Saturday, April 25, 2015

Oh, Barcelona!

Our friends in Palamos arranged to rent an apartment in Barcelona with a very good friend of them, close to everything within walking distances or short taxi rides.

Dome ceiling

Beautifully design bedrooms 

Dining room table
Before we could even get ready to go for our first walk our friend's car got towed. This is serious in Barcelona. Parking is really hard and fines are high. Our friend's car has a French license tag, since Spain can't enforce the payment from foreigners, they towed it and they had to go to the storage place to get it and pay over a 100 euros. The towing trucks drives around the city like vultures seeking for tourist cars.

While one of our friends went to deal with a the car business we took a short walk to the Palace of Catalan Music.

Right across the Palace there was a very cute and interesting bar and coffee shop. We stepped in for a espresso. The places we discovered just walking are mesmerizing.

Then we discussed why the streets of the Gothic quarter of Barcelona were built so narrow, try to guess why.

We pay our visit to Saint Maria del Mar Church, the oldest church in town.

Bask pub Euskal Etxea

Every where in Barcelona there is a tapas bar, a coffee shop, a bakery or restaurant that looks like a great place to step in and try the food.

We stuffed our faces in this fancy pastry shop called Bubó. Then we walked to the port.

The water front of Barcelona is vibrant and beautiful, lots of tourist walking around, going on sunset cruise, dinning in the restaurants and many boats from all over the world stop there for a rest before to continue the journey and also to delight the view.

We walked The Ramblas for a few blocks maybe 2, and stopped at this bar across from the Museum of Wax Sculptures. The place is decorated as a forest and sometimes lighting strikes and the mystic characters come out of the walls.

Paella Marinera

Saute Veggies

Gong tongs

Potatoes and fries

Small pig leg
Best olive oil ever

All this delicious food was served at the Market of Santa Caterina, a place that we highly recommend it; specially since we walked across the city the second time we ate there; just to find it. One more thing: in Barcelona is normal to have dinner at 11:00 pm. The walk back home takes care of that.

Next day we had a full day of sightseeing. First we went to La Rambla where the Market La Boqueria is. Barcelona never rests, the city was as busy during the day as it was the night before. The market is vibrant and a great social event. It is fun to see the people buying, selling, eating and speaking the Catalan language full lung.

Entrance to La Boqueria

Beautiful exposition of fruits

Anchovies in olive oil and other sea products

Fresh fish everyday

Delicious whole fried squid
Eggs and more eggs
Mullet roe, from North Carolina to Europe
We spent the visit to the market tasting different foods, since we couldn't really buy much, unfortunately.

We walked for a long way admiring the beautiful architecture of the city, there is plenty of that there, but when we saw a nice building, we thought: "I wonder what's over there". When we saw the first Gaudi Buildings we thought there was something in the air making us hallucinate. Before I realized I was on front of a construction, that a long time ago I saw in a picture and I always dreamed to see in person.

Casa Baltó
We stopped for lunch and then continue to the cathedral of La Sagrada Familia, another majestic construction that Gaudi couldn't finished because he died. 

La Sagrada Familia
Entrance of Park Guell
We missed the tour in Park Guell, the last guided tour ticket was sold on front of us. Still we took some pictures. Then we got in a taxi to the parking where the car was and took a tour to Barceloneta. Then we went back home tired and with our senses over stimulated. Barcelona was enchanting and magic, busy, interesting, overwhelming, polluted by the diesel cars, Jim was developing asthma.  But we loved it and regretted not having enough time to do more, like visit the interior of La Sagrada Familia, Picasso Museum, enjoy some shows in the Palace of the Catalan Music. But we plan to go back, knowing what to expect and what we want to do.


pd: take a pick of the links that I carefully selected for you, they cover more information than I can add to my post.