When in Barcelona.. do as the Spaniards do! This is my first time in Spain. I’ve talked to dozens of my friends and have heard nothing but rave reviews of this quaint city. They all give me lists of things to do, museums to visit, Gaudi & Dali sites, tapas to try, wine to sip and so on.
My main priority while traveling (and at home) is living and eating as locals do. On our first day in Barcelona, I can certainly say we did! We arrived on Saturday at 9:30am, picked up our luggage and exchanged some currency at 1.35. Then figured out like confused tourists on how to board the train. After some wandering around, we found that we had to take a bus from Terminal 1 to 2. From the train, we got off at the Espana exit, and rode the Metro 1 stop over yellow line to Rockafort where our lovely host Omar resides.
Upon arrival at noon with our heavy backpacks, comes chasing after us is Frank in his Taiwanese-Mandarin screaming how great it is to finally see Americans after 2 weeks in Europe. We settled our bags into our airbnb host Omar’s 3 bedroom spacious flat and got comfortable while we got to know him a bit. Omar was originally from Venezuela and moved to Barcelona 9 years ago for a better life. Originally an Architect by trade, but with the crash of economy, is now bar tending 6 nights a week at a restaurant/bar by the city center and supporting himself with a comfortable life. We immediately took a liking to our host and felt lucky to have found him as our host. It’s always a risk when renting through Bed & Breakfast type services, hoping your host won’t turn out to be a freak.
Omar took us to his favorite tapas cafe in Barcelona name Mercat. From the outside, it looks like a grungy meat market with dried pork hanging from above. Locals screaming out the order. Once in, the cozy vibe settled in, we found a spot towards the end of the counter and trusted our new friends Omar to order. He ordered a plate of Manchego cheese, 5 different plates of cured pork meats, deep fried dried pork blood, prosciutto, sweet ham, and a bottle of Rosé. YUM. We felt there was no better place in the world to be. And no better way to be initiated into Barcelona like that!
For the next 2 hours, we wandered the city through small alleys and beautiful Gothic cathedrals. Took a small break at a Gelato shop and eventually made our way to a beautiful green park where we took “Siesta” (an afternoon nap). Because when in Barcelona..