“Albóndigas, por favor,” I said to the woman behind the counter.
I watched her face light up as she nodded with approval. Apparently the meatballs were a good choice.
Back in April when Andy and I were in Assisi for a travel blogging conference, I won a trip to Barcelona from HouseTrip. So when we started planning our summer travel, Andy and I decided to combine a few places with our trip to Brussels in August. Barcelona seemed like the perfect place to end our trip.
Relaxing in our apartment
After a fun weekend in Brussels filled with beer tasting, humor, and peeing statues, we spent some time in Carcasonne, France and Andorra (I’ll write more on both later) followed by four days in Barcelona. By this time we were exhausted from traveling a bit too quickly, so we were very happy to be staying in an apartment instead of a cramped hotel room.
It was also extremely hot, so we didn’t really want to spend our days doing endless sightseeing in 100F (38C) temperatures. Somehow Andy and I have managed to go to Spain two years in a row during the extremely hot month of August. This time, we decided to just relax in the air conditioned apartment during the day, and wait for the sun to start setting before venturing out into the city.
The best meatballs besides my mom’s
Staying in an apartment meant we were in a more residential area, so we wandered around until we found the grocery store. Attached to the grocery store was an area that felt more like a market or a butcher, with counters selling fruits and vegetables, meats and fish, or freshly prepared food. We thought this was a gold mine, so we found a counter where we could buy a few things for lunch. Pasta, a couple kinds of croquettes, and some of the meatballs the woman was so happy about became our midday meal. Those meatballs were so good we went back the next day for more.
Seeing a more local side of Barcelona
We did go see the Sagrada Familia cathedral, Gaudi’s famous unfinished masterpiece, and his Guell Park. Both were beautiful as you can see from the photos in this post, but those are not the memories I most enjoyed from our time in Barcelona.
I remember those delicious meatballs and the woman who sold them to us. I remember how, after dinner in the super touristy Barcelonetta area, we found a small bakery a few blocks away that doubled as a bar. There were just a handful of locals sitting at small tables outside, but we sat inside at the bar. We ended up talking to the bartender for a few hours, which allowed me to practice my Spanish. I also remember eating lots of gazpacho. And spilling it in my lap once.
Andy and I enjoyed connecting with a few locals, including a convenience store employee who we shared a laugh with when I couldn’t remember how to say “toilet paper” and Andy mimed wiping himself. We found areas a little outside of the touristy sections where we could get one step closer to seeing the Barcelona the locals live in. We didn’t rush around to see every single tourist attraction in the city. It was wonderful to just be somewhere different, have a change of scenery, and have enough space to spread out and relax.
This was definitely our kind of travel.
Thank you to HouseTrip for providing our winnings of an apartment in Barcelona and a flight home. All opinions are my own.
Traveling to Barcelona? Check out the 100 Locals Unconventional Guidebook series by Gigi Griffis, which includes a guide for Barcelona!