Posts Tagged ‘barcelona’

As soon as we got off the plane, we could feel the warmth of Spain. Neither of us are sunseekers, but we found the temperature perfect at about 24 degrees.  After a slight detour to drop our friend off at his hotel, which turned out not be in central Barcelona at all, we arrived at our hotel Hotel Barcelona Universal.

The enormous Camp Nou in Barcelona

On our first day, we met up with some friends who had also travelled for the Champions League Semi-Final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United. We enjoyed beer and wine on various outdoor patios before making our way to the Camp Nou stadium for the match. It was my first trip to Camp Nou, which seats 98,000 and is the largest stadium in Europe. Seated in the 5th and uppermost tier with the United fans we had a birds-eye view of the match but the sunset was amazing. United played defensively and went home with a 0-0 draw. A goal would have been nice, but overall a good result for the away leg.

The second day began late after a much needed lie-in. We walked along the waterfront to Port Vell and then wove our way through the Barrio Gotic to the Taller de Tapas for a late lunch. Admittedly we weren’t at peak dining time at 5:00 in the afternoon but we got dismal service and the food was only average. After lunch we wandered up Las Ramblas to the Avenida Diagonal before taking the metro back to our hotel for a nap.

Tje view from Park GuellThe third day we got up earlier (around noon 🙂 ) and went to the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell, two of the famous Gaudi landmarks. They were both packed with tourists but in the park we found a shady bench and some relatively empty paths. The picture to the right was taken from the mosaic covered serpentine bench along the main terrace. 


On the last day we returned to Rossini in Placa Reial (where we had eaten lunch on the first day) for lunch and then watched the Chelsea – Manchester United game in an Irish pub. After lunch we took a funicular up the hill to the Montjuic Park where the 1992 Olympics were held. The view over the city was amazing especially from the abandoned diving venue. Although some of the venues are still used, it was a shame to see dozens of birds swimming in the diving pool. After exploring the park a bit more we took an ancient cable car to the waterfront and had a quick walk on the beach before taking a taxi back to the hotel exhausted after another day of hiking around.

All in all it was a great weekend. Lots of rest, sunshine, good food and wine.


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Ferran, 38
Barri Gotic
08002 Barcelona
93 317 94 07

Where we should have gone for dinner….

We happened upon Vildsvin after our experience at Ateneu Gastronomic. We were looking for some dessert and a drink to recover from our unpleasant meal. Vildsvin has a clean modern style and looked to be much more our sort of place. There probably would have been a wait for a table for supper earlier, but this is the place we should have gone for dinner. We ordered the Chocolate Mousse, which was dreamy, and the Biscuit a la Creme, which was also exquisite. We enjoyed the selection of foreign beers upstairs in the less formal eating area, but there is also a quieter more formal dining room downstairs. And perhaps best of all, one of the tapas on the menu is a slice from a 120kg Bologna sausage which stands just inside the door.

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La Fonda del Port Olimpic

Moll de Gregal, 7-8-9
Port Olimpic
08005 Barcelona
93 221 22 10

This restaurant was recommended to us by our hotel. Having been to similar places in Madeira, I should have known that a seafood restaurant on the waterfront was probably not what we were looking for having asked for a “nice” place for dinner.

The hotel had made a reservation for us and on arrival we were taken to a tiny table for two at what turned out to be a major crossroads. La Ronda is probably best described as a zoo. The waiters were literally running around with whole fish and crustaceans showing them to the patrons who would later be eating them bumping into our table as they went. The place was bustling with the F1 crowd and outbursts of cheering and singing were not uncommon.

We ordered Fishermen’s Soup and Fried Calamari for starters, both of which were okay. We had a Seafood Paella for main course which was also good, but nothing special. Having spent enough time in this chaotic scene, we declined dessert and made a quick exit.

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Ateneu Gastronomic

Pas de l’Ensenyanca, 2 bis
Barri Gotic
08002 Barcelona
93 302 13 57

Based on previous experiences with “traditional” Spanish and Portuguese food, my first instinct was to avoid this place. But with the Formula 1 race this weekend, Barcelona was very full and there was at least an hour’s wait at better looking places. We should have left before the waiter carried an aluminum table from the outdoor patio into the restaurant and over the heads of unsuspecting patrons. Our table was placed about six inches from two other tables and was right in the middle of the main thoroughfare, as well as directly in front of the toilets.

We ordered the Fishermen’s Soup and Melon with Iberian Ham for starters. Although well over-priced at €15.50, the ham and melon looked to be one of the safest choices on the menu and was in fact very good. (However I think it is difficult to mess up a dish that consists of a piece of fruit and some cured meat). The soup was average and contained both recognizable and unrecognizable pieces of seafood.

For the main course we chose the Fillet Steak and Grilled Sole. The steak was ordered medium but when it arrived it was almost raw and wobbled on the plate. After we reiterated the request for it to be cooked “medium”, the plate was whisked away and returned about twenty minutes later. The steak now looked more seared on the outside and slightly less wobbly on the inside. Meanwhile I wrestled with the Sole which had been grilled to the point of being suitable for use as a weapon. Using both my knife and fork, I attempted to pry the hard rubbery flesh away from the bones while avoiding the drab over-boiled vegetables. As it turned out, it was lucky that my Sole adventure was almost over by the time the steak reappeared. The aluminum patio table was not up to the task of supporting the forces incurred by the cutting of the steak and wobbled almost enough to spill the wine out of our glasses.

When we sat down the couple next to us had just paid their bill and didn’t look very happy. Now we know why… When the bill came we were absolutely shocked. We have never been charged so much for such terrible food. Combined with the dismal table location and nearly being clipped in the head with a chair being carried across the restaurant, there isn’t anything positive to say about this place.

On our way out we heard another couple say to the waiter “Excuse me. This steak is not cooked!” Although tempted to tell them to leave now before it was too late we selfishly left the restaurant as fast as we could. As we were walking away we realized that not once had they asked if everything was okay with the food. I guess they they’ve learned over the years that it’s best not to ask!

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