Sunday, October 04, 2015

Sabbatical - The Barcelona Edition

Barcelona was amazing for its cool cafes, great coffee (we discovered a cafe con leche was pretty much the equivalent of a flat white), yummy food (both traditional tapas and contemporary, modern Spanish cuisine) and of course, Gaudi (and other architecture).

It helped that we were in an area which was central but yet residential as we we amongst several cafes, restaurants, bars and bakeries. The residential buildings were old, several hundreds of years type of old. Many had no lifts, the twice-a-day down/up the 5th floor where our Airbnb apartment was, definitely improved my cardio-vascular strength after our 5 days there. There were several very interesting cafes just below us with tastefully curated interiors, pretty young girls and/or hipster guys with big beards (a dead giveaway) running the place. The food was fresh and delicious, the drinks just as good. For cafe lovers, we could not be in a better spot.

I had the best Galician octopus in a tapas bar/restaurant here too. This is a seemingly simple dish, the waitress told me they boil the octopus and then add paprika and olive oil. The texture was perfect, not too chewy, not hard, just so tender. A few pieces of bread was handy to sop up the leftover oil/ sauce. After this, everywhere I went, I looked to see if I could find this on the menu.

Now onto the modern cuisine scene. We were lucky to have obtained several recommendations from my colleague who works in Barcelona and even luckier that his recommendations were spot on. Getting recommendations is one thing, getting those which actually come from people who have good taste or at least taste which is not too far off from yours, is another thing. This was kinda a lucky dip as I didn't know this colleague personally but someone introduced us on email. But out of the 5 places he gave us, we went to 2 which were a stone's throw from our apartment and because they were so good, we actually repeated one of them.

And then finally, the architecture. I loved the old buildings (apart from the old we were staying in and climbing those stairs up and down) and was looking up the entire time in Barcelona. You need to look up to get the best photos! Of course then there were the Gaudi buildings. We were disappointed by the Sagrada Familia because of how the succeeding architects have "continued" with his legacy. But the Casa Batllo, we loved. This House of Bones was simply amazing and the augmented reality tour was quite inspiring. The organic and weird features were just beautiful.

So Barcelona, good bye for now. But I think I will be back.

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