We awoke to glorious and much needed sunshine. Ready to stretch our legs, we wandered out to explore more of the stunning Spanish streets. There must of been some sort of festival going on, because several streets were decorated with papier-mâché structures, streaming ribbons and had loud music playing. Having skipped breakfast, we settled on a Spanish style brunch.
A buttery, soft croissant with ham and cheese was a delicious start. Followed by Spanish peppers stuffed with goat’s cheese.
I was told by our lovely server that I had to try the typical Catalan dish of Fideuà, which is made of fine noodles with tomato and seafood.We managed to finish off with even more carbs. Pan con tomate is typically served before or with each meal as Spain’s answer to bruschetta. It consists of soft, toasted bread with a bit of olive oil, garlic, salt and smushed up insides of ripe tomatoes. We also tried a Spanish tortilla, stuffed with potatoes and peppers, but this was unfortunately a little overcooked, resulting in quite an aggressively thick brick of starch.As usual, the tapas left me full and happy, and we spent awhile people watching, soaking up the blazing sunshine before our long day of adventures ahead. We headed to our apartment to change and take note from our darling renters. Eduardo & Imma are the loveliest couple and they rent out their lofts and apartments to visitors from all over the world. The places are cosy and really nicely decorated with anything you could possibly need, including a kitchen and washing machine. They sat down with us drawing countless maps, told us where to go, what to see and gave excellent advice. One of the best being, when dining out, ask for the menu of the day, el menú del día. For around €10 you can have tomato bread, a starter, such as a soup or salad, a main course of whatever the special is, a dessert and a drink. If you’re visiting Barcelona, I couldn’t recommend staying with them enough. They’ll even drop you to and from the airport. If you want to find out more, look them and their lovely flats up here.
With instructions to purchase a T10 travel card, we took the metro to Las Ramblas. We walked down Rambla de Catalunya, a long street filled with designer shops and local restaurants until we came to Plaça de Catalunya. How adorable is this store? Again, I wasn’t allowed photos, but snuck some for you anyways. You take a medicine bottle and fill it with candy, because everyone knows those are happy pills! After Plaça de Catalunya, we came to La Rambla, one of Barcelona’s most famous tourist attractions. It’s essentially a long, outdoor shopping parade lined with trees. This was absolutely packed with people and only seemed to get more and more crowded. There were tourists ambling along, shopping for trinkets and dining in tourist traps. The street itself is beautiful, but the sheer volume of people with the addition of the heat and vendors selling these plastic mouth pieces that make strange, piercing screech sounds all became a bit much. I could not have been more happy to then come across La Boqueria. We darted through the crowds and under the beautifully shining stain glass sign guarding the entrance to Barcelona’s best food market. Imagine Borough Market, London’s best food market, flooded with Spanish delights and delicacies. I was in absolute heaven. Hotter than this pretty piggy, we got fresh fruit smoothies to cool off whilst checking out the offerings. I went for a kiwi banana mixture, which looked a little more radioactive than expected. This helped prevent my salivating over all the amazing ingredients on offer.
Within the rows of market stalls are several little pop up tapas bars. Sadly, these were completely crammed with tourists and locals alike, with a wall of hungry diners waiting to squeeze in to be next.
We continued instead to peruse the endless amounts of food. How cute are these marzipan creations?
For some reason I’m particularly fond of the cauliflower. Which are your favourites? There were massive, ripe tomatoes. Rows of dried chillies.
Dates the size of my thumb.
And this. Now if you didn’t know it was tripe, you’d have to admit it looks pretty cool.
Oh, and the seafood selection was unbelievable.
Beautiful boiled octopus. Glistening piles of salt cod. Amazingly fresh fish of all shapes and sizes. Wriggling lobsters and bunches of oysters. And how cool do these look? I initially thought they were eel, but I think they’re silver scabbards. Those that aren’t a fan of their dinner looking back at them, scroll very quickly over the next few pictures. Those that don’t mind getting a little friendly with a fish, how cool looking are these? Then I found them.
Churros de miel. Little bite sized pieces of fried dough filled with a beautiful center of sweet honey. Texturally amazing and flavourfully orgasmic. I gobbled these up and days later went back for more, consuming an entire bag to myself. We eventually gave up the endless viewing of food porn and left the market. Farther down La Rambla lies Plaça Reial, a hidden little oasis of palm trees, bars and hotels surrounding a fountain.
We lazily lounged in the shade, watching the goings ons of the plaça including an incredible performance of acrobatic street performers. Deciding his cerveza looked a little lonely, my date decided an Ibérico wrapped veal burger topped with foie gras was in order.
Can you blame him?
When I returned from a little venture around the restaurant, I took what is decidedly my favourite image from the entire trip. I just love the way the shadows of the lights are lined up on the pillars. There’s something sort of hauntingly beautiful about it, don’t ya think?
Are you still with me? We’ve got a bit more to explore. Grab a snack and we’ll keep going. We returned to our explorations in the golden sunlight of the afternoon.
And I soon discovered a lion. Immediately wanting to mount it for a picture, I scurried up to the beast. Much bigger up close and surprisingly slippy, I tried to navigate my mount whilst in a little black dress. With the swarming crowds and lengthy drop to the concrete floor, I retired my efforts and instead posed next to Leonardo. My date, who initially dismissed my photo idea, had a sudden change of heart. He hoisted himself onto one of the fully standing lions, and to my bitter envy, now has an awesome photo of him atop a massive lion. We reached La Barceloneta, a section of intertwining neighbourhoods with lovely alleyways, trendy bars and cool shops. This one in particular had origami bugs lining all the glass windows and cool toys, furniture and products inside. Another shop was selling 3D printed versions of yourself! You go in, and the unsure looking fella in the background makes a mini me, of you! Very odd, but such a cool idea. I spotted this elderly man reading a book in the warm shade of his balcony, ignoring the difficulties of life. And later came across this very mellow little square with friends chatting quietly over drinks, men perched on walls and clouds of certain illegal substances hovering in the air. The man in blue was strumming the guitar and loudly singing a beautiful Spanish serenade. We were only there momentarily as we passed through the square, but it was a beautiful bubble of utter peace and calm. We explored more weird shops with more weird things. Passed through a cathedral.
And spotted this dog, begging in a brightly coloured alleyway. The evening ended the way all Spanish evenings should. With paella. Pronounced: pah-eh-yah. We sat by the beach in a buzzing restaurant, with waiters dancing around each other, balancing heavy, steel pans of cooking rice overhead. The cool, salty air mixed perfectly with each bite of fresh seafood and saffron rice. The perfect end to a thoroughly exhausting, but amazing day filled with delicious food and beautiful sights.