And then there was wine

There are approximately 10,000 winegrowers and 853 wine companies in Catalunya. None of which I had ever heard of a few months ago. Now I can confirm that Catalonian wines (or at least the ones I have tried) tend to be full bodied and high in alcohol. Apparently, due to the grape varieties and the region’s warm weather ­conditions. With so much diversity around, one ought to start somewhere and look forward to explore other grape varieties and climate conditions…

A promise delivered

Tucked away at the end of a street and in the middle of a maze of narrow street of the gothic quarter is a place that promises good coffee. The long walk and wait were well worth it. Though I should have probably ordered two.


The most visited tourist attraction in Barcelona at my doorstep. The Sagrada Familia started construction in 1882 and is hoped to be completed in 2026 – for the centennial of Gaudí’s death. That will total 144 years of construction which is 7 times the time it took to build the Taj Mahal.

Antoni Gaudí is buried in La Sagrada Familia, he died a few days after being hit by a tram. He was mistaken by a beggar and thus people didn’t take him to hospital promptly. So in a way, we are now neighbours.

Finally, I see the sea

I finally put my running shoes on and strolled to see the sea. I learnt that beaches in Barcelona have names and each is under a kilometer long. So this is a patch of a handful of beaches that extends the East of Barcelona. Two of the beaches I ran past are Playa de la Mar Bella and Playa Llevantes.

Playa de la Mar Bella is a popular beach that was created in 1992 when Barcelona invested money for the Olympic games. It is meant to be one of the two nudist beaches in Barcelona but either I was too focused in my running or the unofficial divide of this beach into zones means that there isn’t that many people roaming around in their nakedness. Playa de Llevantes is Barcelona’s easternmost beach. These 800 meters of beach opened in 2006 and since 2016 allows dogs to roam the beach freely.

Just out of town

Sant Cugat del Vallès is a town only a half an hour train journey from Barcelona, in the region of Vallès Occidental. It has lots of history starting by its Benedictine monastery, whose origins can be traced to the 9th century, and as it is surrounded by amazing natural areas. It has the feel of European small towns with old buildings, slow town life and narrow streets.

Ir de pintxos

The equivalent to going to Cantinas in Mexico or a pub crawl in Australia, in this side of the world is the Basque tradition of “ir de pintxos”. Drink a “zurito” – a small portion of beer – or a “txikito” – a small glass of wine – with a snack or two of traditional food. 

Traditionally a pintxo was a slice of bread with a small portion of food on the top and held together by a toothpick. Now is just a small portion of food. 

On a weekend, bars and restaurants will keep bringing pintxos out until 3 or 4 am but on Sundays, you better go early as they are “only” open until midnight.