consumption, again, was encouraged. And that we did.