My wife has whisked me off to Barça for 4 days….this is our Christmas present….no kids, lie-ins, tapas, coffee (cafe solo and con lece), bracing wind by the beach, lots of walking, Gaudi, dancing, guitar music, colourful clothes (for lasses, anyway).

We´re discovering the city (even though I´ve been here twice already) with the series of guide books “Real City” by Dorling & Kindersley – lots of good photos and text that seems to capture the mood of the city. So far we´ve used it mainly for the restaurants and bars. Yesterday, 2 restaurants (“Agua” and “Taller de Tapas” – which is infact a chain of 9 tapas bars, which was not at all the impression that I had from the guide) tested but both disappointing – food not in the slightest imaginative, and not particularly well executed. Expecting top, fresh fish at least, but not really present on the menus that we saw. Today, visit to the “Mercat de La Boquería”, the biggest food market in Barcelona and ate (razor shell fish with basil and olive oil dressing, and päella – 21€) in one of the bars within the market. Good stuff and recommended, though probably not the cheapest place to eat, but way better than yesterday. Followed by glorious visit to “Casa Batlló” – the Gaudi special….and well worth the visit, though 16.50€ is a bit steep. Finished off the afternoon with a good coffee and chocolate cake in the bar “Absinthe” in the Barcelonetta area…..v. friendly welcome, 8€ for 3 coffees and 1 cake, and soft, comfy sofa. On the way, discovered the cool bar “Sal Cafe” which looks out onto the sea (Barcelonetta again), but unfortunately it was closing for the afternoon….another time.

Tonight we´re off dancing (Paloma) following our neighbour´s – Chloe – recommendation….much more trustworthy than our guidebook I reckon.

Tomorrow we´ve got guitar music, Sagrada Família and typical Catalan cuisine on the agenda….I´m determined to find and savour some typical fare before my departure !

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