Clubbing In Barcelona Until 3am With People I Just Met

This Week:

  • My first impressions of Barcelona coming from the U.S.
  • What it’s like to wander 50 miles of the Barcelona streets.
  • Clubbing until 3am with people I met 3 hours before.

July 2023

Su M T W Th F S

Where In The World Was I?

  • Barcelona, Spain

Where… Am I?

We leave off last week’s Life Update having just touched down in Barcelona, Spain.

Jet lagged and sleepy, I exit the plane, pass through the visa checkpoint successfully and pop out into the airport with no idea what to do next.

I stood there trying to figure out where to go first, then aimlessly walked around the airport trying to figure out where the right bus terminal was.

It was the first culture shock for me.

People speaking Spanish all around. All the signs are mainly in Spanish (some have translations to English). Looking down at my phone at a completely new metro system walking around trying to figure out where to go.

But alas, I finally found a bus that took me into the city.

Mission successful.

But honestly from then on, using the public transit has been incredibly smooth.

My First Impressions

Everything is just different.

  • The architecture is intricate and beautiful
  • It reminds me a lot of San Francisco (dry, mountainous region, along the water, tight streets)
  • English is incredibly common
  • You pay for water at restaurants
  • You don’t tip at restaurants, you pay for exactly what you order
  • So many tourists…
  • Lots of people smoke
  • All the cars are smaller and there are tons of mopeds
  • Everyone is fit and attractive
  • The metro and public transit are incredible

Amazing Food

I’ve been eating out pretty much every day. That might change pretty soon 😅, but everything I’ve had has been absolutely fantastic.

This week reminded me a lot of my time in Seattle – tons of walking, eating out a ton, and so much exploring.

  • Cafe Menssana – ordering two meals (hadn’t eaten since the previous night), and that conversation with the 10/10 server
  • Citizen Cafe Barcelona – the asparagus and mushroom casserole
  • Macchina Pasta Bar – the unbelievably creamy carbonara pasta
  • Gelaati Di Marco – the pistachio gelato
  • Bicioci Bike Cafe – the front door that got stuck
  • Musiu – the incredible focaccia that was basically just pizza
  • OGGI Gelato Barcelona – where I said “se un pequeno de espanol” and she corrected me (lol)
  • Little Fern – the unbelievable avocado toast
  • Tucco Real Food Born – the first dinner meeting the Barcelona hostel Instagram group
  • Restaurante Mino – the paella with the hostel group
  • Taverna Can Margarit – the place with the rabbit meat

So. Much. Walking.

Dios mio I walked a lot this week. It came out to over 50 miles in 6 days.

Everything is so walkable, the public transit is incredible (metros come every 2-4 minutes; I stopped looking at the arrival times), and there’s just so much to see.

Gothic Quarter – the maze

El Raval – the market, the tour about serial killers

Gracia – tight streets, community plazas, loved this neighborhood

El Coll – zero tourists, only locals

El Poblenou – hip and picturesque

The Squares – haircut, photography walk, La Sagrada Familia

La Playa – walked 3 miles down the beach

The Photography Walk

Speaking of walking… One evening I was headed out with a group for dinner at 8pm. It was about 6pm and so I had an hour to kill.

So I just grabbed my camera and walked around the city just looking around taking photos.

I realized that with all (most) of the walking I’ve done, I didn’t really look UP, or stop and really look for those details.

There’s something about going out with the intention to look for those details that changes my entire perspective.

It was total creative flow, total presence and focus.

The Ups And Downs

This intrigued me…

I haven’t really done all the touristy attractions here.

Instead, I’ve opted for just exploring by food and by just wandering.

But every so often I wandered to a touristy spot and everything would change.

Like when I walked to the market and it was just absolutely packed with people, dodging and weaving through hoards of tourists. I don’t think I saw a single local in there.

It’s moments like these that just completely turn me off.

I literally can’t think thoughts.

All I’m focused on is moving around people, squeezing by, and I’m just so out of my head and out of the present that I can’t appreciate it.

But that day where I walked past Park Guell, up over the hill, and into El Coll, it was the exact opposite.

I didn’t see a single tourist.

It was 100% locals, people getting on and off buses, kids playing hide and seek in the school, people walking into markets with canvas bags around their shoulders.

And my experience was so different.

100% present, meandering, soaking in the details.

It’s moments like those that I just love. Being completely immersed in the culture.

The discrepancy here (obviously) is that I’m also a tourist. So, I’m still not sure how to reconcile that, but it’s just something I’ve started to notice.

A Wild First Hostel Experience

So I book this hostel and get there around 3pm. It’s a big 12 person dorm room with bunk beds.

I’m putting my bags in the locker, not 10 minutes after arriving, when these two friends (girl and guy) walk in and kick up a little conversation. Their two beds were the ones next to mine.

We get to talking a bit, sharing where we’re from etc. etc. and they invite me out to dinner with this group of other backpackers that they met.

I was a bit on the fence at first, having also just met this other guy while sitting in the common room and seeing that the hostel was having a free dinner that night where many people from the hostel were gathering.

But, I decided to go for it… and boy am I glad I did.

We biked down to this restaurant Tucco Real Food Born (Italian place) and I met the group. It was a wide range of ages and everyone was from somewhere different (a couple from the U.S., Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland).

After dinner we headed to this bar and sat outside to chill and talk where we met up with more folks.

And as soon as 10:30pm struck, we went to this 2.50€ ($2.76) shots place that had, I swear, over a thousand different shots.

At midnight, the group headed to this club (Opium Barcelona Restaurant and Club).

I was on the fence.

It’s not really my type of experience, it’s not really my type of music. But in the past, events like these have been core memories that I’ve kept for years.

  • Basically every night out with the mic man during college, but more specifically that one where we went to the frats.
  • Buying that ticket to the Gryffin concert in San Francisco at like 11pm on a whim as I was going to bed… And then going to it.

And so I decided to do it.


Morning Routine

After a nice hangover the next morning 😵‍💫, the next couple days I found a nice little morning routine here.

Waking up between 9-11am (depending on how the previous night went 😅), I’d get out of bed, walk to a park, sit on a bench for 20 minutes getting sunlight in my eyes (helping my circadian rhythm), then I’d head to a coffee shop/cafe and grab a coffee and a croissant and just sit there, present, soaking it in.

I dunno, I started to feel like there was something serene about these mornings, I’m not sure how to describe it.

Life is different here, that’s for sure.

I’m excited to taste more of what it’s like.

More to come.


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