Barcelona's El Poble-sec Neighbourhood
During our first visit to Barcelona, we stayed in the up and coming, trendy neighbourhood of 'El Poble-sec'. We picked a colourful and quirky Airbnb for our lodgings. We hoofed our way up the six floors, barely managing our clunky bags up the narrow 19th-century staircase.
Once we walked through the door, we were mesmerised by all the colourful fabrics, richly decorated walls and beautiful furnishings that Anna, our host, had all over her apartment. She introduced herself, showed us around and gave us a great recommendation for a place to grab some tapas, right down the street. We headed back out promptly, not wanting to get in their way while they cleaned the place up for our "official" arrival later on in the afternoon. We headed down the street, or "Carrer" as they say in Catalan, in search of some fresh Tapas.
We peeked nervously into the door of the restaurant called "Koska" that Anna had directed us towards. A very friendly waiter smiled and ushered us happily in the door Although there were no tables outside, where we would have preferred to sit, he said that we could sit inside, and if anything opened up, he could move us out there. We agreed and took a table at the back. He brought us a menu but said we could also look at all the Pinchos there were on the counter as well. We asked if they had any "Tortilla", another recommendation from our host, and he smiled and went over to grab a slice. A Spanish tortilla is an omelette type dish consisting eggs and potato, fried in oil. It's like a slice of scalloped potatoes, cooked low and slow for hours and then sliced into almost pie like pieces.
Pinchos literally means "thorn" or "spike". It's a small snack, typically found in Northern Spain. This was one of our favourite things to find all over Barcelona. You could try so many different things since they were so small, and if everyone wanted something different, it was easy to oblige everyone. Dad and I perused the pinchos and finally settled on a few different things along with a dish of olives, naturally.
Eventually, we were able to grab a seat on the patio. The street wasn't packed, but it was still interesting people watching as the locals went about their day. The street we were on was called "Carrer de Blai" and would prove to be one of the best places for food we found anywhere in the city.
After we had polished off our plate of pinchos and tortilla, we walked along Carrer de Blai towards the Metro Station. So many places were closed for the August holidays, but it still seemed like a bustling part of town. I looked the apartments up and down as we walked. I loved the architecture. It was beautiful and yet lived in. I hate Dollhouse cities. Where the structures are entirely restored and only left as museum-like facades. Cleaned daily and only there for the tourists to snap a cute picture. These apartments were just as beautiful as anywhere else, but there was a layer of grit that would keep them from being perhaps the most tourist friendly environment. But me, it was perfection. I hate when lovely things are left untouched, and therefore, unloved. This place felt loved. From head to toe.