- The Americas
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I pushed the pedal to the floor. The little car thought about speeding up for a long time before it decided to respond. Just as it did, the traffic lights changed and the convoy in front of me came to a stop. I hit the brake and hoped the car wouldn’t ponder for as long before responding this time.
In the rear-view mirror I noted an anxious expression on Miguel’s face.
“You alright?” I asked. “You look a bit nervous.”
“I am a bit nervous,” he laughed… nervously. I’m not sure Miguel was at all confident about my driving skills.
In the passenger seat beside me Ian Mallory of Mallory on Travel was obviously relaxed as he was singing “This is the self preservation society…”
It was perfect, we really did feel as though we were in The Italian Job except in this case we were in Spain and instead of minis, we were driving Seat 600s (seiscientos) through Barcelona’s bouncing streets.
We were having an absolute hoot on an urban adventure that was turning out to be the best and most unusual tapas trail that I’m ever likely to experience.
A tapas tour of Barcelona that involved driving old Seat 600s between venues didn’t exactly ring my bell immediately. I liked the idea in theory but taking to the streets of a city like Barcelona in an unfamiliar antique car didn’t sound like a relaxing way to enjoy tapas.
Subsequently I was relieved when I wasn’t amongst the first batch of drivers to tackle a ski slope start out of the underground garage where we were introduced to the cars and the guys responsible for this unusual urban adventure, Eduardo and Marc. But within a few minutes of watching Ian beaming like a kid on Christmas morn as we zipped our way through Barcelona, I regretted slinking to the back when they asked ‘so who wants to go first?’ The little blue and yellow car was a real charmer and clearly game for having a fun night out in the city.
First port of call was the Velodrome; a sleek, atmospheric bar that matched the image of what I expected from a Barcelona tapas bar – polished wood surfaces and gleaming steel tapas counter displaying rows of ‘I want that and that and that’ tapas. The tapas was traditional (olives, chorizo, Jamon Ibérico), the menu wasn’t (fronted by a 3D retro stripper complete with glasses to bring her a little closer). The beer was Moritz, the same company responsible for the unique urban tapas adventure.
After Velodrome it was my turn to get behind the wheel as we headed down La Ramblas in a five-strong convoy. The colourful little cars created a right buzz on the streets, provoking shouts, cheers and a barrage of camera flashes. They brought smiles to nearly all the faces we passed on Barcelona’s most famous avenue. Nearly all – the cyclist I didn’t see coming up on the inside definitely wasn’t smiling as he took evasive action to squeeze past without being squashed. In fairness, considering the size of the 600s, I reckon he would have done more damage to us had we collided.
Montjuic was the next stop which involved climbing away from the bustling city centre up wide empty streets that allowed us to really go Wacky Races and recreate a Dick Dastardly version of the F1 we’d been thrilled by earlier at the Circuit de Catalunya.
Tapas stop part two was an alfresco candlelit affair in the forest overlooking the port. Trying to quaff wine from a traditional porron in daylight is a recipe for a wine stained shirt, in darkness you might as well point the spout at your clothes and pour away. After a feast of chunky sausages and flame-grilled slabs of meat washed down with too much wine on my part, alcohol-free Miguel decided it was his turn to get us safely to our third and final venue, the über cool Moritz Factory.
The Moritz Factory is a pleasure palace that brews its own beer and is a haunt for some of Barcelona’s most serious fashionistas. It positively oozes panache, the décor is wittily imaginative and even the tapas counter displays an artistic influence. It was the ideal venue for coming down after an urban adventure that was, to steal shamelessly from someone, about as much fun as it’s possible to have without taking your clothes off.
Tapas will simply never be the same again without a Seat 600 accompaniment.
Eduardo and Marc from Pumm and Moritz are deep, deep mines brimming with wildly imaginative ways to get to know Barcelona. As well as the 600s, there are flamenco and snails, Nordic walking, urban picnics, supper in the sky (dining in a cable car) and tapas tour by canoe. If you want a Barcelona adventure that you will never forget these are the guys to arrange it. See www.pummbarcelona.cat and www.moritz.com for more information. You will not be disappointed.
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to online travel sites and travel magazines. Follow Jack on Google+