The art of pacing yourself in Barcelona

The art of pacing yourself in Barcelona

Barcelona is a city that results in a sore neck and sore feet. While walking from Park Güell to La Sagrada Família, distraction is inevitable. Every corner you arrive at, you must suppress an urge to take yet another picture while arching your head way back, trying to limit the time you marvel at the architecture surrounding you to spare your neck. Then you promise yourself you'll catch a bus home, or a taxi, and will definitely not walk in order to spare your poor, tired feet. But there's a really interesting, medieval-looking building on the next corner...

Barcelona makes it hard to pace yourself, and Chris and I found ourselves walking 7-12 miles a day just taking in this amazing city of culture and history. Exhausted, we'd be ready to eat a full meal and imbibe a much-deserved drink by 7:30pm. Which we thought was reasonable. But every night we'd spend the next hour walking around even more, looking for a place that was open for dinner. No one, it seemed, wanted to open before 9pm. We'd sit down in a nearly empty restaurant--getting good service and cheaper drinks--and think to ourselves, "Ok. Now how do we kill time between now and 2am when the clubs open?" We had heard about the famous nightlife of Barcelona and had every intention of experiencing it, but what to do in the meantime?

After our dinner, which consisted of two drinks each, we went to a bar, where we tried absinthe and talked about our childhood...politics...rabbits...anything to pass time until people appeared in this city of 1.7 million. On the stage next to us a sign read: "Live Music starts at 11pm." That was ages from now. We left.

I always thought late dinners and even later parties were an exaggeration when people recounted their stories of Barcelona. However, when we wandered through the tourist district at the end of La Rambla, we peaked into a place at midnight. We asked the bouncer if we should go in, since we heard loud music, and saw that the lights were flashing on beat with the latest Drake hit. But he just shook his head. "Come back at two," he said, "then there will be people."

On the main road, we stumbled upon a bar in a magical forest (El Bosc de Les Fades). I had a margarita and Chris had a beer while we talked more about our childhood...politics...and forest creatures (which included rabbits). 

Finally, at midnight, we found a bar offering two free drinks and transport to Opium, a club on the esplanade. But it didn't open for two more hours, so we had time to kill. Chris, the other foreigners who didn't know better, and I all drank and bonded while we waited for the locals to start the party. I had two or three more drinks. We were feeling good, had friends, and were on our way to dance. Finally, at 1:45am we piled into a bus and were on our way. I think I did another shot.

Just outside the doors to the club we anticipated going to all night, I wanted to go home. That's what Chris tells me, anyway. I don't remember.

Two cab rides later (because I was the one that spoke Spanish and, being out of commission, Chris had to find his way to our hotel alone), we made our way to bed and passed out just as people put on their dancing shoes. 

How to survive Barcelona? Naps before a late dinner.