The two best tapas places in Barcelona and other fun stuff to do in town

Our two favourite tapas places during our weekend trip to Barcelona two weeks ago were Bar Celta Pulperia in the Gothic Quarter’s Carrer de la Mercè, where octopus is the meal of the day every day, and Quimet y Quimet, just off Carrer de Blai in Poble Sec. We were surprised that, being a Pulperia, Bar Celta only had three variations of octopus that day, two of which we ordered: the usual Pulpo a la Gallega, octopus Galician style, cut into thin slices with lots of paprika and oil on top, and baby octopus in broth with vast amounts of garlic and parsley. The price of €14 for the Pulpo a la Gallega was unexpectedly high, but the quality of the ingredients, the expertise of the cook who prepared it, and the sheer size of the meal completely justified the price tag. We also liked the fact that the bar […]

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#1 Day Trip from Barcelona: Montserrat & Penedes

During our recent visit to Barcelona we did a day trip to Montserrat, 50km west of Barcelona, and the Penedes wine region, approximately 80km to the south west, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Our small group of ten travellers and one tour guide left Barcelona at eight thirty in the morning and arrived at Montserrat, the medieval monastery and eponymous mountain, pretty much straight inland from Barcelona, less than an hour later, even though our van was travelling only slowly. The “saw mountain” (that’s what Montserrat means in Catalan) looks beautiful with hundreds of little peaks, as if it was made from plasticine by some crazy giant who had forgotten to take his medicine. The mountain is 1,230m high (compared with 1,345m of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain). Santa Maria de Montserrat, a medieval Benedictine abbey, (the very vast majority of which was destroyed on various occasions over […]

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Uma Restaurant, Barcelona

The atmosphere at this tiny restaurant, which, at the time of our visit, is ranked #1 of roughly 7,000 restaurants in Barcelona on the UK version of Tripadvisor, is very pleasant, welcoming, and all-round friendly. It felt more like a supper club than a restaurant, in a good way.       We were immediately asked to say hi to the chef in Uma‘s kitchen and it was there that the first three amuse-bouches were served, while the chef explained the tasting menu of the day, a bit about how he will prepare each course, and a warm offer to come back to the kitchen anytime during or after the meal. These amuse-bouches were called ‘Acto I – la cocina (the kitchen)’ and included an interesting concoction called ‘Thai & Pina Colada’. We were led to our table. Soon ‘Acto II’ kicked off with ‘los snacks – El Sur – Torta […]

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Ai Weiwei Exhibition at the RA

We went to the Ai Weiwei Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art in October 2015 and were heavily impressed. We had been fans for some time, but the exhibition brought his art a lot closer with the large number of his top works and the information that was provided with it.      One of China’s most influential artists, Ai became widely known in Britain after his sunflower seeds installation in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall in 2010, which was also the first time we realised what league he was playing in and we followed him more closely since then, nearly exclusively through the media.      We both always liked political art, art that isn’t just decorative or artistic, but that has something more important to say, art that tries to change society and not just change art, art that is angry in a creative, inspiring, idealistic way.      Ai’s art […]

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Banksy’s Dismaland

We visited Banksy’s Dismaland in September 2015. We left London with the first outgoing Saturday train one weekend and spent the morning and most of the afternoon in Bath, then took the train from there to Weston-super-Mare. Dismaland is located next to the Seaquarium in the former Tropicana Park. Apparently Banksy got the idea of using the area for an exhibition when he peeked into the abandoned and derelict park through a broken fence in January 2015 and started preparations for the exhibition shortly thereafter.      We thought the exhibition was great. Very political, not necessarily in line with our political views, but angry art is always good art, and angry this art was. The queues were very long and once we finally got to the front, we realised that the admission procedure was already part of the show. The doormen and women were incredibly rude and aggressive, pushing people […]

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