Thanks for clicking on the Free Barcelona Travel Guide. There are 10 chapters total, listed at the end of this post. Check out the introduction for more information.
This day started fortuitously enough as I burned out our sound machine/alarm clock. You wouldn’t think this was a big deal, but none of the hotels we stayed at had clocks in the room. 2 of them had bidets, though, which is an important lesson on priorities. After wandering around for a minute looking for a place to eat breakfast, we ended up at Taller de Tapas in The Born around Santa Maria del Mar which ended up being my favorite area of Barcelona. I ordered what seems to be Barcelona’s civic meal, un bocadillo de jamon y queso and JR had a croissant.
Next stop, the Picasso Museum. After waiting in line for about 20 minutes, we were let in and started walking through the different rooms representing different eras of Picasso’s painting. It was fascinating to see so much work by a single artist, but the museum was somewhat of a failure on an informational level. The descriptions on the walls of the first couple rooms were helpful and pointed out the important paintings in each room. As we moved forward, however, the descriptions became confused, describing paintings not being exhibited, or worse yet, paintings in rooms we had just seen. It was neat to see Picasso’s work in other mediums such as printing and ceramics, and the illustrative representation of his playful relationship with his friend and secretary, Sabartes (doodle portraits on pinup posters and a portrait of Sabartes in a ruff!). The real treat of this museum, though was the special exhibit, Forgetting Velazquez. Las Meninas. “Las Meninas has been one of the most widely analyzed works in Western Painting” and the exhibit was a series of artists showing their interpretation of the painting in their own style culminating in Picasso’s own multi-month 40-odd study of Las Meninas. The special exhibit made the museum worth it for me, though JR disagrees and suggests the whole thing.
After the museum, we did some more walking and wandering and ended up on the edge of Parc de la Ciutadella at an Argentinian place called El Foro. El Foro was notable for the presentation of its Gazpacho (a bowl of tomato soup and a long plate with chopped onions and 3 different types of peppers) and the salsa which, from what I could tell, was olive oil, oregano, pepper, and bay leaf mixed into deliciousness. Parc Ciutadella is a large park on the outskirts of the old city of Barcelona. There is green space mixed in with trees, ponds and giant sculptures. The zoo is on the grounds of the park, but we didn’t visit. One exit of the Parc feeds out to the Arc de Triomf at the end of a long promenade. This is, apparently where the children go to light firecrackers with their grandmothers and the novice rollerbladers timidly hone their craft. One fellow was practicing jumping and turning around in mid air, almost falling every single time, I couldn’t look away.
After almost going into the chocolate museum (an almost I wish we had repeated a week later), we walked back to the Cathedral area going into about 5 different chocolate stores. This is my kind of city. Before going into our hotel, we went to Chocolateria Valor and got chocolate drinks. I had a Chocolate Francesa, which was about the best thing I’ve ever had. Drinking chocolate is big time in Barcelona, but what do you do in the summer? Cold chocolate!!! Wow it was great. Want more. Now.
Our friends Abbie and David picked us up for dinner and we headed to Euskal Etxea for dinner. Euskal Etxea serves Pintxo, which seems like Basque Tapas to me. The main difference being most of the Tapas are laid out on the bar, served on a slice of baguette with a toothpick. The toothpicks are important because at the end, they’re counted up and you pay per toothpick. This was great too! I missed the steak looking Pintxo, but I’m pretty sure I had quail eggs with mayo on some sort of ham. I ate more than I should have and it was still one of the cheaper dinners we had in Barcelona. Good times.
There are 10 chapters in the Free Barcelona Travel Guide. I hope you find them useful.
Day 1: Barcelona to Boston: PlaÃ§a de Catalunya
Day 2: More Walking: Santa Maria del Mar, Picasso Museum, Ciutadella, Euskal Etxea
Day 3: Gaudi and Eating: Casa MilÃ
Day 4: More Gaudi: Parc Guell, Sagrada FamÃlia
Day 5: Sitges and Birthdays: Barcelona Cathedral, Parrots Hotel, The Beach House
Day 6: Sitges and Beach
Day 7: Sitges and Montserrat: Montserrat
Day 8: Sitges
Day 9: Too Hot to Shop: Aparthotel Calabria, La Boqueria, TapaÃ§ 24
Day 10: Montjuic: Montjuic
Map of where we went or wished we had.