Buenos dias desde Espana.. We rise to the warm sunshine peeping through a gap in the curtains and the hustle from the streets below. We stagger to our breakfast; the best coconut yoghurt that I have ever tasted and the clustered museli equally as yummy!! Excited that this is our brief induction to the Spaniards culinary treats.
We soak in the roof top views (didn’t hike all those stairs for nothing) over Barcelona from the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) and then take a look around the attractively historic building that we call home for the next few days. We realise how central we really are when we discover the Picasso museum is right next door.
We leave our dwelling for a bit of a wander in the sunshine and to explore our latest surroundings. We head off North towards La Rambla, which is known as the first landmark tourists associate with the city of Barcelona. We find an awesome shoe shop called Cubedo and make a mental note to return on our way back home to avoid carrying the shopping bags around with us.
We reach the 1.2 kilometre long La Rambla; a vibrant and lively promenade that cuts through the heart of the city and is filled with Barcelona action. We learn pretty quickly that there are some seedy elements to this boulevard and only use it as a thoroughfare.
La Rambla ~
We discover the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria or the La Boqueria market as us tourists know it as. It’s an under cover market that has an incredible contrast between activity and colour and dates back to the 12th century. The market has several options of fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat, seafood, sweets and much more. A decent size punnett of fresh and flavorsome raspberries will cost about 2€ ~ man we get ripped for berries back home! We load up on fresh squeezed juice, coconut chunks and fruit skewers
La Boqueria Goodness ~
Stacks of fresh fruit ~
Rows of homemade chocolate ~
Piles of prosciutto & mortadella ~
Heaps of herbs, spices and peppers ~
We park on a bench stool and have a bite to eat at one of the Boqueria tapas bars. We sit here despite going against one of the many tips Xavier had left for us, suggesting we shouldn’t eat prepared food from the market due to the elevated prices. Oh well the seafood paella looked too good to resist.
It was off to the top of La Rambla where we discovered the mainstream stores and no shortage of designer outlets. It’s a bit of a shopper’s paradise and we contribute to the economy with a decent shop at the store where Zara originated, it really would be an unforgiveable sin not to whilst we are at her homeland.
We run into a bit of trouble when we hit Passeig de Gracia, the main drag for the flagship luxury brands and Avinguda Diagonal a designer avenue that crosses through the guts of the city in a diagonal direction finally reaching the sea. I almost walk out of Louis Vuitton with a new handbag but decide to sweat out the expense and wait until we hit the headquarters in Paris.
I don’t forget about the shoe shop from this morning so we stop to get ourselves some cool winter leopard print booties #His&Hers and I get a rad pair of Sanita cow hide clogs too.
It’s a bit of a problem for a couple of shopaholics when the trading hours in Barcelona stretch out to 10pm. We finally get the gist that we should Just. Stop. Shopping. when our hands start to go numb.
Ok.. think about that feeling you get when you have a really tight rubber band around your wrist. Well keep that feeling for another five hours but pull the band a bit tighter. It should be way too tight now and the blood flow should have almost stopped to your hands. Are they numb yet? Well now you know exactly how our hands are feeling.
The evening is drawing upon us and we decide to head towards Barcelonetta beach and take a break by the sea. I find a nice space to meditate by the Mediterranean and lose myself in the peace and tranquility of my surroundings for the next twenty minutes; it’s magic mindfulness right now.
Mediterranean Mindfulness ~
I’ve got into the brilliant habit of meditating each day but not always in such perfect surroundings. The beach is quite lovely and the sand is soo clean, there is something so calming about the Mediterranean Sea. I first fell in love with it in Cyprus in 2010.
We head back towards the old town to find a tapas bar, the tips have been to get lost in the hidden laneways and find a tapas bar that is filled with everyone that can’t speak English, then you know you have found the best place where only the locals hang. So we did exactly that and managed to find a cool bar called El Xampanyet with the best pintxos.
El Xampanyet Pintxos bar ~
The owner treats us to his house special anchovies, believe it or not, this is the only food Anton and I don’t eat but hey we are in Barcelona and have just been given the house special so how could we not eat this. We now eat absolutely every single food you can think of (that’s not processed or from a can) #EatingMachines #WBE. We get stuck into the spumante, which is a traditional drink enjoyed with Spanish pintxos. This was our first true Spanish pintxos experience and the discovery of our new local.
We folded on the Anchovies ~
We are well charged for a flamenco show which we came across by default and it’s just next door to our new local. Let’s be honest it wouldn’t be a trip to Spain without seeing a live flamingo show. We discover the most important baroque palace in Barcelona, it’s a deceiving old building, just a miserable looking door at the entrance but we enter into an intimate and majestic building that hosts Palau Dalmases. While sipping mojitos and sangria we watch a riveting few hours of Spanish dancing and singing.
Palau Dalmases performers ~
Then it’s back to our local for more food and mingling fun before we find our way through the laneways back to our apartment. Sort of thankful that we have to climb a million flights of stairs to get to our apartment so we can burn off the pintxos, also in a world of predicament as we’ve almost worked up another appetite but we wisely avoid the kitchen and head for bed ~ Night X