Barcelona: Day Five

Emily and I woke up on Sunday morning and headed to a cute café for breakfast. It was called Café Cometa and had a definite NYC vibe with its succulents on every table and cute interior. The menu featured everything I love in a brunch spot – avocado toast, yogurt, smoked salmon – all the essentials. We also appreciated the English version of the menu – though I’m sure this wasn’t our most authentic Spanish meal of the trip. 

Barcelona Travel Guide Monjuic

We grabbed a seat outside, because who doesn’t love al fresco dining? – and I ordered yogurt with granola and a slice of avocado and tomato toast. PLUS a mocha latte which was definitely unnecessary but, delicious nonetheless.

We tried to watch a Youtube video to figure out the proper way Emily was supposed to eat her egg – but we definitely did not succeed.

Barcelona Travel Guide

After our meal we walked around the corner for my donut stop of the trip – La Donuteria! I’ve been following them on Instagram since I booked my flight to Barcelona and I love that they’re constantly changing their flavor offerings. It was very quiet when we arrived, and I conducted a full-on photo shoot with Emily, the soon-to-be-full-time-artistic director of Peanut Butter Is My Boyfriend.

Barcelona Travel Guide Doughnuts

I got a chocolate apricot donut and a Crème de chocolate con leche con praline – they were pretty pricey, and though beautiful, definitely didn’t compare to other doughnuts I’ve had!

Next we hopped in a taxi and made our way to the Gothic Quarter for two stores that we wanted to get souvenirs from – the FCB Barcelona Team Store and Toni Pons.

I had read that Barcelona, and particularly Toni Pons, were the spot to buy espadrilles – a type of shoe that was first created in the Pyrenees region of Catalonia. I love espadrilles – they’re always super comfortable for the summer with the perfect laid back but classy look.

Apparently, the name for espadrilles comes from the Catalan word for espardenya – the bottoms of the shoes are made of espart which is a tough grass that’s also used to make rope.

I was amazed at how many different styles the Toni Pons store had. And since I’m horrible with decisions, I was also overwhelmed. I tried on about 5 different pairs (after one of the men working there helped me figure out what European size I was!) and then I was stumped between two pairs. One a more traditional canvas espadrille in tan/beige and the other an espadrille with a navy blue leather upper. I was so stumped, that the man helping me and the cashier made a bet about which I would buy! They both told me to go with the traditional canvas ones, but I ended up going with the leather because I thought they were more unique!

They are SO comfortable and now I wish I had bought about 5 more pairs while I was there! They’re available online, but I don’t really feel like paying the hefty international shipping fees.

We ambled our way back to the hostel and even found ourselves in the middle of a Palm Sunday procession. With more foresight, I would have been really cool to go to mass in one of the beautiful and historic churches, but we enjoyed the nuns singing in the streets. It felt a little weird that so many tourists were just stopping and taking pictures. I put my phone away and tried to be respectful (after snapping one picture for the memory…)

Barcelona Travel Guide

When we got back we took a very necessary hour + nap and then it was time to wake up and get ready to explore Montjuic, a massive hill overlooking the water that was basically in the backyard of our hostel.

There’s a castle at the top of Montjuic and it is also the location of many Olympic sites – the Olympic Ring, Olympic Stadium, Olympic swimming facility, and the stadium where we would be seeing Ed Sheeran in concert later that night! (Palau Sant Jordi).

We started by walking up, and up and up and taking in the views of the city. We spotted a lot of smoke on the horizon, and while my mind immediately went to a terror attack, Google let us know that it was a yacht that had been burning for hours!

Barcelona Travel Guide

We wound our way up towards the Hotel Miramar, a gorgeous hotel on Montjuic. We walked around a bit before realized we were off-course for our destination – Montjuic Castle.

Backtracking, we realized we had much more to climb – so up we went. It was no joke – I was dripping in sweat, Emily’s Achilles was killing her, yet the gondola to the top was way over-priced for the distance it would have carried us.

We powered through and eventually made it to the castle – which was free on Sunday’s after 3 pm (it’s like I planned that or something…oh right, I did!)

I attempted to read along with the brochure and learn something, but it was kind of dry material. Instead, we entered the center of the castle and found tons of the wooden games I had seen at the Farmer’s Market! They were probably meant for kids, but Emily quickly came up with a rough translation of the instructions and we started trying to balance weird wooden pieces on top of each other.

Barcelona Travel Guide Montjuic

Who knows if we were playing right – but it was a ton of fun! I would love to make some of these games for my backyard. (With the tools and handy skills that I don’t have, for the backyard that I don’t have…)

After we got bored of the games, we sat down on a bench and reevaluated our plan – it was a long time until the concert, and there aren’t really any bars or restaurants on top of Montjuic where we could spend our time pregaming. So we headed back down on foot and walked to El Sortidor – the restaurant that both our cab driver and cooking instructor had recommended to us.

It was bizarre – the hostess told us they weren’t seating people – even though there were tons of people at the tables outside and even someone inside the restaurant eating…

I was bummed, but we headed to Carrer Blai, a street right near our hostel that is filled with tapas and pinchos restaurants. It seems that every restaurant on the block is named “Blai 9” or “Blai 11.” There’s no cars down the street – just restaurants and tables.

So let’s take a quick pause to talk about pinchos (or pinxtos). I didn’t really know what they were before I arrived – but essentially they’re little bite-sized bar snacks, almost like tapas, but with wooden skewers through them. They line the bars, and when you’re done at the bar, they charge you based on how many skewers you have on your plate! Different skewers may cost slightly different amounts, but for the most part, pinchos on Carrer Blai cost just 1 euro each! Other parts of the city they’ll cost between 2 and 2.50 euro.

We had our first true pinchos experience before the Ed Sheeran concert on Carrer Blai and to be honest, I barely know what I ate. I wasn’t blown away by any of it -  I mean, it sits out on the bar all day – but some of the bites were tasty and I wasn’t really the biggest critic once I started sipping Cava. There were cod fritters and some cheese and stuff piled on a mini pancake – if anything, they made for pretty pictures!

Barcelona Travel Guide

After eating and drinking our fair share (and having our first chocolate filled CHURROS of the trip) we scurried back up the street to our hostel for a quick phone charge and champagne chug. What I didn’t finish of the bottle, I poured into one of Jon’s empty beer cans – ROADIE!

Barcelona Travel Guide

Soon we were in a taxi (they don’t have Uber in Barcelona, but they do have MyTaxi which is essentially the same thing) and on our way to Palau Sant Jordi.

When we got out of the cab, the light of the setting sun combined with the sight of the Olympic ring – plus the anticipation of seeing Ed Sheeran and the copious amounts of cava – had me smiling from ear to ear. We sat in the grass and finished our drinks while I serenaded Jon and Emily with Ed Sheeran songs.

Barcelona Travel Guide

For some reason I pictured the venue being outside, but we soon discovered that Palau Sant Jordi was an indoor arena (that holds 18,000) that was created as part of the Olympic complex. Jon and Emily stood in line for beers while I rushed to my seat – scared that I was going to miss even a second of Ed singing.

I shouldn’t have worried – because there were two openers. One of which was Anne-Marie who sings Alarm – I got reallll into it.

When Ed Sheeran started, I was in my own world. I am 99% sure I was the only person in our entire section that stood up the entire show and sang along to every word. Jon and Emily were good sports, only knowing a handful of songs.

ED SHEERAN’S CONCERTS ARE MAGIC. I said it about 2348932 times over the course of the trip, and Emily and Jon kept making fun of me, but I’ll say it again anyway: It’s nuts that it’s JUST HIM up on the stage with his guitar and loop pedal. SO MUCH BEAUTIFUL MUSIC. I died. And I decided that no matter the cost, I simply need to see him again when he’s at Barclay’s in the fall.

Ugh. I still can’t get over how perfect it was – hearing him perform Barcelona IN BARCELONA.

After the concert, we walked alllll the way back because – why not? Also, because we couldn’t get a taxi.

When we arrived back in our hostel’s neighborhood, we all agreed it was a good night to take off from clubbing – so we set out in search of some good drunk food.

Jon wandered into various establishments asking, “Hamburguesa con queso?” But we kept striking out. For a city that stays up drinking all night – there are very few dining establishments whose kitchens stay open. There were plenty of pinchos available – but we were looking for something a little more, well, American. We ended up in a halal restaurant, feasting on naan and dosa and curry. It was almost like we were in New York shoving our faces with lamb over rice.

The man working at Tabaq late on a Sunday night was like our knight in shining armor. He was so nice too – we couldn’t have been happier. Also, it turns out that the folks on TripAdvisor think Tabaq is the best Pakistani/Indian food in Barcelona! SCORE. 

After that, we crawled contentedly into our beds. (Not sure how I haven’t yet mentioned that I was on the top bunk and every time I climbed up, I had visions of the handrail coming out of the wall and me plummeting to my death).

Hard to believe we had only one day left in Barcelona, but it wouldn’t disappoint!