Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Barcelona's Secret Places

Ah.. Barcelona… Estrella, the football team, Gaudi, paella, crema catalane and more..
Living two years in Barcelona (for studies) were not enough to see everything. Believe it or not I am so angry to myself for not visiting ALL the places Barcelona has to offer. Well, I must not be too strict to myself, I’ve done a lot.
This post covers all the basics of Barcelona plus some secret places and awesome stuff to do from my point of view (this means that you will find almost all the things I liked about BCN).
I will try to make it as interesting and clear as possible, categorizing the places into the different areas. 
**Spoiler Geek Alert: Contains Comic Book stores!**


Judging from my pace, it will take me a lifetime to complete this guide; I will be posting it in parts.

Beginning from the basics: Ciutat Vella
Interesting Places:
·         La(s) Ramblas – The popular street, with pavement in the middle, offering hundreds of visible and hidden shops. Just stroll along both sides, from Placa Catalunya to the port and back. You can find different kiosks offering ice cream, flowers and tickets to different attractions. You will get annoyed by people selling something like a flying helicopter or something that makes noise when whistle with it.
·         Av. Portal de l’Angel – The parallel street to Ramblas full with shops. Stroll down all the way and don’t bother getting lost in the alleys on the left and right. (image)
·         Placa Catalunya – The starting point, the head of La Ramblas. A large square, usually filled with people and.. pigeons! Surrounded with El Corte Ingles from one side and El Triangle from the other. Both are acceptable shopping centers, having clothes, food and more. You can also find the Hard Rock Café of Barcelona, or grab a Hop on Hop off Buses (price) Metros nearby: L2, L3.
·         Mercat De La Boquería – The big and various open market. From exotic fruit to tapas. Try not to get lost, use a map (http://www.boqueria.info/mercat-mapa.php)
·         Plaça Reial – A the royal square filled with life! Occasionally events are held here usually during night times but you can enjoy live Jazz music accompanied with your drink or if you are a music player you can grab a guitar or piano and play!
·         Palau Güell – An old palace that was turned into a hotel. The outside is filled with dragons made by Gaudi.
·         Museo de Cera (Museum of Wax) – If you like wax statues and stuff, this is a place to visit. Bonus: El Bosc De Les Fades (Forest of fairies) is beautifully designed bar inside the Museum of Wax which opens at night creating a fairy atmosphere to enjoy a couple of drinks!
·         Alley to Universitat (Carrer dels Tallers) – Heading from Placa Catalunya to the port there is an alley (next to Pans And Company) that leads to Universitat (A square that lies the University of Barcelona. The great thing about this alley is that you can find Music  and Record shops, punk and rock themed shops. It’s worth the time!
·         Catedral de Barcelona – It’s a magnificent cathedral worth of visiting at least from the outside. The easiest way of getting there (the way I did it), is all the way down of Av. Portal de l’Angel, until you reach Carrer de la Portaferrissa (a good street for shops), and then turn left. Go straight and you’ll reach the square Placa de la Seu. Take photos next to the big letters forming “Barcelona”.
·         Statue of Colom – At the ending point of Ramblas, there is a roundabout with a statue of Christopher Columbus pointing.
·         Maremagnum – A shopping center at the end of Ramblas, past the statue of Colom and the bridge. Go to the second floor and enjoy your coffee looking at the sea.
·         Aquarium – Next to the shopping center lies the Aquarium of Barcelona. It’s a nice place for families
·         Museu Maritim – The Maritime Museum of Barcelona also known as Barcelona Royal Shipyard. It has a collection of old ships from the military and if you are a ship lover this is a must.
·         Petritxol – An alley filled with different tastes of chocolate. Try churros at Granja La Pallaresa.
·         Mercat de Sant Antoni – The closed market in Sant Antoni the area near Universitat. If you have been in Boqueria, this is optional.
·         Ronda de Sant Antoni – The street from Universitat to the market, filled with outlet shops and cheap electronics. Worth a visit. Don’t miss the second hand shop CashConverters in Carrer de Floridablanca, 143

Restaurants:
·         La fonda – For starters this place has good paella for quality and price. Worth a visit, the restaurant looks like Italian from the inside, and always full with queues waiting outside.
·         Dionysos – Quick Greek amazing food. On the same road as La fonda, keep up straight until you reach a square with a statue in the middle. Search around and you will find Dionysos.
·         Ovella Negra – Cool bar with plenty of beer and sangria. The special thing about this place is that you can drunk yourself to death with 5lt of Sangria or Beer in a bottle with little taps on the side for group enjoyment.
·         Can Paixano – A good place for tapas and sangria.
·         Kiosko – The best hamburgers you have ever eaten! Take the form fill it out and
·         Caleuche – Patagonian restaurant. Delicious plates cooked in the oven.
·         O Vall d'Ouro – Famous for their tapas. If you sit inside, you can see photos of the owner (I think its him) with plenty of celebrities.
·         WOK – Asian restaurant that can cook the raw seafood or meat you choose for the buffet immediately. You pay a price per person and all you can eat. Challenging!
·         Maoz Vegetarian – Barcelona offers a great variety of vegetarian restaurants. Maoz is a franchise of restaurants more like fast food in which you can enjoy a falafel and add extras for free any time (actually you end up eating the extras).

Nightlife:
·         Sala Apolo – A famous hall of night events.  A club that organizes a different event each day.
·         Boulevard Culture Club – A club with good music hits and atmosphere.
·         Polaroid – A bar with movie retro theme. Very cool to pay a visit and enjoy some of the themed cocktails.

·         Bollocks – A rock bar with the corresponding theme and music. That street has a couple of bars also, worth visiting (like Sweet Rebel Bar)