A couple of years back I went to Barcelona with my mom and Joe, but I decided since I would be in Spain, and I needed to make my way more east in Europe, I would pass through Barcelona. The main attraction for me was La Sagrada Familia- the unfinished cathedral by Gaudi. We ran out of time before (and the line circled the block), so I didn't get to go inside. I decided if I gave myself a long layover in Barcelona I could have a chance to eat some good food and see La Sagrada Familia.
I caught an early train from San Sebastian to Barcelona.
Bye, bye beautiful San Sebastian.
I took a pastry with me on the train since I hadn't had breakfast yet.
After a relatively uneventful train ride to Barcelona, and a short cab ride, I was ready to check in to my hotel, Hotel Nextto. I picked this because it is near shopping and La Sagrada Familia, and right next to La Pedrera, another one of Gaudi's works.
My room was well decorated and comfortable, although it had a youth hostel sort of feel (mostly the floor gave off that vibe), and I almost feel like at one point in time it may have been. For a short stay it worked perfectly, and the bed was comfortable (or I was exhausted!).
I had an interesting view.
This was probably my favorite part of the room. Everything 1 euro!
The bathroom was pretty. I enjoyed the green.
The other neat thing in the bathroom was the light. It was a picture of flowers.
The desk space was interesting.
But I guess it was just the right size for me! (Please excuse my travel/sweaty look).
Then I headed out to walk a bit, shop a little, and get some lunch. Plus, I really wanted to take some pictures so I could prove I really spent some time in Barcelona on this trip.
This is La Pedrera, which is one of Gaudi's works. Gaudi was an architect and designed some pretty amazing looking buildings.
His works left a lasting impression on Barcelona, which can be seen in the variety of architecture there today. Gaudi died back in the 1920's, so you can see that he unique for this time, and that this has given Barcelona many years to add more interesting buildings to it's streets.
I decided to sit down in the patio area at La Vinoteca Torres.
It's hard to see in the picture above, so it is up close.
Not sure why, I but decided to do some wine with lunch.
I ordered some olives.
The tomato bread was the recommendation of the server, and I must say it was a very good choice.
For my main dish I wanted to order the squid, but the server informed me that it was not available, so instead I went with my second choice. I am not sure how this ended up as my second choice because I am not really an anchovy fan, but I kept seeing it on the menu everywhere, so I knew I better give it a try.
First off, the presentation was beautiful. This was vegetables topped with fresh anchovies. Then I tasted it. This was by far one of the best things I have had to eat on this trip so far. It was amazing, so if you are ever in Barcelona, make sure to stop in and try this place.
Since the meal was so good, I even decided to try dessert. In fact, I figured with a meal so good, the dessert had to be good too. I was right! The server suggested I go with the creme brulee.
After a very tasty lunch, I took off on foot to wander, shop, and ultimately make it over to La Sagrada Familia. Since the last time the lines were ridiculous, I reserved my entry time in advance. I was not going to miss out again.
I took all those pictures on my walk over, to see this...
They have continued to do work on the Cathedral, which is unfinished because Gaudi was hit by a tram and killed before it was ever completed. The inside is pretty much done now, so in 2010, the Pope came to do a dedication and now it seems this is a basilica. As usual, the pictures can't even come close to doing this masterpiece justice. Obviously I am not really interested in the religious aspect, but I can appreciate the design that went into this.
I was glad to see they allowed pictures inside.
Crazy spiral staircases.
This is the floor where the light has shown through one of the stained glass windows.
You can see down below to the chapel where Gaudi is burried.
This is really crazy, but definitely looks like it belongs at the front of the church.
Outside, from the back side.
This is a model of the whole church.
Here is Gaudi's grave.
When I was finished with La Sagrada Familia, I met up with Naomi and her boyfriend, as they were also in Barcelona. They were given some recommendations for restaurants, so they had made us a reservation at Ca La Nuri.
For the next 2 hours we enjoyed good wine, great food, and excellent company.
Again, here is some of the tomato bread. Turns out it is popular in this area.
We also started with patatas bravas to share.
For my starter, I ordered the gazpacho. But not just any gazpacho. This was strawberry gazpacho. First came this bowl with mozzarella and anchovies.
Then the server poured in the strawberry gazpacho. It was very light and refreshing. It even tasted like a strawberry smoothie, but lighter.
Naomi and her boyfriend split the tuna tartare topped with guacamole. I tried some, and it was really good.
For dinner, Naomi and her boyfriend split the seafood paella, but they got the variation with vermicelli noodles.
I ordered the hake with potatoes. Both entrees were really tasty.
But wait! We couldn't pass on dessert. For the table we ordered 2 desserts and split them. The first was a chocolate souffle.
Then we tried a caramel banana dessert.
Boy, less than 24 hours in Barcelona and I had 2 fantastic meals and was stuffed beyond belief. If you are in Barcelona, I give both restaurants 2 big thumbs up. I definitely recommend them.
Thanks very much to Naomi and her boyfriend for sharing their evening with me. It was really a special night and a great way to enjoy Barcelona- with friends and food. I hope they had a safe trip back. As for me, it's on to...
QUESTIONS: Have you ever been to Barcelona? Do you like anchovies?