The question is… what would I do if I only had 12 hours left in Barcelona? Where would I go, what would I see, and where would I eat in that last precious half-day before the window on my time in Barcelona closed.
If I had only 12 hours left in Barcelona, and I’m working on the assumption that it’s because DP and I would be moving (we move quite a lot), I’d have to be completely packed or I could never enjoy this last day. I would definitely spend part of the day in Gracia and the Eixample where I have lived my Barcelona life. This magical half-day would start at 11:30 in the morning and end just before midnight. (Glass slippers!)
Before we embark, please note that I have listed addresses and phone numbers of cafes, restaurants and other favourite spots at the bottom of this post.
11:30 a.m. We would begin with a walk around our own neighbourhood of Gracia, punctuated by stops in our favourite plazas: Rius i Taulet, Plaça del Sol, Plaça de la Revolucio de 1868 and Plaça del Diamant. In Plaça Rius i Taluet, my favourite of the Gracia plazas with its clock tower and old city hall, we would sit at one of the outdoor tables at Cafe Las Euras and I’d order a cafe con leche. Without question, I’d have my camera with me and the little collection of shots I took (the good and the bad) would come to be known as “The Last Day Photos”. When we reached Plaça de la Revolucio , I would stop in for some chocolate gelato at Gelateria Caffetería Italiana which serves the best gelato I have tasted in Barcelona. It is run by two gregarious Italian women who often sing in Italian while they work. The secret is out though; lines are often long. If the Gelateria was closed I would adapt quickly, heading to Tomo II on Carrer Vic at Sant Miquel where I would order two scoops – one chocolate and one mint chocolate chip.
By design, Mercat Llibertat (the impossible-to-miss temporary market in Plaça Gala Placidia) would be the last big stop on my Good-bye to Gracia Walking Tour. I would pick up a head of romaine lettuce, pine nuts, feta cheese and a red pepper. Finally, I would pop over to the nearby French bakery Paul, at the top of the steps of the Gracia train station in Plaça Gala Placidia, to purchase two perfect chocolate macarons.
2:30 p.m. At home, in our little “American” kitchen (this certainly does not mean that it is large… but it is not a typical Barcelona galley kitchen), we would assemble a simple lunch. We’d have leftover roasted chicken from Los Caracoles (how convenient!) and throw together my favourite salad: romaine lettuce, roasted pine nuts, slightly warmed chunks of red pepper and feta cheese. DP would whip up a vinegrette and we would spread out our picnic on whatever furniture we had left in our piso. Some of the best meals I’ve had in Barcelona have been prepared with fresh ingredients by DP in our own home. Oh… I almost forgot the macarons! We’ll savour these slowly.
5:00 p.m. In the late afternoon (I feel I must confess that we may well have indulged in an afternoon nap), I’d feel tempted to catch a matinee at Cine Verdi or Renoir Floridablanca to experience “cinema as a temple” one last time. In the end, I would be sensible. I would tell myself that that there will be movie theatres in the city to which we are moving. Instead, I’d head down to the Born to the Museu Picasso where I would spend an entire hour studying Picasso’s Variations on Velazquez’ Las Meninas one last time. You can read more about Picasso’s Variations here.
7:00 p.m. Dinner is easy. One last celebratory meal at Cerveseria Catalana in the Eixample. We’d arrive at 7:00 just before things get hopping so as not waste to a moment of our precious day waiting for a table. (If you arrive at 9:00 in the evening, you take your chances!) We’d order the patatas bravas (of course), escalivada and the decadent little hamburgers. For dessert, DP and I would order both the chocolate cake and the lemon cake to share. To read more about Cerveseria Catalana, click here. (Warning! This post might make you hungry!)
9:00 p.m. There would be a discussion about how to end the day. DP would want to go to a Barca game (we’ve become fans while we have lived here) but I think he’d make the following sacrifice for me. We’d head back down to the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) to the Palau de la Musica Catalana to attend a concert. I’ve written about this beautiful modernisme concert hall here. If our last day just happened to be November 24th (it’s not), we’d see Irish singer Katie Melua (we are)! You can listen to part of her song Nine Million Bicycles here.
In bed by midnight… to get a good night’s sleep for whatever adventure comes next. We’ll dream of Barcelona.
Stops along the way:
Cafe Las Euras (Gracia)
Plaça Rius i Taulet, 1, Barcelona, 08012
Gelateria Caffetería Italiana (Gràcia)
Plaza de la revolución, 2, 08012 Barcelona
Tel. +34 93 210 23 39
Tomo II (Gràcia)
Carrer Vic 2, Placeta Sant Miquel
Tel. +34 93 217 31 92
Los Caracoles (Barri Gotic)
Carrer Escudellers 14, 08002 Barcelona
Tel. +34 93 302 31 85
Museu Picasso of Barcelona (Born)
Carrer Montcada 15-23, 08003 Barcelona
Tel. +34 93 256 30 00
Cervecería Catalana (Eixample)
Mallorca 236, 08008 Barcelona
Tel: +34 93 216 03 68
Palau de la Musica Catalana (Barri Gotic)
Carrer Sant Pere Més Alt, 08003 Barcelona
Tel. +34 90 244 28 82