Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Not about Vicky nor Cristina

While the two American women got themselves entangled in a complicated three way love affair with a Spanish hunk in Barcelona one summer, I on the other hand, had a much less romantic experience though nonetheless, still exciting.

In April '08, I went to Barcelona to catch my first F1 race!!

Not a huge F1 fan, but I enjoyed the whole atmosphere and the experience of being there and not just watching it on telly. Regretted big time not bringing any kind of ear plugs though.
I was also lucky to have dined at two excellent restaurants while in Barcelona – both very different but equally memorable.

One of them was EVO by Santi Santamaria, who said: “Cuisine does not travel, it's people with an appetite for cultural experiences who journey to enjoy gastronomy”. Indeed, his classy restaurant encased in a glass dome sitting on top of a hotel, which offers a fantastic 360⁰ view of the city is a feast for all the senses. Reservation is a must and the use of mobile phones in the restaurant is a no-no.

EVO restaurante on the top of Hotel Hesperia.
I shot this in a car on the highway, so pardon the really bad quality.

The other is Asador de Aranda located on Avenida Tibidabo, one of my favourite areas in Barcelona. They are famous for their traditional menu like roast lamb and suckling pig but even their simpler dishes are to die for, like the Morcilla de Burgos which is the best I’ve eaten so far in Spain. Interestingly, the distinctive building in which it is housed (built by architect Joan Rubío i Bellver in 1903) used to be a summer residence of its previous owner. That’s what adds to a great dining experience; you’re in a part of history.

Asador de Aranda

Apart from being a swanky neighbourhood, what's charming about the Avenida Tibidabo area is that you can also catch a quaint little tram...

Tramvia Blau / The Blue Tram [Picture taken from web]

...which brings you to the funicular station where u can catch a funicular and go right up the mountain to the enchanting Tibidabo Amusement Park and the beautiful church Temple de Sagrat Cor on the summit.

There's something very fairytale-like about it and I loved every minute I spent there.

Also, checking out the beaches in Barcelona is a must.

Barceloneta Beach.

I loved the walk along Passeig Maritim by the Barceloneta beach. There's just this nice sunny happy vibe about that whole area and in the evening, there're endless options for a great seafood dinner.

Around the Olympic Port area, where you can find Frank Gehry's steel fish sculpture.

I almost feel like it's a sin not to mention Gaudí when talking about Barcelona. I appreciate that his works made it into UNESCO'S list of World Heritage Sites, and perhaps for that reason, the queues to enter Casa Batlló and La Pedrera are often long which means that they are too packed anyway. I enjoyed Park Güell tremendously though.

Works of Antoni Gaudí.

La Sagrada Família on the other hand, was pretty disappointing. It's still Work In Progress and will be so until...who knows? But hey, I found Jesus there ;)

One of the doors from the church's 'Passion Façade'.

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