A beautiful blue-sky day. Autumn in Barcelona tends to be pleasant, especially for those of us used to cooler weather. From December through to Spring, however, things can get distinctly chilly.
We enjoy a cup of tea in the sunshine and a quiet read on our balcony at Retrome before venturing downstairs to the hotel bar for breakfast. We have local favourite pan con tomate with café con leche (milky coffee) although decide to be virtuous and pass on the cava.
We put on our walking shoes and head down to the city, through our old neighbourhood of Sant Pere, where you can catch a glimpse of Barcelona’s medieval heritage in the cobbled streets. Lots has changed since we moved out. This used to be a sketchy area, but there are a few chic new cafes and coworkings dotted around now, and it’s looking better than it did.
Head across the Gotico and the Raval to MACBA. We sit a while in the sunshine and watch the skateboarders in the plaza, before heading in to the (huge) Joan Brossa exhibition, which takes up most of the first floor.
We visit the bookshop, LAIE, on the way out – one of the few bookshops in town that is open on a Sunday. This is a good place to stock up on art books, as well as arty souvenirs.
Take a stroll through the Raval, starting on Joaquin Costa and working our way towards Calle Elisabets.
Passing through the medieval courtyard that houses the Biblioteca Sant Pau – Santa Creu (one of the best-looking public libraries you’ve ever seen), we notice that one of our favourite terraces, El Jardí, has moved across the way into a beautiful enclosed garden just off the main square. We sit and coo at the cloisters, the rustic decor and the empty square of garden around which the tables and chairs are arranged as we have a pre-lunch vermut.
Get to the open air book fair in Sant Antoni just in time to catch the last deals of the day. Buy a copy of La Forja de Un Rebelde for a friend, and pass on some comic books that look too weird to be true (Sideways Girl, anyone?).
Lunch at old favourite Esterri – we have a bocadillo de lomo con queso, a (huge) bomba and a plate of pimientos padron.
Head up to Eixample, where we’re due to meet some friends at a Portuguese bakery, but it’s closed! Settle for a branch of Fornet round the corner and spend a couple of hours talking about books and neurotic animals over passable tea.
Back to Retrome for a rest and an early evening drink in the bar before heading out.
We’re feeling lazy, so eat at Luigi, a great neighbourhood Italian place on Roger de Lluria that has been recommended by a friend.
For after-dinner drinks, we walk up to Les Gens Que J’Aime on Valencia, where we drink gin from goldfish-sized glasses. The bar is almost full but we manage to squeeze into a couple of the red velvet seats under the stairs to see out the rest of the evening.