El Prat de Llobregat Barcelona
If it hadn’t been for our worries about wasting precious hours of our short weekend break struggling with public transport we might never have explored El Prat, the little city surrounding Barcelona Airport. As it we we plumped to stay close to the airport on our first trip to Barcelona and discovered a little gem. I probably wouldn’t stay in El Prat again as I’d rather be in the centre of Barcelona to experience the nightlife (as we were on our next visit) but, if you find yourself with time to kill before a flight, or if you need to stay close to the airport for an early morning departure it has a lot to offer.
We arrived in the afternoon and, Once we had checked in and unpacked, we went straight back out to explore, find somewhere to eat and grab as much sun as we could. El Prat de Llobregat, commonly called just El Prat, is a little city on the right bank of the Llobregat river taken up mostly by Barcelona Airport. Apart from a beach and small nature reserve famed for its blue-legged chickens (none of which we saw), it has a pleasant shopping area with a wealth of cafes, bars and restaurants plus a train station connecting to the metro and the centre of Barcelona. With so many eating-places to pick from including Chinese, Italian, and the usual hamburger joints, we were spoilt for choice but determined to try something typically Spanish. We strolled along the wide streets until we came to a little precinct that was bustling with life and, as the sun began to go down we settled at a table outside the Cerveceria Cataluña.
The menu was in Spanish and Catalan with no English translation, which is only to be expected in such a small city. Although the waiter, Hassan, spoke no English, he came originally from the Western Sahara and his French was excellent. He recommended Lomo jamõn pais which turned out to be a huge slice of bread toasted and spread with tomato and olive oil, topped with ham, cheese and baked green peppers. It was delicious and very filling. We washed it down with a glass of the local beer and settled back to soak up the atmosphere. Even well after eleven the place was buzzing with youths, families and young children wandering past, playing football in the street and generally relaxing on a Saturday night.
After a few wrong turns we managed to find the way back to our hotel where we finished the evening with a nightcap at the bar. Reubin, the barman spoke perfect English (although he swore he knew just a few words) and was very friendly and helpful. He persuaded us to try Cigaló (carajillo in Spanish), which he told us was coffee with a dash of brandy or whiskey (we chose brandy). The dash turned out to be a huge splash, more than a normal English measure, in a tiny cup of espresso. It was delicious and a great way to round off a nice evening.