The giant Botero bronze horse in the main arrivals hall of Barcelona airport welcomed us to this quirky city as we waited for our transfer to the Pullman Barcelona Skipper hotel.
An around the houses journey dropping others at their hotels, gave us a great introduction to the city and its interesting drivers. Being by the sea, at the very bottom of the city we were of course dropped of last and by this point we were incredibly happy to check-in to our thoroughly modern five-star hotel, with its distinctive fish sculpture out back, and easy access to the beach.
A walk down the beach takes you to the cable car station. A word to the wise, pre-book tickets the queue to buy them there can be over an hour-long and that’s just to get in the lift to go up to the station proper further queues await at the top but with the views its much less of a chore.
This is an enjoyable method for getting over to Montjuic and a great way to get panoramic views of the city below and getting a feel for the place, perfect for your first day.
The infamous Las Ramblas is so much calmer from above.
Onwards and upwards, through the terraced Montjuic park, with its conveniently placed ice cream and water sellers (a must in blistering July heat).
To the Castell de Montjuic at its top, with a great defensive position looking out over the port and city below. Its military role now swapped for a more touristy viewpoint one.
Wiggling down the road behind the castle we dropped into the Olympic park, the sounds of crowds could be heard floating over the air as we got near but there wasn’t a single person about.
Following the fence round to the entrance of the main stadium with its iconic torch. We finally encountered some people and got to look inside the vast place.
Carrying round to west side of the stadium we were presented with what looked like a mostly abandoned city from a science fiction move. The Torre de Comunicacions is still an impressive structure, although the whole site felt eerily quiet, so we quickly moved on and tried to find our way back down the hill.
A winding walk to the Palau Nacional, the home of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. Access is free after 1500 every Saturday and the first Sunday of the month, so I would plan around then as this treasure trove is well worth a visit.
If wandering around museums isn’t your thing its worth a visit for the view down the steps outside the main entrance and of course the various fountains.
There is plenty to see down the Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina on the way to the Placa Espanya, and its subway station.
Back to the hotel to wash and brush up for the evenings meal, a taxi from the front of the hotel whisked us up through the city to ABAC.
Part of our pre-trip planning included the arduous process of choosing an eatery for our trip, and Barcelona doesn’t make this job easy with its huge selection of gastronomic delights. Resorting to the Michelin guide didn’t really narrow this down much but we opted for the 2 star ABAC due to its several positive reviews.
It was worth the trip to Barcelona on its own. We opted for the taster menu as it’s always nice to try things you wouldn’t otherwise order and Chef Jordi Cruz and his team did not disappoint, coupled with impeccable service we flew through the 16+ courses, with nearly four hours of non-stop eating but it felt like it ended too soon. I don’t feel gifted enough with words to describe the flavours we experienced or the artistry and theatre of the presentation. You will simply have to go along and give it a go. I can’t wait to go back and try out the hotel there as well.
Barcelona really is home to some of the best food we have ever eaten.