2015 24/08

Feel Like a Modern-Day Sancho Panza with Steel Donkey Bike Tours

Steel Donkey Bike Tours

Steel Donkey Bike Tours

If you’re in Barcelona and you fancy getting out and about on a bike for a few hours then you could do a lot worse than checking out Steel Donkey Bike Tours.

These guys have been around the block and are consistently recommended on TripAdvisor as a great way to see the city on two wheels.

They kindly asked me to join them one morning, and so, feeling like a modern-day Sancho Panza and on a very comfy set of wheels from Green Bikes, we set off from Plaça George Orwell with our guide whose name escapes me.

This lapse in memory is no reflection on the guide himself. He led the tour extremely well and was always ready to answer my questions. The groups are small, usually no more than 4 or 5, so I certainly felt there was opportunity to pick his brain. Read the rest of this article…

2015 18/07

Sara’s Perfect Day in Barcelona

photo of Carrer de Wellington

Carrer de Wellington

My perfect day in Barcelona starts early. It’s a sunny Saturday morning around 7.30 at the end of May. The alarm goes off, even though I would love to stay in bed, I don’t think twice! The Mediterranean Sea and the deserted beaches are calling. I’ll get my clothes on and out the door in no time. Walking my quiet street towards the Ciutadella Park. Here I meet the joggers and dog owners, for a split second we enjoy the silent city together. I turn on to Carrer Wellington, then a left on Av. Icària and then a right on to Carrer Ramon Trias Fargas. Then it’s just straight down and I can smell the sea. As I arrive, I stop for a second, take a deep breath and I start to walk towards the neighbourhood Barceloneta. Half way to the W hotel, I meet the lady that always has her make up perfectly done at this hour, doesn’t matter if it’s Monday or Saturday. Further on I meet the old man jogging a long the beachfront, always with the greatest smile on his face. On the beach in front of the gym Club Natació Atlètic-Barceloneta, the old ladies and gentlemen are preparing for their morning swim. Read the rest of this article…

2015 21/05

Roisin’s Perfect Day in Barcelona

My perfect day in Barcelona is perfectly simple. It consists solely of wandering around, stopping only to eat and drink.

I’ve lived in Barcelona for 8 months now after moving here in September 2014 and my favourite thing to do at the weekend is to wander around my local neighbourhood (barrio) whilst stopping off at bars, cafes and restaurants along the way.

The majority of my ‘perfect day’ would be spent locally in the areas of Born, Barceloneta and the Gothic quarter. I love exploring everything this great city has to offer, but I’ll stay close by for the purpose of this article, otherwise I could write for days.

Every day must start with a beautiful breakfast and at the weekend I treat myself by eating out. I’d start at a nearby square, Plaça de Sant Cugat, and sit outside one of my favourite places, Alsur Café. The menu is wonderfully varied. You can opt for the traditional café con leche with a pastry or try something a bit more adventurous like something from their diverse tea range.

Alsur Café

Alsur Café, Plaça de Sant Cugat, 1

Read the rest of this article…

2015 12/05

Barcelona Neighbourhoods: El Born

Santa Caterina roof tiles close-up

Mercat de Santa Caterina roof tiles

I think El Born would have to be my favourite neighbourhood in Barcelona. It’s absolutely stunning. It can be a bit touristy at times but there are quiet streets to escape from the hustle and bustle. It is one of the smaller neighbourhoods, part of La Ribera which itself is part of the old town, Ciutat Vella. If you see a beautiful photo of a narrow Barcelona street in the sunlight, then chances are it will be from somewhere in El Born.

The food market for this neighbourhood is Santa Caterina with its beautiful mosaic tiled roof by the architects famous for the Scottish Parliament building. El Born also has my favourite church in Barcelona, Santa Maria del Mar, with its high vaulted ceilings and fascinating history. This church was the subject of the book Cathedral of the Sea. Set in 14th century Barcelona the construction of the church provides the backdrop to a story set at the height of the Spanish Inquisition. Read the rest of this article…

2014 27/08

Renée’s Perfect Day in El Born

Cafè del Born Nou

The terrace at Cafè del Born Nou, Plaça Comercial, 10

Choosing a neighborhood in Barcelona wasn’t easy at first. I was moving on after years of living in Madrid, what many call the most genuine Spanish city out there, and I had been warned that my experience in Barcelona might not be the same in that aspect. People told me that its authenticity wouldn’t be as palpable, and that I might have a hard time truly immersing myself into the culture. And this was something important for me.

After much debate and seeing at least thirty different apartments, it so happened that the one I fell in love with was in the Born. This had its pros and cons… the Born is a beautiful neighborhood with an awesome location, it’s lively and bustling yet safe and pleasant… but on the other hand, after the very diverse Raval, the Born is arguably the least “Catalan” neighborhood in the city. Having undergone a recent gentrification, the once seedy neighborhood has become one of the trendiest around, and its population has evolved into a cosmopolitan melting pot of bohemian expats, replanted immigrants, wandering tourists and the like. Read the rest of this article…

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