Saturday, October 10, 2015

Wine and Wandering in Barcelona

Extra wine and wandering to make up for the lack of workouts ;)

I mean it on the extra wandering - my friend’s fitbit count was in the 20,000 steps range every day!

Despite starting with a 3-hour delayed flight, I had an amazing long weekend with friends in Barcelona - the kind that makes me want to pick up and move there for a few months!  I would definitely have to buy a bigger jean size though, to allow for all the extra jamón (aka meat candy) and wine.  

Since we all arrived really late on Friday, we wandered in the streets until we found an open tapas/wine bar and started off the trip with a lovely late night meal - I can’t remember everything we ordered, but there were jamón Ibérico croquettes, octopus, and a grilled goat cheese salad with figs and honey, all washed down with [a couple glasses of] a beautifully smooth Tempranillo Grenache (I think it’s granacha in Spanish - * edit - it's "garnacha" ;) *).  A perfect meal and a good night’s sleep for a big first day ahead of us!

Exploring Park Guell and Gaudi House Museum

After a lot of walking, we went to Cerveceria Catalana at a friends’ recommendation - and, just as she said, there was a wait for a table, but it was 1000% worth it!  The restaurant serves upscale tapas (small sharing plates), with a large selection of fresh delicious, seafood.  We loved it so much that we came back here for our last meal in Barcelona.  Some favorites (basically everything we ordered!):  grilled octopus, calamari, padron peppers, patatas bravas, prawn skewers, pan con tomate, cheese, crispy camembert (cheese coated with peanuts and topped with jam) and of course, jamon Iberico (<-- we ate a jamon plate roughly twice per day and I’m not even a little bit sorry).

Casa Batllo

Dinner was at the famous 4 Gats and the highlight was the gin and tonics - they don’t even have a cocktail menu, and if you ask, they will just tell you they do gin and tonics.  There was a card on the table showing four G&T options - classic, herbacious (my pick!), floral, and spiced.  My two friends rolled with the floral option and it had whole strawberries in it that tasted like fruity, gin-soaked heaven.  Part of the treat was watching them be made very elaborately in these lovely goblets.

To finish off the night, we walked around the Gothic quarter and discovered that there was a massive music festival in town for the weekend (we saw it several times), came across some street tango dancing that I could have watched for hours,

and ended up at a Vinateria for a late night jamon and wine snack (the best!)

Crucial Wine Choice

I could eat this every day and die happy!

The next day, we took a looooong stair-filled trek to Montjuic and enjoyed a beautiful tram ride up the mountain:

There we discovered that the music festival had taken over much of the area and there was no coffee to be found.  

We consoled our dropping blood sugar with some sweets before searching for the “brunch place with an amazing view” that we’d gotten an insider tip about and ended up unknowingly hiking all the way down to the base of the cable car.  

The restaurant was completely unremarkable on the outside, but after walking in, we knew it was worth it.

We stayed for awhile and enjoyed some lighter entrees and a bottle of Cava to prepare ourselves for a long walk to La Sagrada Familia.

We couldn’t go in the main church because it was closed for an event, but we went into the crypt and walked around the outside. It was absolutely beautiful.

We then walked EVEN MORE to head out to the W hotel to check out the killer views.  We weren’t allowed in to the club (which we were pretty okay with) due to our casual footwear, but we found a perfect spot outside to sit and watch the sunset.  

Rare pic of yours truly ;)

Then we found a fantastic restaurant nearby for dinner.


It turns out that the secret to liking olives is to soak them in a gin mare and tonic, and then they’re delicious ;)  More jamon, tapas, and Gin Mare (<-- my new favorite gin and first ever duty free alcohol purchase on the way home!).

Cheers to birthday girl, Katelyn!

We finished our final night in Barcelona by exploring the Gothic Quarter some more in search of this peaceful square that Katelyn had seen before - a former bomb site where the damaged walls remain around a fountain near a beautiful hotel and restaurant.

I had such a wonderful time with Katelyn and Olga and can't WAIT to go back to Barcelona any time and go explore other cities with these girls! :D

Hasta luego!