Today, I travelled away from the main tourist drag of Barcelona, Las Ramblas and that famous Gaudi house. Being a tourist among other tourists in 30+ degrees searing heat isn’t recommended. Opting instead for taking the Metro to Poble Nou. It’s still hot, of course, but there is a lot less traffic and the tourists have given way to artists and students. I only came here for the coffee, but I’m glad I made the trip.
Nomad coffee has been open a month. The roasting machine is stirring a batch of beans to cool them after the roast and the ex industrial unit is sparsely filled with a central concrete table, small steel stools and serious third wave coffee gear. The cold brew coffee was served in a fat tumbler, with ice, and easily outclasses any other drink I’ve had since being in BCN.
Nearby, the local gallery, La Platforma, was showing a series of lo-fi square photography, displayed ad-hoc on all the walls. Its a mixture of street scenes, still life and the outright bizarre. Hot desk space let artists work online in the centre of the gallery.
Valkiria Hub Space had an excellent three course menu for 12 euro. Parma ham, melon and walnut salad starter, roast chicken breast main and simple and delicious fruit salad. As good as any food I’ve eaten elsewhere this weekend (and 10x better than is all too easily purchased in the main drag and fringe of the gottic). Poblenou urban district association produces a map of the area showing at least 100 galleries, co-working spaces, cafes, bars, hotels, design studios, creative services and dance studios. It’s well worth picking up a copy to get a good idea of what is on.
There’s a great vibe from the locals, with bikes and cafe racer motorbikes ruling the roads. I’m ready for an annual Viu Bicing bike subscription and an apartment – although I suspect the family would miss me.
Creative universities are spread out in refurbished industrial buildings and empty lots are filled with street art and vans converted into artist studios. Artists display their names above their side street spaces alongside taxi lockups. With such vibrancy in the creative sector here, it makes you wonder how long it will be before land value rockets. It’s saving grace must be the grandeur of the streets 3km down the way.