“Hi Elena! It’s Lauren here from Devour Spain: We run Food Tours in Madrid, Barcelona & Seville! Let me know if you have time in your schedule while in Barcelona, as we would love to have you on one of our tours.”
Oh my. Words like these are right up my #foodlover’s alley – and more so where the success & support of fellow travel writers such as Lauren Aloise of SpanishSabores.com is concerned. Lauren has truly succeeded in making a difference to her life & others by opening up a food tour company in several cities of Spain: Congratulations, dear Lauren! While confirming my interest & appetite for a “Devour Barcelona Food Tour” with her, I am wandering through the small streets of Barceloneta district, one of my favourite parts of town, a happy smile spreading on my face, thinking: Life is good.
Sometimes, all you need in life is time. Time on your own. Time to relax. Some of that sunshine. And inspiration. I have found all of it, and more, on this sunny afternoon stroll in Barceloneta Beach …
… a part of Barcelona I particularly like for its mix of genuine local flair and pretty beach life. These days, Barceloneta is no longer reminiscent of the fishing village it once used to be – on reclaimed land off the coast of Barcelona city. Today, it rather exudes an atmosphere of laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle, of sunshine and beach life, of international tourists mingling with local people and students, of happy people meeting under the bright Barcelona sun simply to hang out, share a meal or drink, relax and enjoy. A place I like to call home feeling like a “temporary citizen” to the city of Barcelona myself, renting an apartment at five minutes walking distance from the beach. Listening to the sound of Barcelona lovebirds each and every night (yes!). Oh, heaven. All you need is love … so do come and take this walk with me!
Another way to see a good part of the city of Barcelona is by joining a local Bike Tour. “Steel Donkey Bike Tours” do a great job of mixing typical trails … with sudden turns only the locals would know!
Edu really knows what he is doing. And that is not only looking cool wearing dark sunglasses, or taking visitors around town: “Working with ‘Steel Donkey Bike Tours‘ has helped me see my own city in a new light and study some of its more detailed, intimate parts of local history. Like here, where we are standing now: Would you guess what this woman’s head carved in stone at the corner of this street actually represents?”
Silence. Difficult to say: A memorial to someone famous, perhaps? A sculptor indicating his profession? “Well, it is far more mundane”, Edu laughs. “Rather than anything else, this stone carving here used to indicate a brothel in former times …”. Touring Barcelona with Edu, we are not only introduced to some of the local area history of his town, but also offered to watch some amazing display of street art graffiti, take turns exploring local food markets (our lunch stop!) and venture into quirky little backyards that tell us something about the more recent urban planning developments of Barcelona city. Altogether, the regular “Steel Donkey Bike Tour” we are on takes about four hours, including a good half hour lunch stop at Concepció Food Market. A selection of all their tours can be found here: I am tempted to go back already!
Talking about food, and “food-touring” Barcelona: Be sure not to miss an entertaining history, culture & food lesson of Barcelona’s lively Gràcia district thanks to “Devour Barcelona Food Tours”!
“Well. I love food, history, arts and culture. Essentially I thought, when first contemplating to run these tours … I really thought this tour was me! Everything I love.! So today, I aim to bring you more of the essential Gràcia neighbourhood food stories, told through the love & passion of the local people of this Barcelona district away from the typical tourist trails in downtown Barcelona …!”
My mouth is watering, as I shoot our food tour guide Rene a warming look; Rene who originally hails from the United States and has swapped prospects of moving back for a career on the road – teaching English (and now food love!) in Barcelona as well as being married to a Catalan. She, too, speaks several languages fluently and is simply delightful: You can tell she knows (and loves) what she is doing. I smile, thinking back of my very first food tour in Porto last year spawning a series of “food lover explorations around the world” – and resulting in my publication of many more articles called “Food Tours Worldwide“, offering you useful tips and hands-on insights for enjoying food tours around the world.
“Today’s Food Tour Menu serves you nine different tasting stops: Cava, Catalan cheeses, croquettes, you name it. A beautiful cross-section of real Catalan food. Let me take you there.”
The locals always know best. And now, I am left with a desire to explore even more of this Barcelona district called Gràcia, the food tour having been a mere four-hour appetizer of what I am sure merits a much longer visit. Next time, I recommend you (and myself) to stay there soaking up all those lovely local flavours we have whetted our appetites to in the local bars & markets. For now, sit back & enjoy my colourful Flickr Photo Album of Barcelona … Bon appetite!