Summer Travels: Spain - Part 1 (Barcelona)

About two weeks ago, KFo and I got back from a ten-day trip to Spain for my birthday. We went to Barcelona, San Sebastian and Mallorca (also called Palma de Mallorca). KFo and I had been to Barcelona before, but had never been to either San Sebastian or Mallorca. Our trip included staying mostly in the eastern portion of Spain, traveling from the northeast to San Sebastian and then down to the southeast, to the island of Majorca. So, for the sake of this blog post, let’s call our trip “Live Local, Eat Pintxos, and Beach It Up”. [Note to reader: More on what pintxos are to come. I promise you won’t be disappointed.] Our first stop was Barcelona. For those who are as bad at geography as I am, Barcelona is in the northeast portion of Spain. It is in the Catalonia region of Spain and that is reflected in the food, which favors stews and “heavier” natural ingredients such as wheat, pork and other poultry. However, on the coast, like in Barcelona, it is typical to see a lot of seafood dishes. [Note to any readers: Since we had been to Barcelona before, and KFo studied abroad there, we didn’t do many “cultural” or typical touristy things and mostly spent our time exploring the city.]

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Marina view walking back from a tapas restaurant close to the Hotel Arts

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Lunching on the beach

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People watching on a beach bench

While in Barcelona, KFo and I spent two amazing nights at the Hotel Arts before heading to a hotel more in the center of town. Hotel Arts is a Ritz Carlton property owned by Marriott, which is located right on the beach. Immediately upon checking in we found out that we had been upgraded to a penthouse suite; it felt like something out of a movie (pictures are below in case you are curious). At this point, we (really me) immediately proceeded to FaceTime our close family and friends to gloat. This hotel was absolutely fabulous and the customer service was incredible. If you are ever traveling to Barcelona, I highly recommend that you stay here! It can be quite pricey though, so make sure to save those hotel points – hence the reason why we only stayed two nights. Various photos of the gorgeous suite are below:

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View from the bedroom

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Hallway walking

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Dining room for casual dinners (or luggage storage)

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KFo watching the World Cup in the living room, which is definitely larger than our living room at home

While at the Hotel Arts we had the chance to dine at Enoteca. Enoteca is a Michelin star restaurant located in the Hotel Arts. The restaurant is the brainchild of Chef Paco Pérez, who I am pretty sure is a food god. While I don’t have pictures of the beautiful food (I know, major fail on this one), I can tell you it was the best meal I have ever had in my life. My favorite dish was a “pasta” that was composed of Enokitake mushrooms and calamari strands, made to taste like the consistency of pasta. Even typing this (in the morning no less), I am craving the dish. KFo and I were lucky enough to experience two Michelin star meals while in Spain, and this one truly was my favorite.

Other highlights of our trip included meeting up with one of KFo’s classmates from Anderson and going to a Fatboy Slim concert that we happened across at Razzmatazz. Razzmatazz is a nightclub close to La Sagrada Familia (which, if you haven’t visited Spain should certainly be on your list). It features different DJs and has a bunch of young kids dancing to music. We got there in time to see the end of Fatboy Slim’s set, which was awesome (he’s still got it!) – however, there was some confusion because the three of us had thought we were watching an opening act.

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Fatboy Slim at Razzmatazz

Overall, we had a great trip in Barcelona and it was just the reset we needed before continuing our trip. We tend to be "lazy" in Barcelona, and we certainly held true to our previous vacations. More to come on San Sebastien in the next blog post!