The Bad Traveler Does Marginally Better in Barcelona

Photos by Brittany Norris

Turns out it’s a lot easier to get around when you have a type A-squared best friend with a camera.

Venturing off into Spain a la Vicky Christina was going to be all Rioja and manchego and it mostly was. A few things we learned and enjoyed in Spain.

Picasso loved a good striped tee.

Might not surprise you to know that the Museu Picasso is architecturally a site to behold, heavy gothic influence, and is home to what I am sure has to be the biggest collection of his artwork. I’m sure most non-art history majors think of his work in terms of his extreme abstracts but peering into his early portrait work and stills it is almost a shock to see how different his lens was as an early artist. I’m thinking it’s like a you-have-to earn-tenure-before-you -share-your-political-views-with-the-class-kinda-thing. His style evolution is a wild ride, but that man did look good in stripes.

Black Madonna, not a shitty horror movie coming this summer.

Taking a train up through the mountains of Catalonia is not advisable for anyone with a marginal fear of heights. It is, however, advisable for anyone who loves seeing amazing things. I’d say I am a healthy mix of both and only thought about Dramamine like twice. The  Santa Maria de Montserrat sits nestled on the side of the mountain and really makes you wonder how a building that dates back to the 11th century was constructed by a bunch of monks all the way up there—probably a solid pulley system. The architecture has taken on a bit of a split personality over the years given Spain’s change in rule so you have a mix of gothic, roman and traditional Catalonian. And the Basilica is home to the Virgin of Montserrat or The Black Madonna and people from everywhere come to pray to her. She’s very popular.

Gotta Eat to Live.

Eat everywhere. But here is where we ate.

Arola, Hotel Arts Barcelona

Brunch. Holy brunch.

50 euro, 4 courses but like 12 dishes. And a vermouth cocktail.

The food and views here are absolutely stunning. Taking a seat up on the rooftop and to an amazing vermouth and rosemary cocktail to get your appetite going is my perfect 11 a.m. Then you’re treated to a little pick plate to start, olives, cheese, pates and such. And then off to appetizers like steak tartare, gazpacho and croquettes. We’re already at like six dishes by this point, so naturally, we move on to prawns, sirloin skewers, shishito peppers. For the main course you can take your pick between papaya or Iberian fideua. We chose both because we’re masochists.  Casually top that with three different desserts. I’m genuinely surprised we could move afterward.

La Pineda Xarcuteria

A little spot on a  street off the extremely-easy-to-get-lost-in Gothic Quarter, this place is essential meat and cheese sampling.  Endless combinations of things to pick from and all the wine you need to ignore emails.

And most importantly, in Castillian it is pronounced Bar-see-lona not Bar-chi-lona, so you can stop being a jerk.

If you’re interested, here’s how the Bad Traveler fared previously galavanting all around the EU.