A few weeks back, starved of sun and fighting the self pity that is life's greatest enemy, I approached my other half and asked if he'd like to go away for a weekend to somewhere not grey. And by that I mean I said I'm going and would he like to go to and if not that's okay since I'm still going because have you seen this UK this winter? Or any winter? But especially this winter? I need sun to survive.
And so we booked flights to Barcelona, along with a nice AirBnB flat, and off we went with no plan but to look at a blue sky with an orange circle and to eat things. Barcelona has been on my must visit list for at least ten years, after a university pal came back with photos of some of the most stunning architecture I'd ever seen. In the years to follow I witnessed a barrage of social media updates by various friends in Barcelona, speaking of the winding mazes of the old city and the plentiful vegan food options, singing praises of the city's amiability and warmth. I was sold.
We both went out on the night before our departure, arriving home at stupid o'clock, and neither of us were feeling that 9am flight. Alas, we managed, and then when we got to Barcelona we did some eating and some zombie walking around the city. Mostly the latter, I am sad to say, but I walked into some very pretty things as a result.
Burgers and comfort grub
Our flat was a ten minute walk from Gopal, so that was naturally our first stop. It's basic burger and fries grub, but is tasty and filling. We went back a couple more times during our stay since they have great cake and doughnuts, and really decent coffee, too. Also when you leave the bag behind that contains your lens and tablet, they'll pack it away behind the counter until you come back with tears in your eyes because you forgot expensive things and because you feel like a horrible person for caring about expensive things. Then when you get it back you'll be all happy and it's like a good day times ten.
A vegan supermarket
Barcelona has a few vegan supermarkets, but we only made it to Veganoteca. They have all of the usual suspects, including Fry's and vBites products, plus some vegan cheeses, pastries, non dairy milks, and other general grocery items. It was a great little place for us to pick up all the basics so that I had a snack waiting for me after an exhilarating fifteen minute stroll at a snail's pace back to the apartment after dinner each night. That sentence makes sense to me in my head.
Late night rain avoidance
In the evening it rained for maybe half an hour and felt like the most depressing thing in the universe, so I hid in a door frame to borrow some wifi and find the closest place to eat more vegan food. Priorities, like.
I lost Paul in what was suddenly a sea of British people; I guess we were in the UK weather comfort zone and so everyone was ready to be outside with four hundred umbrellas poking me in my eye. Not to worry though, because he was just caught up with his new besties who were trying to convince him to go to a steak house. "I'm vegan," he said. "I meant nut roast, not steak," they said, encouraging him to still go to their restaurant.
We went to Juicy Jones and ate sandwiches instead. Juicy Jones is a 100% vegan juice bar with a vegan snack menu and some mains as well. I didn't think it was anything out of this world, but it was a welcome place to be in a brightly painted room with a friendly atmosphere. The food was better than the juices and smoothies.
After the 14 hour wait to get the bill, we wandered back to the flat to crash and to prepare for day two, which involved more eating and all the walking. Also, a slide in which no other grown ups seemed interested. I don't understand people. Stay tuned.