So, the reality of writing a traveling blog is a little different than I expected. Though I’m not sure whether to blame my lack of time and posts on my hilarious best friends or the busyness of traveling itself, I was a little disappointed in myself. I was over the moon about starting my “When Abroad” blog, and I planned exactly how I was going to differentiate myself from my other fellow travel bloggers. Well, the truth sometimes hurts. I was having way too much fun all of the time, and dedicating hours each day to edit photos and write something interesting seemed to diminish by the second. I would spend most of my flights writing my posts and editing the hundreds of photos I seemed to take everyday. However, it was not enough. This whole blogging career is serious work! Knowing I am pretty tough on myself, I would spend time making sure my post was perfect before hitting the “send” button. I would also attempt to edit my entire camera roll with VSCO to make everything look as amazing as it was in person. Though I am sad to say I am finished with my semester abroad, I know my work with this blog has yet to be done. I have way too many adventures, restaurants, and places I still want to share with you and anyone you may know. As a lover of all-things-food and exciting places, I know my experience can be valuable not only to myself, but to others as well. If you are still reading this, no worries – I am still here! I will be writing about my time in Amsterdam, Prague, and more. I am also planning on making a special list for all my fellow foodies out there. Though I realize blogging takes a little more time than I expected, I am happy to say I lived and learned. Time really does fly when you are having this much fun! Thank you to all of the encouraging comments and messages I have received about keeping my blog up and running. It means the world to me. More to come!
Casa Lolea… OUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT! This little gothic-quarter restaurant has such a special place in my heart. If you are in Barcelona, it is an absolute must for tapas. A great staff, good vibes, incredible food – this restaurant has it all. Casa Lolea also has another location at a hotel called Trafalagar where there is a beautiful rooftop bar looking out on the city. If you go to this bar and order a bottle of Lolea’s #1 Sangria, trust me – you will be the furthest thing from disappointed. Here is a list of dishes that I have tried and that I think are a MUST:
#1 Lolea Sangria
Black Truffle Risotto (the best)
Patatas Bravas (also the best – you might want to get 2 orders because everyone will devour these)
Make-your-own tomato bread
Goat cheese salad
Salmon thingies (lol)
Ahi Tuna thingies
Pana Cotta dessert?
….and I am in the process of trying everything else!
As I am currently drowning in my own tears in the Barcelona Airport, I can’t help but think… Is missing a flight one of the worst feelings in the world? As a first-timer, right now it feels like it. I figured I should advise any of you travelers to get your asses to the airport hella early, even if you “don’t have to” in these European airports. If you’re running late, BOLT to the front of the line, plead for forgiveness, and ask to cut. I decided to respectfully wait in my long-ass check-in line, and the woman at the counter decided to make me wait even longer when she couldn’t find my ticket. Therefore, you have it. A missed flight. Now? A new flight costing nearly 100euro to a totally different airport where I will have to take an hour and a half long train to get to my destination… Oh, and arrive nearly 6 hours after I was supposed to. Life lesson, check! Missing my first flight will definitely not be one of my fondest memories abroad, but from here on out, I will forever make my flights and be the annoying mom that claims we have to get to the airport three hours in advance (I love you, Mom!).
DRY Martini – according to many sources, this place is voted the best cocktail bar in Barcelona. Looking for a little fun and getaway from our apartment, my roommates and I got dressed up and ventured out onto the lovely street of Consell de Cent. We walked about 15-20 minutes until we arrived at our fancy lil’ cocktail bar. Feeling a little out of place at first, the bar has a very mature and European vibe to it. We seemed to be the only foreigners in the crowd, and by far the youngest. However, we were excited to finally relax and get away from some of the American crowds. We found ourselves in a comfortable booth in the corner, just a few feet away from the “Speakeasy Restaurant” entrance of the bar. Seemed cool, but we were on a budget (considering the drinks at DRY Martini aren’t the cheapest). However, they were worth it. Carol and I ordered the spicy Amazon cocktails – tequila, jalapeño peppers, vanilla bean, and who knows what else. Ellie ordered a passion fruit martini (classic), Malia and Shelby ordered mojitos (also classic), and Katie ordered a Gin&Tonic (arguably the best drink on the table). If you’re in Barcelona and craving a perfect cocktail, this is your place . It is the perfect old-school, European, dark-wood atmosphere that we were looking for. The drinks were gorgeous, and we definitely did not need more than one. They make these things strong here! Cheers!
Before I arrived in Barcelona, I was a Thai food virgin. Or, at least I was a pad Thai virgin. Hannah (my lovely sister) once made me try some sort of Thai burrito-like thing from a farmer’s market in Santa Clara. Or was that Indian? Either way, I had never tasted what I now believe is my new favorite meal. Thai Thai – a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant one block down from our beloved apartment. We passed this little spot one day when it was closed during siesta hours, and my roommates claimed it was necessary to come back when it opened at 8pm. After trying to convince them for hours to try and find a Mexican food restaurant (I miss you, Arizona), I finally gave in. As we walked in, we were shocked at how beautifully decorated the little spot is. It is red, purple, and gold all over, with beautiful plates and artwork. Each and every one of us ordered the pad Thai (no meat, we’re on a budget) and waited patiently. The food arrived, and my life was changed. Thai Thai – you are my new soulmate. We have also discovered you can dump your pad thai in sweet & sour sauce (yum) and a spicy chili powder for an extra kick (yummier). If I could eat here every night of my life, I would (and I basically have). It is safe to say we are all obsessed with this place, and if anyone comes to L’Exiample in Barcelona, you better not leave without ordering some pad Thai. And yes, I know I am crazy about food. And yes, those are all pictures of the same dish. We promised we would order something else next time, okay?
September 6, 2017
Brunch & Cake
If you want the best carrot cake of your entire life, please go to Brunch & Cake. They have a few locations in Barcelona, with some being named Travel & Cake or Cup & Cake. Ellie, Shelby and I came to this little spot on our first day in Barcelona. My small fear of planes left me a little dizzy after our 9 hour flight from Miami, so I decided to just get a caramel latté (my favorite) and a slab of cake for lunch. Why am I so healthy?! However, I think I’ll start choosing cake for lunch everyday because of this life-changing experience. I’ve been dreaming about the carrot cake ever since. Our amazing waiter also gave us a free piece of their cookies and cream (??) mystery cake, as well as two chocolate chip cookies. I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about stopping by this cute lil’ place everyday on my way home from class. 10/10 recommend this place to all of those traveling in Barcelona.
…Can you tell I love sweets?
El Nacional – one of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever stepped foot in. Though I have not had the chance to taste any creation from one of the four dining experiences inside, Malia and I got a sneak peak of the place when we were exploring the city. Katie claims their house white is potentially the best wine she has ever had, along with something she described as “a meatball thing covered in potato with a crunchy outside” …I trust her. Anything crunchy works for me.
UPDATE: Since this post, I’ve eaten at El Nacional’s Seafood restaurant a couple of times. Their tuna tartare and seafood paella is a must – I seriously couldn’t stop eating. It is extremely entertaining to sit next to their fish “market” where the biggest fish I’ve ever seen are laying on mounds of ice and salt. I also had the chance to verify how amazing El Nacional’s selection of white wine is, and I was not disappointed. It is definitely some of the best wine I’ve ever had!
I arrived in Barcelona less than two weeks ago, and I am already calling my new apartment home. Having no time to start this journal/blog until now, Barcelona has been nothing but great times with new friends. My amazing roommates include Ellie, Katie, Malia, Carolina and Shelby – and we are one hell of a household. It is crazy to think that we all met about a week and a half ago when we feel like we have known each other for years. Our fridge is already filled with $2 wine and a healthy supply of hummus. We have already established our go-to restaurant called “Thai Thai” after we ate there 3 times in 4 days. (I have a whole post dedicated to this amazing place here …) We are already debating if we should return for their pad thai tonight after seeing Park Güell.
Our apartment is in a great neighborhood and is relatively close to school. After spending a week without a coffee machine in our apartment, we got pretty close with a little coffee shop underneath us called “Coffee with Bread” – and I’m pretty sure it’s fate since my two favorite things in life are coffee and bread. They have these incredible pastries that tend to torture me every morning. However, my heart (and Malia’s) decided to choose gelato over everything after discovering DelaCrem – some the best gelato you will ever have. It is safe to say that this place is going to wipe out my self control, considering we pass it everyday on our way to and from class.
We are taking over Consell de Cent one day at a time. The squad is about to go buy even more wine (…why is wine cheaper than water here?) and watch the sunset at Park Güell. I hope I won’t hate the states so much for charging us a million dollars for alcohol. I’ll miss my $2 wine and $5 fifth of vodka or gin… Carolina is responsible for the gin. Katie gets $1 vodka and complains about it every time. Adios!