I woke up, determined and excited to go to the Barcelonetta Beach, one of the seven beaches in Barcelona, which, in total, stretched 4.5 kilometres. Beaches in Sydney Australia are excellent with long stretches of golden sand, crystal blue oceans and white waves crashing against the rocks. Such an oasis did not exist in London and was one which I craved for and was eager to get my fix of the beach after being deprived of one during my four months in London.
I suspected the beach was not too far away and my instincts were confirmed by the hotels reception staff who told me that I could get there by simply taking the train from Urquinanoa, a short walk from the hotel and that it was only three train stops away.
After heading to Las Ramblas in the morning to pick up some fresh fruit for breakfast and manchego cheese, as well as some hot, crusty bread and a cappuccino from the bakery next door, I enjoyed my breakfast on the hotel balcony, before making my way to Urquinanoa metro station. The metro system in Barcelona is easy enough to navigate, and fortunately, Urquinanoa metro station was a short walk from the hotel.
When I arrived and exited the underground, I asked for directions to the beach at a café and the proprietress pointed me in the general direction. As I headed over, I saw what appeared to be a harbour. Yes, there was water, but you could barely see it with all the yachts crammed in. And no sand? Seriously, if this is what they call a beach, then I was majorly disappointed.
But I kept walking; it turned out that this was Port Barcelona and as I kept walking, there it was. Long stretches of golden sand, a calm blue ocean; not much in the way of waves, palm trees. It was a cool, clear, sunny day, absolutely perfect for it. I imagined the place would be packed in the Summer months, but it was pretty quiet, being late November. There was a walkway, which I walked across from end to end of the beach, pausing occasionally to take photographs.
The promenade was lined with beachside cafes and tapas bars with billboards boasting freshly caught seafood, paella, freshly squeezed juices, cocktails and local specialities., with La Barcelonetta having a reputation as being one of the best places for seafood and paella.
I walked right to the end and along a pier where I could get the spray of the sea. I decided to stop for lunch on the walk back and gazed at each beach-side café trying to decide which one, eager to take advantage of the comparatively good weather and make the most of alfresco dining.
I decided to splurge and try Sal Café, given its location right on the beach. The staff were friendly and helpful and alerted me to their lunch special of EUR 20 for a three course lunch (including wine!), which was extremely reasonable, considering its positioning.
They had paella on the menu too; I had seen it being served up sizzling and with fresh shell-fish on the top in a cast iron pan, but I remembered my rule about spreading the carbohydrates out across the duration of the trip. Also; I was determined to get my fix of seafood; something which I had been deprived of whilst living in London. I placed my order and whilst I waited, they brought me some juicy Spanish olives and a crusty bread roll. It was heavenly, sipping my rose and sitting right on the water, gazing at the view. All I needed was this delicious meal to make it all complete.
First came my entrée of goats cheese salad (again-yes; I know, but they are truly delicious). It was so beautifully presented that I was afraid to spoil it, but when I did, it was absolutely delicious. As I was eager to make the most of Barcelona’s coastal positioning and get my fix of seafood, I ordered the salmon fillet as my main course and out it came; tender, flaky and fresh.
Dessert was a pineapple carparccio served with vanilla ice cream. What more could I possibly ask for; delicious food, wine, alfresco dining and the beach!I basked in the winter sunshine and savored the meal.
Afterwards, I went for another walk; along the beach a bit and then back to Port Vell. Port Vell is situated next to Barcelona’s industrial port and consists of 2 marinas, a fishing port and a ferry terminal for ferries which travel to the Baeleric Islands and other Mediterranean destinations and served the purpose for trade and commerce between the Christian population in the city’s North and the Islamic population in the city’s South during the Middle Ages and became the greatest maritime power in the Mediterranean. It now also contains the Maremagnum; a large shopping complex which also contains a multiplex cinema, bars and restaurants, an IMAX theatre and the largest aquarium in Europe.
I also browsed through some of the little alleyways around Barcelonetta beach, to get a feel for the lifestyle and the apartment complexes.
As the sun began to set, I went back to the beach for one final glimpse and to enjoy the sunset. Then back into the city centre for dinner.
This time, I went to Bar Lobo in El Raval, not too far from Las Ramblas. It had outdoor seating as well as a light and bright atmosphere inside. I was feeling a bit cold, so I opted for indoor seating and ordered the ham and cheese croquettes and an Arugian salad. And Sangria of course! The croquettes were honestly the best I had ever tasted! They were so golden and crispy and melted in my mouth!
Afterwards, I browsed the shops in Las Ramblas and splurged on cinnamon flavoured gelato as I made my way back to the hotel.