Viva España 3: Food Strikes Back

“The house smelled musty and damp, and a little sweet, as if it were haunted by the ghosts of long-dead cookies.”

I wished it were cookies my dorm room smelt like.  It currently smells of long-dead socks after the new people came in.

The smell literally hit me when they came in last night.

And it is still lingering now in the morning.

You know the drill by now, don’t you?

Step 1


Espresso this time, because I am heading straight back to La Boqueria for breakfast.

I am at the Pinotxo Bar again, and I was planning on getting something different for breakfast, like the sausage, or some eggs.

“Garbanzos” came out of my mouth automatically.  I mean, it was just an automatic reaction.


Not that I am complaining in the slightest.

Uno Persona, Por Favor

Something I noticed while sitting here eating is that after a few days I start to try doing all my dining etiquette (ordering, please, thank yous, where’s the toilet etc) in the language of the country I’m in.

In this case, Spanish.

Now I am in no way saying that I am fluent all of a sudden.  In most cases, the person taking my order will give me a bemused look, and then repeat my request back to me in Spanish.  In such a way that they are correcting my incorrect pronunciation/sentence structure.

But it also opened them up to talking to me more.

I also found myself helping other tourists (ones where English is not their second language either).

In one case, I managed to give an old Spanish man sitting next to me the impression that I could speak multiple languages.

I wish.

Well, after breakfast, I made a beeline straight for Sagrada Familia… and when I arrived I found out that even if you turned up at the crack of dawn, tickets for the day are already sold out.

Well, I planned on just walking back to the hostel, and just chilling for the rest of the morning.

Then it hit me to maybe look for a bakery and get a coffee and delicious baked goods.

Plugged a search into Google Maps, and started walking.

And they’re closed.

However, I have ended up near Casa Batlló.  A building designed by Antoni Gaudi (yes him again).

And for some reason, I walked the entirety of this building and did not take a single photo of the place.

I guess I do kinda lose that will when it is absolutely packed solid with tourists.

However, I can attest, that the chimneys up on the roof were the same as in Casa Mila.

Along with the same type of snake bone type architecture in the attics.

I headed back to La Rambla, as it was nearing lunch.

Ok, that’s not a complete truth, it was more near 11:00 AM.

But, there was a place I saw that I wanted to try, and I had no doubt it was already packed solid at this time.

The place was El Quim De La Boqueria.

Famed for their two fried eggs with baby squid.

And as expected, it was packed, but I was going to wait it out,

They operated on a sort of free-for-all system.  Basically, if a seat is free, grab it.

It was not too hard to figure out who was going to move off fairly quickly.  Although there was one couple who seemed to keep ordering food one after the other!

Either way, I managed to get a seat fairly quickly just by camping behind a family of tourists who was finishing their meal.

They have a simple system.  You get a menu, tick off what you want, and give it back to the person behind the counter.

I had decided to NOT get the eggs and baby squid, and instead go for the oxtail risotto.


Oxtail Risotto


Oxtail Risotto

Lord Almighty, this was melt in your mouth goodness on a plate.

The oxtail pieces were soft and buttery, and the risotto was the right side of creamy without being too heavy.

And yet…and yet.

eggs with baby squid

There had to be a reason this was the speciality, and as soon as I broke the egg yolks I knew I was not going to regret ordering this too.


eggs with baby squid, broken yolks

Nope, the yolk cut through the saltiness of the baby squid, and I basically inhaled the dish.

(Whoever said you should chew each mouthful 30 times has not tried this dish).


Even Gaudier

There is another Gaudi building near La Boqueria, and without anything else to do I headed over to kill some time.

This one is Palau Güell

“… a mansion designed by the architect Antoni Gaudí for the industrial tycoon Eusebi Güell and built between 1886 and 1888”


I even took a few pictures this time!


View from the roof


My legs are now starting to feel shattered!  This building forced me to climb 7 flights of stairs!!!

I noticed a bakery yesterday that I was packed so I decided to grab some items and a coffee to take away.

The place is chök.

“At chök we love chocolate. Who doesn’t?”

Good point.

I know a few people who will hate me for having these without them. (L I’m looking at you).


Time to Chill

Ok the plan at this point, was to get back to the hostel, finish up the last blog post and then relax.

I still need to find paella for dinner.

What I did find was stadium seating for empanadas.


Two of those, please…

I am pretty sure all the walking I have done today has justified what I have eaten.



Time Skip

It is 8:00 PM, I have rested, and even found a place to go for dinner that does paella.

I have wandered around to Santa Maria Del Pi.  The guitar show is at 9:00 PM and there is a change they may have tickets on the door.

I didn’t get a chance to find out, to be honest.

I decided to kill a little time in a small tapas place, and have a few beers.

And managed to strike up a conversation with another traveller who had just arrived in Barcelona.

She had been waiting for her friends to arrive from London (she flew in from Israel), and they had gone AWOL for the last 4 hours or so.

Anyway, she was a taking a picture of something, and from my point of view, it looked like the cashier’s till.

After asking, it turned out it was this:




Now I’ve had some bad stuff to shoot in my time.  Poor tequilas, Aftershock, Chilli-infused vodkas.

But that stuff…… bleurgh!!!

But as I pointed out to her, people must like it, since over half the bottle is gone.

Finally, her friends have turned up, so it’s time for me to find this paella.



It was definitely worth the wait.

I’ve gone to Restaurant Pitarra

Slightly more upmarket than what I have been visiting recently, however, the food I’ve been told is excellent.

I browse through the menu, and spot what I want:

Jamón ibérico


Wait, what?

You know the saying “things you didn’t know you need?”

Well, that is what I thought when I saw this on the tapas side of the menu.

And this was absolutely gorgeous. a whole plate of it!

For me!

oh don’t worry, I got the paella too!


And yes, this was worth it and was a great dinner.

I struggled with the walk back to the hotel, and just collapsed in bed when I arrived.


Epilogue – 6:30AM

*beep beep beep beep beep*



shit…. there went any chance of getting breakfast at La Boqueria.

I have not even packed yet, I literally stuff all my gear into my bag, hoping I am not making a complete racket while doing so.

And I can smell bacon cooking in the Hostel kitchen.


I hand my swipe card back to reception and head for the Metro.

Check into the airport was relatively painless, and I head for the Miro Lounge for…


… what else?

Now it ain’t the BA lounge in Gatwick.


But it’ll do… it’ll do.

Look at me getting all snobbish!

Honestly can say this has been a great trip if a little pricey.

I found myself spending nearly towards £90 per day (including staying at the hostel).  The majority of which was on food (go figure), and then other bits like entry to the various places.

I did not really use any kind of taxis, or public transport, opting just to hoof it to wherever I was headed.  That at least justified some of the excess eating.

But I guess I gonna have to spend the next few weeks eating instant noodles.

… or mum’s cooking, with leftovers for lunch!

Time to go home!

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