After all the tapas-sampling and general face-stuffing at the Boqueria market, a little stroll accross the city was more than welcome. For digestive purposes, obviously. But we might have stumbled upon a few more foodie gems while wandering in the Old Town…Palm trees are everywhere in Barcelona: it multiplies the “holiday feeling” by about 100 and made me oh so happy! The same also applies to orange trees…It was the middle of the afternoon (aka siesta time!), so it felt a bit like walking in a ghosts’ city… only a very specific kind, full of old stones, amazing (mainly gothic) buildings and green little courtyards! I especially loved the area around Barcelona Cathedral. Look at how beautiful the cathedral itself is, it’s quite impossible not to fall in love! Unfortunately, we couldn’t get inside as there was a wedding that day, so we headed to the Arc de Triomf and more palm trees instead, before plunging back into Barcelona’s small streets!A little close-up for you to truly appreciate the beauty of it! Wish I could have brought one of those street lamps home! Another highlight was the former El Born market, which is now home to several exibitions on Barcelona’s story. Perfect mix of old (the foundations of the former market building) and new (industrial design ?), Barcelona, you sure know how to reach my heart! Wonderful windows and colourful street art never hurts either! But Barcelona’s true hidden gem? Vioko! As usual, the most difficult part was to choose a reasonable number of flavours to taste! Oh, and not getting tempted by the macaroons was quite a challenge as well! In the end, we settled for Tùron (chocolate & hazelnut, really not my thing but my boyfriend loved it!), Mojito (very fresh and mint-ey, would work wonder in the summer!), Grapefruit & jasmine (so fresh and fragrant!) and Creme Catalana (a must-order! I was a bit scared it might be a tourist trap, but it ended up being my favourite of the lot!). En route, we also stopped inside the most adorable sweets’ shop I’ve ever seen (and trust me, I’ve visited A LOT of those!). Happy pills is somewhat of a cross between a pharmacie (white walls, prescription bottles…) and a candy shop (ALL the candy!). You just have to fill your little bottles with your favourite sweets, pick a label to put at the front and tadaaaaah, you suddently have magic candy that would make about anything in your life just a little better (yes, even if your fave football team loses their big game!). A brilliant idea really, and it would make for terrific gifts too, wouldn’t it?!
After a little siesta, we were in mood to get in with the locals, so we headed to the tapas joint recommended by our Airbnb hosts: Jai-Ca, a tapas bar loved by locals and visitors alike! (sorry for the drop in picture quality btw, but Barcelona simply isn’t as blogger-ready as London when it comes to food pics… so if you want to be treated like a local, you better act like one!)Once again, it’s a bit of a dare-or-die sort of place, so do face your fears and fight off the crowd to get seats, and don’t be afraid of flagging waiters whenever you’re ready to order! And whatever happens, do get a platefull of Patatas Jai-Ca! Hands down the best bravas I’ve had in Barcelona!When you’re at it, you should also order my favourite: Chipirones! They are deep-fried baby squid, but if you don’t tell your date, I’m giving you my words they’ll never guess it!! Throw in some Buttifara (sausage with white beans), a couple of plates of Padron Peppers and maybe some croquetas and you should end up very full indeed! Finish things off with a Caffé con Leche… and maybe one or two cheeky chipitos?The best thing about Jai-Ca though? There’s no need to worry about the bill: somehow, it always end up being lower than you expected it to be (we payed about 30€ for two with drinks). Delicious food, cracking atmosphere, lovely staff and CHEAP? I have just one word: GO!!
Vioko, Passeig Don Joan Borbó Comte Barcelona, 55, 08003 Barcelona
Happy Pills, Carrer dels Arcs, 6, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Jai-Ca, Carrer de Ginebra, 13, 08003 Barcelona