Rob Dobson, hailing from the UK, has been back and forth between Barcelona and London since 2010. See why he considers Barcelona “his kind of city”.
When we were launching our first ever Gracia Neighborhood Food Tour, we reached out to many locals in hopes that they might help us with some constructive criticism, as well as with spreading the word about our brand new company.
That’s when we met Rob, who despite being from the UK, is an absolute expert in all things Barcelona. His blog, Homage to BCN, is an excellent resource for people visiting or living in the Catalan capital.
What do you do, and how long have you lived in Barcleona?
My name is Rob Dobson, I’m a digital marketing consultant from the UK and I’ve been back and forth between London and Barcelona for about 5 years now.
Tell us about your history with Barcelona.
My history with Barcelona is a short one. I was here 20 years ago while traveling around Europe by train. But we’d come down from Amsterdam and so consequently I don’t remember too much about it. It’s great to be back here now. It’s definitely my kind of city.
What was your first impression of Barcelona?
The architecture. It’s impressive. And they have done a fantastic job of integrating old and new. The Olympics changed the city. But they haven’t stood still. Areas are always improving.
One thing you wouldn’t leave Barcelona without doing?
Walking. If you haven’t walked around most of the city you’re missing out. It’s a real walking (or biking) city. There’s something around every corner.
Favorite food in Barcelona?
Definitely pulpo (octopus). I’d never tried it before I came here. But now I can’t get enough of it. It can vary in quality. But when it’s good, it’s very, very good.
Favorite restaurant in Barcelona?
Such an impossible question. But currently it would be Taverna Hofmann, or maybe Mano Rota, I love La Pepita too. See!
What would be your ideal night out in Barcelona?
A summer’s evening, a beautiful back street plaça, a large table outside a good restaurant, with friends from around the world, talking, eating and drinking.
What about your favorite day trip from Barcelona?
A beach north of Barcelona. Maybe Ocata, Caldes d’Estrac or Sant Pol de Mar. A chiringuito that’s open to the sea. Friends, children, seafood and rosé.
What do you like most about living in Barcelona?
The weather, which leads to the outdoor lifestyle, it’s the thing that makes Barcelona come alive.
What is your favorite secret spot in Barcelona?
I have two. Both of which are no longer so secret. Nothing is secret in Barcelona for long. The first is Turó de la Rovira. The civil war anti-aircraft emplacement up near Parc del Guinardó. It has some of the best (and quietest) 360º views of Barcelona. The second would be Cala del Vermut on Carrer de les Magdalenes. This hole-in-the-wall bar (the middle one of three with the same name) serves local Spanish vermouth and some of the finest canned goods around. A really charming place.