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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

A Bike Tour, a Food Tour or a simple Walking Tour? Have all three while in Barcelona!

“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!

Starting my impromptu "walking tour" of Barceloneta Beach, this is the view you get coming out of the streets of this charming little "village quarter" of Barcelona city ...

Starting my impromptu “walking tour” of Barceloneta Beach, this is the view you get coming out of the streets of this charming little “village quarter” of Barcelona city …

 

... a place I just love for views (and feelings) like ... THIS.

… a place I just love for views (and feelings / vibes) like … THIS.

 

Saying "I love you" underneath the Barcelona sun!

Saying “I love you” underneath the Barcelona sun!

 

Hipsters mingle with tourists & travellers such as myself ...

Hipsters mingle with tourists & travellers such as myself …

 

... and sometimes, it's all but this kind of atmosphere you need.

… and sometimes, it’s all but this kind of atmosphere you need.

 

Or a look at the local boys ...

Or a look at the local boys …

 

... beach life ...

… beach life mixed with food love …

 

... and a feel for the local atmosphere, like sitting in a chair right by the sea taking in the view over the former Olympic village of Barcelona city.

… and a feel for the local atmosphere, like sitting in a chair right by the sea taking in the view over the former Olympic village of Barcelona city.

 

Barceloneta, I love you !!! When I have grown up, I might end up buying a house here ... if I ever do.!

Barceloneta, I love you !!! When I have grown up, I might end up buying a house here … if I ever do.!

 

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!

On yer' bike: City exploration with Green Bikes Barcelona ...

On yer’ bike: City exploration with Steel Donkey Bike Tours …

 

... starts with the interesting juxtaposition of former "signs" indicating brothels ...

… starts with the interesting juxtaposition of former “signs” indicating brothels …

 

... as well as a visit to one of the city's local churches, surprisingly simple in its Gothic style.

… as well as a visit to one of the city’s local churches nearby, surprisingly simple in its magnificent Gothic style.

 

... whose tradition to roast nuts spans many centuries already.

We are also taken to little food & grocery stores …

 

... whose tradition to roast nuts spans many centuries already.

… whose tradition to roast nuts spans many centuries already.

 

Our guide Edu ...

Our guide Edu …

 

... knows how to lead the way (and where to turn to see something beyond the immediate tourist gaze!) ...

… knows how to lead the way (and where to turn to see something beyond the immediate tourist gaze!) …

 

... thank you so much for this interesting bike tour that after all merits the calorie intake at the local market we are enjoying lunch at. Bon appetite!

… thank you so much for this interesting bike tour that after all merits the calorie intake at the local market we are enjoying lunch at. Bon appetite!

 

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.”

Dear Rene, our local "Devour Barcelona" Food Tour guide, takes us out ...

Dear Rene, our local “Devour Barcelona” Food Tour guide, takes us out …

 

... starting "Devouring Barcelona" ...

… starting “Devouring Barcelona” …

 

... with this yummy sandwich that perfectly substitutes a late breakfast: Grilled botifarra sandwich served with cava sparkling wine. Cheers!

… with this yummy sandwich that perfectly substitutes a late breakfast: Grilled botifarra sandwich served with cava sparkling wine. Cheers!

 

Next thing I know, we find ourselves at the local market "Mercat de l'Abaceria Central" ...

Next thing I know, we find ourselves at the local market “Mercat de l’Abaceria Central” …

 

... where these olive & salt cod skewers ...

… where these olive & salt cod skewers …

 

... as well as the selection of Spanish & Catalan cheeses we are handed simply serve to delight us.

… as well as the selection of Spanish & Catalan cheeses we are handed simply serve to delight us.

 

Love the atmosphere of markets ... You?

Love the genuine atmosphere of local (fish) markets … You?

 

After our tasting of organic Spanish extra virgin olive oils ...

After our tasting of organic Spanish extra virgin olive oils …

 

... Rene teaches us about the "Human Castellers", or towers that people around Cataluña build for festivities ...

… Rene teaches us about the “Human Castellers”, or towers that people around Cataluña build for festivities … Amazing don’t you think! Here is my report about seeing them live here in Barcelona!

 

The pub l'Anxoveta not only serves us potato & ground beef croquettes, but also invites us to make our own "pa amb tomàquet" tomato bread - creative food tourism par excellence!

The pub l’Anxoveta not only serves us potato & ground beef croquettes, but also invites us to make our own “pa amb tomàquet” tomato bread – creative food tourism par excellence!

 

Handmade sweet delights ...

Handmade sweet delights …

 

... genuine local people ...

… genuine local people …

 

... (some of which even break into an impromptu song) ...

… (some of which even break into an impromptu song for us) …

 

... plus all the food we taste, such as these homemade meatballs in a tasty bean & pea gravy ...

… plus all the food we taste, such as these homemade meatballs in a tasty bean & pea gravy …

 

... simply have me say YES to DEVOUR Barcelona !! What a delicious food tour!

… simply have me say YES to DEVOUR Barcelona !! What a delicious food tour!

 

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!

 

Disclaimer: I have been invited by Steel Donkey Bike Tours & Devour Barcelona Food Tours on this visit of Barcelona city. All opinions are my own.

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
Fashion, Food & Dance: Creative Travel in Barcelona
#TBEX Europe 2015: Forward Thinking of Travel Bloggers & the Tourism Industry #InCostaBrava

6 Comments

  1. Mônica

    Elena, que experiências fantásticas. Barcelona é a cidade que eu adotei como minha e cada vez que vejo tanto carinho com ela fico muito feliz, porque pra mim esta cidade também é Maravilhosa.

    Beijos e venha disfrutar da nossa Barcelona sempre que puder.

    Reply
    • Elena

      Mônica querida,

      Muito obrigada pelos elogios e claro é que sempre vou voltando. 🙂 Também adorei conhecer “a tua cidade adotada” dessa forma, com muito carinho (e comida ;)) e vamos-nos falando na próxima vez que venha à “Ciutat Comtal”.

      Até já, Beijinhos

      Elena

      Reply
  2. Lauren Aloise

    Thank you so much for the lovely words Elena! It was so wonderful to finally meet you at TBEX and I’m so happy you got to take our tour. Next time you’ll have to visit us in Madrid or Seville and join us there too! Hope to see you again soon!

    Reply
    • Elena

      Dear Lauren,

      I’ll definitely join another one of your food tours in Spain and might indeed head to Seville later this year, so we’ll be in touch! Awesome to hear that you are also working with Cyra Alcock (“The Road Less Forked”) there, she seems to be right up for it 😀

      Do let me know if you ever come to Austria, and I’ll gladly organize a food tour visit for you here, too! Best of luck and see you soon,

      Elena

      Reply
  3. Anita

    What fun it is to travel creatively! I managed some of these activities on our recent stay in Barcelona, and am eager to return for more. Thanks for the inspiration, Elena!

    Reply
    • Elena

      You are so welcome, dear Anita!

      Glad to hear you enjoyed Barcelona just as much and are as eager to come back as I am !! Already. 😉 Inspiration like this just leaves you with a desire for more, as it is “real experiences” like these (real people, real meetings, real understanding) that will guarantee you are coming back, for sure.

      😀

      Take care and have a good day,

      yours, Elena!

      Reply

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