Let’s travel back in time to April of 2009, when I spent a month in Europe and used Barcelona, Spain as my home base.
Barcelona is a beautiful city in a perfect location. The architecture is amazing, fantastical, and unique, the nightlife is insane, and the people I met were wonderful. But I’m pretty sure all I’m going to talk about in this post is the food. Here, a little teaser picture of the city, in the form of Parc Guell:
I’ll have to save Barcelona’s many non-culinary delights for another post (just more to look forward to, yes?). Onward with the food!
One of the first things I do in a foreign city once I’ve met my host is wander around the market. I’m sure I was eager to fill my belly, but the colorful aesthetic was a nice bonus:
And I certainly couldn’t overlook the mass quantities of olives, one of my favorite foods:
I discovered upon arrival that my CouchSurfing host lived in a very cramped studio apartment, albeit one with a terrace, in a lovely, non-touristy section of Barcelona, called Gracia (one finds on such traveling adventures that the pros nearly always outweigh the cons). We had pastries for breakfast. I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, so this was fine by me:
Another thing one finds when CouchSurfing is that you can have one set of plans, only to be swept up in the excitement of your new city and the lives of your new friends. Sleep? What’s that? Barcelona comes alive at night! We must hit as many tapas bars and clubs as possible before sunrise! I was in soak-it-up mode and even surprised myself with how long I stayed out, the stimulation my body tolerated, and the foods I ate.
Here is what constituted my dinner on one such wild night, where many silly pictures were taken and any nerves were thrown to the wayside (forgive the blurry photos!):
Here’s a shot of the octopus as it’s getting sliced, where it looks more recognizable:
Yes, the octopus was slimy, and it was weird, and then somehow it was delicious! Traveling has the magical ability to make you do things you wouldn’t normally do at home- which is one of the reasons I love it so much.
Here, my last drink of the night:
On a solo afternoon roam through Barcelona, as I gazed up at La Sagrada Familia, I decided it was more important to spend money on lunch than it was to gain access to the unfinished basilica. The line at the food truck was long, the sun was shining, and the people watching was endlessly entertaining. Good thing, because somehow, I was presented with this oddity:
Is tuna fish on pizza normal where you live? Because it was new to me. Luckily, it was easy to brush off and the olives were amazing.
You know what else is amazing? Flan! I knew I had to have some of this amazing syrupy custard while I was in Spain, and it was not hard to find:
Ah, I’m getting so nostalgic for Barcelona now! I’m excited to share the rest of the city with you. But for now, I’ll leave you with one more shot of the oh-so-sweet doughnut I had on a rainy afternoon in the mall:
Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once. –Anthony Bourdain