Last week we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in Barcelona for a few days, just the two of us. 25 years, wow that doesn’t seem possible. I won’t do all the mushy stuff but do prepare yourself for some happy couple selfies.
I loved Barcelona enormously and rather than write pages and pages on why, I decided to list them for you:
The climate, although it was extremely hot at times, we sought shade and adopted siestas into our daily life.
The El Born area which was vibrant and buzzing and less touristy but I loved that each area had its own identity (La Ramblas, the harbour area, the Gothic Quarter etc).
The cable car down from Montjuic to the harbour area (although a bit scary at times) and the tranquillity of the shaded Laribal gardens.
The many scooters and bikes for hire particularly in the El Born area. Our boys would have loved them.
The abundance of tiled floors particularly the non matching ones.
Each shop/apartment entrance had heavy wooden or metal doors that were stunning
Shops and cafes had shutters that were drawn overnight but come the morning and evening they would be raised and a whole world awakens.
The graffiti which is everywhere but although I loved it, I don’t think I would be too happy if someone plastered it all over my front door thank you very much.
The balconies with their stunning vertical gardens.
The narrow streets of the Born and Gothic quarters especially at night.
CHURROS AND HOT CHOCOLATE
The Metro – you pay once no matter how far you travel.
The wafts of the bakeries particularly the one across from our apartment.
The Catalan people. Never once did I hear a cross word. Neither did I see an eye roll nor hear a tut even with the electric scooters whizzing past narrowly shaving your ankles. The politeness made tourists behave in the same way. I found Barcelona one of the most positive happiest places I have ever visited.
We ate at some amazing restaurants, cafes and stalls, all of which were incredibly relaxed and welcoming – again, here is a list:
Sensi Tapas – the tapas were delicious and I like the more modern twist on some dishes.
Tantarantana – I adored the Aubergines cooked in honey thanks to Lottie Storey for the suggestion.
Cal Pep – buzzing, crowded and popular with both tourists and locals. We left it to the waiter to choose for us who chose a stunning selection of tapas, which were cooked in front of us. We ate the best Calamari we have ever tasted here.
Didn’t manage to do El Xampanyet (no website) which I would have loved to do – next time.
We arrived home to our boys who were eager for more information and see the photos on our phone beyond those we shared on Instagram. We had facetimed our boys from our apartment every night but we missed them and as we walked around the city both of us kept saying how much they would have loved this and loved that. I know, silly hey?
We stayed at the Rec Studios in the El Born area which were perfectly located. We were lucky enough to have two private balconies with our apartment, which gave us great viewing spots most evenings whilst we supped crisp fresh Cava and drank shockingly strong espresso over breakfast.
Now back home and to dispel post holiday blues, we had friends over for lunch at the beach hut and served food reminiscent of our time in Barcelona. I was back in a heartbeat.
Tapas to share
Mixed sliced meats including Serrano ham, sliced chorizo, manchego cheese, olives and bread
Cod with Lemon, Thyme and Caperberries
1 side of cod fillet, the largest you can get (around 750g)
1 lemon, thinly sliced
3 shallots, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
caperberries (cut some in half, leave some whole)
4 tablespoons Fino Sherry
Lay a large piece of foil out and double over then cover with some greaseproof paper making sure all are large enough to form a parcel around the fish.
Place the lemon slices on the greaseproof paper and then the onions and finally top with the cod. Season and add the herbs, caperberries and sprinkle over the sherry. Seal and place on barbecue.
Cook for 15 minutes, check everything ok and cooking well and then seal again and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes. If not cooked enough for your liking, seal and cook for a further 5. Serve with sautéed potatoes.
80ml chilled Fino Sherry (or as dry a sherry as you dare)
1 caperberry per glass (chill the jar beforehand)
1 teaspoon of the brine from the caperberries
Then stir using the stalk of the caperberry and drink.
Dessert was simply large squares of rich dark chocolate and strong coffee made in a Mocha maker.
I was generously sent a generous selection of samples from Fragata to feature on my blog and rather delicious they were too.