Barcelona in March--whoda thunk snow?!!

May 4th, 2010, 07:08 AM
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Low Country--I'm looking forward to meeting you too now even more, knowing that you'll be coming with fresh recommendations for San Sebastian dining.

Marija--akelare and Mugaritz are on the list. Thanks.

eks--we seem to go to more or less the same places. I often arrive at a destination with notes from your trip reports. We'll be in Madrid at the end of our June trip to Spain and I'm excited for it, but if I had to pick it would always be BCN over MAD.

zeppole--glad to have you post your perspective for others. Having had that advice from you on previous posts I was torn about whether to go on a market or non-market day. In the final analysis my passion for markets pushed me in the direction I took. Your info about the art in the Episcopal Museum is something to which I should have paid more attention. Though it would have been tight, I think we could have fit it in and I wish we had.

I'm inclined to think you hit the nail on the head about food and dining in Rome but having discovered that I'm very much not an apartment traveler, I'll be consigned to trying to find the best that I can in Roman restaurants.

Grandmere and Ricardo--another pull I have when planning trips to BCN is whether to spend all our time in the city or to split off some of the time for not just day trips but 2 or 3 or even more days on the Costa Brava. I liken it to the problem when visiting San Francisco of whether and how much time to siphon off to the Wine country. In years past we've combined BCN with stops in Figueres, and Collioure and even stayed one or two nights outside of Argeles. I love the surrounding area almost as much as I love BCN.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
May 4th, 2010, 08:02 AM
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Julie, with your headline you will probably achieve more than 100 "how-to-dress-in-Europe" threads. We had been to Barcelona in March two years ago and it was ice cold with torrential rains. Everybody was wearing winter coats - even gloves - but the American tourists insisted in walking in shorts and barefeet (just wearing flip-flops) through town. Have you made pictures of American tourists in shorts during the blizzards? I bet, there were some of those.
Echnaton is offline  
May 4th, 2010, 08:15 AM
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Marija, we'll be headed to San Sebastian this June. I hope my dining opportunities there are as good as those I've found in BCN.


Thanks for the advice on LGA airport
When will you be in San Sebastian?
My kids and I will be in an apt across playa Zurriola from June 21st.

pookymimi is offline  
May 4th, 2010, 08:28 AM
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Mia--do you have info that you'd be willing to share on the apartment in San Sebastian? Thanks.
Marija is offline  
May 4th, 2010, 08:35 AM
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Thanks for this report. I will revisit it later as we plan a very (too) short stay this summer. I especially like the fact that listed all the places to eat - guess you can tell I like travel,food, and wine as well.
mimipam is offline  
May 4th, 2010, 08:39 AM
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Echnaton, we were too busy keeping warm ourselves to pay much attention to other tourists so I don't recall seeing anyone in flip flops, etc. but I'm guessing you're right. There probably were some.

Mia, we have 5 days in Getaria between San Seb and Bilbao and plan to day trip to San Seb. As luck would have it we'll be there the 18th through the 22nd, leaving on the 23rd, so we will overlap with you. Maybe we can arrange a mini-GTG in San Seb. That would be fun. It's just the two of us, so we're at liberty to schedule something. Let's stay in touch. you can reach me at [email protected] Maybe we can find others on the site who will be there at the same time.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
May 4th, 2010, 09:02 AM
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I'll email you.
My kids and I rented a studio right across Zurriolla from June 17th to the 23rd, then we are taking the train to Barcelona, 23rd to the 30th, then ferry to Genova.
This is my first trip to Europe, excited and cautious at the same time
pookymimi is offline  
May 4th, 2010, 02:53 PM
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Julie, as you probably already know, an updated version of Fred Plotkin's Italy for the Gourmet Traveler is being published this month, and his restaurant recommendations and ideas for how to enjoy the markets and food culture of Rome and its environs are generally superb. I highly recommend it to you, especially if you don't already own the old version.

Now that you know how easy it is to get to Vic, if you end up developing a passion for Catalonian culture, it is quite worth returning to see the Episcopal museum.

Regarding San Sebastian, my very best experiences there were eating pintxos in the Parte Vieja -- hands down, bar none. I tried restaurant recommendations from Maribel's guides and maybe one or two others-- all disappointed, I mainly just don't share her interests but I didn't try the celebrity chefs. But for taste alone, the pintxos were a constant delight. I did NOT follow any guidebook recommendations for bars. I started out doing that, and quickly found that when I browsed and experimented on my own, I was getting a lot better pintxos.

I also enjoyed the pintxos because the late dinner hour in San Sebastian -- the sun sets extremely late -- was unpleasant for me. I can't sleep on a huge late meal, and the restaurant meals were huge. But I didn't even like the restaurants for lunch.

Also, the single best milk-based "gelato" I've ever eaten was a plain vanilla helados in the Basque country. Gorgeous. It was at a restaurant that otherwise can't recommend at all -- Maribel recommends it I think -- but the helados? divine. I hope to try more helados my next visit to Spain. Generally I don't eat gelato or helados -- but when it's good, it's really good.

Final tip: Do NOT eat at the cafeteria at the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. (Microwave!) If you go to the museum, DO SEE the Richard Serra installation. It's permanently there.
zeppole is offline  
May 4th, 2010, 05:30 PM
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Thanks for all the insights. Yes, I do have the old Plotkin but I did not know a revision would be coming out. And best of all, it sounds like it will be available in advance of our trip to Italy.

You're quite right, this need not be my one and only trip to Vic. I'll keep the Episcopal museum in mind. Val would thank you for your suggestion to just seek out good looking pinxto places rather than slavishly trying to find the "right" bar from the recommendations of others. Nice to know that that works in San Seb. Thanks for the tips on the Guggenheim.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
May 4th, 2010, 07:07 PM
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Have a great time! One of my fondest travel memories is eating a LOT of pintxos in San Sebastian, and then not being able to resist going into yet one more bar when I spotted chunks of deep fried fish being served up. The walls of the bar were covered in pictures of boxers -- pugilists -- and a TV set was blaring. The fried fish was tasty, but also on the bar were plates of small breads -- rather like brioches -- with deep blue "cabraeles" cheese stuffed in them. I ate one, and tucked inside was anchovy. I almost died and went to heaven!!!!!

I can't get cabrales cheese in Italy, although I'm surrounded by anchovies. I just have to go back to San Sebastian!

I'm sure you'll run across it without trying, but if you haven't been poured txacoli wine before you leave the basque country, ask for it -- or better yet, make sure you get it early on to have with pintxos and I like it with fried fish:
zeppole is offline  
May 4th, 2010, 08:02 PM
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great report...thanks..
rhkkmk is offline  
May 4th, 2010, 10:51 PM
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Posts: 1,389, a great web page for those interested in pintxos (NOT tapas)
mikelg is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 12:23 AM
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I love how you eat your way through a place! My husband would adore following your footsteps! Great report.
lincasanova is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 03:21 AM
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zeppole, we are lucky enough to periodically get Txocoli at a little wine store in Minneapolis when we return to our old home now and again.

mike thanks for the web page. Val loves the "just look around and find a place approach" I feel more comfortable with a list of places others have already found. We'll try to do a little of each this time.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 03:35 AM
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Good one, JV. And a keeper for food info.
TDudette is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 03:45 AM
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Julie, we just got back from Barcelona last night ( our forth visit in 4 years).
The weather was lovely when we arrived from ( very warm) Madrid on April the 28th: sunny, breezy, high 60s - perfect.
Late Sunday (May the 2nd) night it started to rain heavily and it did not stop for a minute by the time we were off to the airport on Tuesday morning.
Monday was our last day, so we walked some (in the rain), the temp. dropped to low 50s! Instead of visiting Hospital San Pau and some other places we had in mind, we ended up in MACBA . ( you describe it well).
Today, the temp in our city ( Canada!)is higher by several degrees than in Barcelona. Go figure.
danon is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 04:30 AM
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How about snow in the south of France in May - hard to believe but true. We were out south of the Dordogne yesterday, and it was REALLY cold, and wet. Probably much colder than Toronto, where we used to live
Carlux is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 05:59 AM
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we had 6ºC yesterday in Bilbao and San Sebastián, sthing not usual for this time of the year
mikelg is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 07:38 AM
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It's a good thing decided to drop "Global Warming" for "Climate Change"
JulieVikmanis is offline  

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