After having read horror experiences from fellow travelers about professional pickpockets, I can’t help but feel insecure coming to Spain alone. Perhaps I am fortunate or something has changed, it wasn’t so intimidating. I could walk around safely keeping in mind to avoid crowded areas. But the popular areas like mercado de la boqueria, la ramblas, gothic quarter, museums and monumental architectures (like Gaudi’s) were crowded, keep alert on high level!
Having just touched down after 13 hrs and slightly jet lagged as I do not usually sleep much on planes, felt quite tired. Was pleasantly surprised at the hotel room and its view. Hotel Vueling bcn by hc is conveniently located on gran via de les corts catalanes. It’s a long street connecting directly to the Barcelona university and Passeig de gracia (the street of the upmarket and luxury products). Safe to walk even at night. Do note however, the most basic room does not have tissue box nor tea/ coffee making facilities. Premium or superior rooms onwards include more amenities like the mentioned, bath robes, slippers etc. I opted for the most basic and brought my own travel kettle and mug.
After lazing in the room for a couple of hours clearing some work, walked to Bodegas 1900 in El Poble Sec for some tapas lunch. For those familiar with the well known Adria brothers from 3 Michelin star El bulli (now permanently closed and became the Elbulli foundation in 201), tickets and Bodega 1900 are 2 of their ventures. I could not get a table at tickets so checked out Bodegas 1900. A hole in the wall restaurant with wonderful small dishes so one can try many different tastes albeit alone. I had Pilar as my hostess. Though she does not speak much English, I could understand her body language and a few words of Spanish here and there.
Photos in order
- Martini copage – vermouth, the house coupage made of 90% of Martini Rosso and 10 % of Gran Lusso (a special edition made by Martini to commemorate its 150 Anniversary), served with ice and an orange slice. If you do not like a dry or bitter aftertaste, ask for a tasting portion before you decide to order. But if you’re game for it, you won’t regret, goes well with every dish I ordered! A serving was all I needed.
- Homemade chips w vermouth sauce – thinly sliced crisp chips to be eaten w la Cala sauce. Smokey tangy salty, ooh the sauce makes such a big difference to the original chips! Devour them quick else they become soggy
- Crispy seaweed – yummy, could not stop munching these crisp but not oily seaweed crisps! Coated with sesame seeds added the fragrance! The size of each was just nice to pop.
- Gordal & pipara olive – a gelatin mass to be put in its entirety into your mouth, bursts with olive goodness
- Squid in its ink ‘Ramon penos’ – quite salty but the taste of squid was fragrant, anchovy like. Some sea salt was added. The crispy rye toast provided was perfect to mop up the sauce
- Small toast smoked salmon & truffled honey – now I do not quite fancy food that’s meant to be savory but sweet. But this little toast has got its balance. Good but could not really taste the truffle though
- Aubergine coal ‘style bodega 1900’ – by far the largest dish! Smoked aubergine with a Japanese Wafu like sauce was so refreshing and satisfying! Did I say I adore aubergines/ eggplants?
- ‘Joselito’ Iberian ham croquette – this was really good. Smoothest and creamiest mash ever with bits of salty iberico goodness. Beware, molten hot in there
- Lemon & basil ice cream – tangy just the way I like, fragrant lemon and light tint of basil. The nice presentation was a plus
After a satisfying meal, walked around and bought some local fare
Most postings on Barcelona to come, stay tuned!