Bon Dia, Barcelona! Barcelona is an amazing city with an attitude. The people of Catalonia have a chip on their shoulder and for good reason, they have been taken advantage of throughout their history and they are sick of it. The people of Catalonia are different and they like it that way, it seems to me it just does not satisfy them to be the best at something, but they want to be the best in an original almost inimitable style. an early example of this is the famous architect Antoni Gaudi, who at the time of his graduation it is said the Dean of his college stated “I am not certain if we have awarded this degree to a genius or a madman, only time will tell”, another, the Adria brothers of El Bulli fame, which not only holds the record for the most times ranked #1 on the Worlds 50 Best Restaurant’s List (5 times) but has been called the greatest culinary think tank and innovation center that’s ever existed and of course you cannot talk about Barcelona without talking about the GOAT, Messi, la pulga, who of course was not born in Catalonia but has famously said Catalonia made him who he is. The GOAT is able to run circles around others on the pitch and do things with the ball that make it look like he has it attached to his feet with a string, it truly must have been a beautiful sight to see him play at Camp Nou.
The sights in Barcelona are spectacular, five days is not enough to see everything but we saw what we really wanted too. The one must is the La Sagrada Familia, a Roman Catholic Church designed by Gaudi in the late 1800’s and still under construction! over 100 years later (all this time without the proper permits btw). The almost melting look of the outside of the church, that when finished will have 18 Spires representing the 12 apostles, the Virgin Mary, the 4 evangelists and Jesus Christ and 3 Facades, the Glory, the Nativity and the Passion, brought me back to my childhood and the look of the sandcastles I made with drizzling wet sand on the beaches of the Jersey shore, other people have compared it to candle wax melting, it really is an astonishing creation and just jaw dropping to lay eyes on when you come upon it. The inside was so unexpected, so modern and filled with light, colors and joy, it was such an interesting dichotomy to me; the outside made me want to stare at it all day long and see the beautiful artistic touches of the Passion façade while the inside made me feel so comfortable and I could realistically see myself enjoying mass there every day. Now as a person that is scared of heights ascending the towers in an elevator was fine, but descending the tunnel like steps was definitely a little claustrophobic as I held on to the walls and made sure to take each step one by one. La Sagrada Familia is already a masterpiece and I can’t wait to see it when it is finally completed. Another Gaudi creation we thoroughly enjoyed was the Park Guell, next time we are in town we will make sure to pick up enough food and wine to picnic there all day as it is a stunning location to just meander around looking at all the gorgeous mosaics and seeing Barcelona from some of the best views the city has to offer. A great thing about traveling with kids is that you visit things you never would without them, for this reason we ended up going to the Naval museum where we were able to see a totally reconstructed Spanish Armada ship and learn about the cool history of maritime activities in Barcelona. Other sites we enjoyed on the trip included the beach, Picasso museum, Mercado la boqueria (where I picked up some fresh Gallacian Crabs one night and cooked us up a homemade meal of crab spaghetti) plus some plazas, and many parks.
Oh the food, I miss the food, from the tapas bars to the sit down shared plates the Catalan Capital has so much to offer any palate that graces Barcelona with their presence. From our first stop for tapas at Cerveceria Catalana to our final meal at Fismuler our taste buds were exploding with joy from one meal to the next. From that first taste of sweaty salty Jamon Iberico to that last bite of decadent Real Cheese cake I was impressed beyond belief with not only the tastes but the simplicity and freshness of each bite I enjoyed. All of this delicious food and yet so inexpensive, I was staggered after our first sit down meal, I was expecting a price tag well into the 300 dollar mark and it was less than half of that, part of the reason for that is because in Spain, wine is cheaper than water, in fact one of the hardest things on the trip to do was staying hydrated because water is pretty expensive considering how cheap but delicious the wine is, I came to saying Spain, where the Wine flows like Water and the Water flows like well it really does not… Iberian ham, Grilled red prawns, Galician and razor clams, lobster rice, stuffed peppers, fried sardines, cockles, grilled sausages, paella, fideua, Spanish cheese and meats, Real olives stuffed with anchovies, wine from Porrons at Bar la Plata, I mean I can go on and on, oh fuckin my! Barcelona is a delicious destination. I must give one special shoutout to a very special restaurant, not only was the food terrific but the waiters were so family friendly, we would be at El Chigre 1769 for 3 hours and the servers would be playing with Cash, walking around him as he played on the ground and joking with him, it was so fun, such a welcoming jovial atmosphere. This restaurant is a Cidery that is able to accomplish the great feat of serving traditional Asturias (region where Jose Andres was born) and Catalonian food. We loved this restaurant so much we went twice, the Asturian specialties of Chorizo in cider and Fabada were on point and every fresh grilled fish we got was just so melt in your mouth perfection. Not to mention Cash got to bartend for the first time as the cider bottles we ordered came with their own special device to pour the cider and Cash loved being a bartender. This place is a must go if you find yourself in Barcelona.
The people of Barcelona were so welcoming to us all, except for the one night I was scolded singing Happy Birthday in Polish “Sto Lat” late at night at El Xampanyet to another patron, the staff exclaimed we have neighbors but even that night they kind of laughed it off, to Cash they were so wonderful you could truly feel the love of family and kids in each establishment we went to. It is a place that has everything you would want in a destination. It reminded me of my home city of Philadelphia in a lot of ways, a city of neighborhoods and community and while the people don’t always seem the most pleasant if you embrace their culture and respect them, they will accept you as their own and help show you how to have the best possible time in their city.
Barcelona 4.77 Sizzles