If you’ve been reading my Facebook page or Twitter timeline lately, then you have seen #MyVuelingCity and #Barcelona a lot, and may have wondered what that was all about. My Vueling City is a joint venture between Spain based Vueling Airline and ScannerFM, an online radio station, that has become known as the radio of festivals. The goal of My Vueling City is to bring the independent, alternative and creative vibe that is the hallmark of Vueling Airline and ScannerFM, to city guides and allow visitors to experience the city in a more authentic way.

#MyVuelingCity is a blogger exchange program, organized by Vueling and ScannerFM, which involved bloggers exchanging cities for a weekend, and advice about the best things to see and do in their respective cities.

Eddy of destinos:actuales, came to Amsterdam in December, while I spent a weekend in Barcelona, bringing my friend Ginny of Living La Buena Vida, along for the ride. Some of the other exchanges sent bloggers from London to Bilbao, Paris to Madrid, and Florence to Valencia.  I think Ginny and I probably got the best deal, because Vueling and ScannerFM are based in Barcelona, thus giving us access to the wonderful Ana (Vueling) and Carlos (ScannerFM), the masterminds behind the project, who gave us a great insider tips.  

Barcelona is a big city, and there is no way to cover it in a weekend, but I was able to get around a bit and experience the city. Here are some of the highlights.


FOOD
Ginny and I really got into the tapas thing. The first couple of meals, we went to one restaurant and had several tapas.  However, Carols explained to us that the way to enjoy tapas is to go from place to place: have a nibble and a drink here, walk a bit, then go to another spot for another nibble and drink, so that by the end of the evening you are full, drunk and completely satisfied. Carlos demonstrated at El Xampanyet in the El Born neighborhood.  

Carlos and me in front of El Xampanyet.

This place has been around since 1929 and was packed to the rafters with locals, who come for a bit of vermouth and tapas. Though we wanted to mix with the locals, we skipped the vermouth, opting instead, for cava,  and since we later discovered the name of the bar means sparkling wine, that was the perfect choice.

Selection of Catalan cheeses.
Feeling confident that we now knew what to do, Carlos bid us farewell, and Ginny and I continued our tapas crawl/sightseeing tour around Barcelona. Next up was Set de Born. This tapas bar was also in El Born and packed, although several of the patrons were definitely not locals. I’ll just leave it at that.  We enjoyed a selection of Catalan cheeses paired with a glass of Rioja. 
Chocolate and churros and spongey, Madelaine-like cookies, for dipping.

Other food choices included churros and chocolate at Petritxol.  perfect treat on a brisk winter afternoon.  The delicious warm chocolate is a little too decadent for drinking, but absolutely perfect for dipping the churros. 

Jambon Iberico.
Patats Brava.


ARCHITECTURE
For this to be a trip about experiencing the city like a local, I’m certain I didn’t look like one, since I was constantly looking up and snapping pictures of Barcelona’s beautiful building, typical tourist style. But can you blame me? In the Barri Gotic neighborhood there are buildings dating from medieval times and significant sections of Roman walls from the 4th century. 

Catalan modernista is another important style of architecture in Barcelona.  Catalan modernista was developed between 1885 and 1950 and popularized by Antoni Guadi.  Guadi’s work can be seen throughout the city, and includes Park Guell*, and his masterpiece and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sagrada Familia*.
Sagrada Familia

Park Guell

ART

While walking around Barcelona, not only did I find great tapas bars and see awesome architecture, I also saw lots of wonderful art. This is a great way to get in a bit of culture if you’re like me and not always interested in visiting museums.  

The sculpture “Barcelona Face” can be found in Barcelona’s old harbor and was designed by the artist Roy Lichtenstein. The sculpture, covered in mosaic, is a nod to Guadi.  Introduced in 1992 for the Olympics Games, the sculpture showed the world the new “face” of the city. 

Another stunning piece of art is Frank Gehry’s sculpture Peix d’Or .  Gehry was commissioned to build the golden sculpture, which is located in Port Olimpic, for the 1992 games.  The giant golden sculpture is said to be a fish, though when viewed from certain angles, it looks like a conquistador’s helmet. But like all art, it depends on the viewers interpretation.  

If you want to know and see more of my experience in Barcelona, visit Foodspotting, and you’ll find the guide I made of where and what we ate, and Instagram where I posted lots of pictures from the weekend.

There’s always lots of fun stuff going on on my Facebook page, so if you haven’t already liked it, you definitely should.

Note: My participation in the #MyVuelingCity blogger exchange was sponsored by My Vueling City and ScannerFM. 
* Photos of Park Guell and Sagrada Familia are from a previous trip.