Monday, July 20, 2009

13 Barcelona, Spain

Tapas. Sangria. Siesta. Barcelona quickly put us at ease with its laid-back pace of life.

The city's beautiful parks didn't hurt either. We found between outdoor cafes and the many greenspaces that one could spend days in Barcelona without entering a building save to sleep at night. On our first day we treked up to Guell Park and were absolutely wowed by the Gaudi structures scattered all over this huge green area, giving everything a very surreal, very unique style. Tourists snapped pictures right next to locals enjoying the afternoon. We found a similar scene at Parc de la Ciutadella, minus the Gaudi architecture. This is another great sprawling park with a huge fountain as its centerpiece. We even caught a free classical music concert there one night.

The most expansive park area we found was the Sants-Montjuic district. This area houses the National Palace, Botanical Gardens (a great spot for our lunch picnic!), and El Poble Espanyola--a "traditional" Spanish village that we decided had too high an entrance fee to visit. We found out later that this is actually a fake village built in the 1920s! We were saving our Euros for the nearby Olympic Stadium and the Montjuic fort, but were surprised and delighted that both were free! The historic fort had amazing panoramic views of the city and we had a lot of fun sitting up top watching boats come in from sea and planes descend to the nearby airport. We decided to hike up and down from the city level, but it's also possible to take a cable car to and from the waterfront which looked like a more relaxing option. Overall the whole Sants-Montjuic area was relatively uncrowded and serene compared to sites back at sea level.
On our first night in Barcelona, we found a busy cervezeria (beer-eria? yes please!) to sit outside and enjoy some tapas and drink. Katrina had been dying for real sangria since arriving in town, so that was the first thing we found on the menu. Given our budget, we were saddened to see it listed for 9 Euros. We weren't surprised since a glass of wine could set you back that much in Paris. But then we realized it was 9 Euros for a pitcher! And the tapas was proportionally priced. Dining out in Barcelona was wonderfully affordable and we had a great time eating around the clock.

We were surprised on our visit to the Barcelona waterfront to find such beautiful beaches walking distance from downtown. (We're from Boston...think dirty Revere beach.) We hadn't brought our swim gear when we stumbled upon it, so instead we found some empty chairs and basked in the Mediterranean sun. There were also tons of restaurants and cafes lining the beach--great views, but overpriced menus to match. Not far, though, we happened across a fantastic tapas spot in Barceloneta at 56 Carrer del Baluard, in the southwest corner of Placa Poeta Bosca. Tables were shared, Catalan chatter was loud, and we guessed at what to order from a blackboard menu on the wall. We found out later that the "morcillos" we ate is a Spanish spin on blood pudding.

We found two huge markets while in Barcelona, the bustling Mercat de la Boqueria near the cruise port (crowded with more tourists than locals) and the smaller Mercat de Santa Caterina. Both housed butchers, cheese mongers, and stand after stand of deliciously fresh produce. We stocked up on serrano ham and manchego for a nice picnic dinner. Both markets are located adjacent to the older parts of the city, composed of charming narrow alleys which are a maze to navigate. No matter how many times we found ourselves in this quarter of the city there was literally always something new around every corner.

We were lucky enough in our honeymoon preparations to win a free stay at the five-star Claris Hotel from a lastminutetravel.com promotion. We enjoyed four nights of luxury, complete with spacious accomodations, plush robes, sparkling bathroom (including bidet!) and a beautiful rooftop pool with great views of the city. It was a real pleasure returning to our room at night, save for the reception staff. We're not sure if they flagged us as non-paying guests, or if our first appearance in travelling clothes and backpacks grabbing at the free candy gave us away, but they treated us brusquely. Definitely not what one would expect of five-star service.

Looking around the bus on the ride to the airport at the end of our visit it was plain to see from the sun-kissed (even the Brits!), smiling faces that everyone spent their time as we did in Barcelona...outside. Its as if Barcelona was granted by the gods eternal good weather because for four days we experienced almost unabated sun. We know realize that siesta is out of necessity rather than novelity as it would be impossible to make it through a day under the pounding rays from above without a little snooze.More pictures from Barcelona can be found here.

13 comments:

  1. Looks like a great trip!!!
    the wedding was fabulous (can I mention I LOVE whoopie pies?) - thanks for having us there.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi!
    I just wanted to say that I loved your blog, it has tons of tips for my trip to Barcelona, thanks!
    good luck on your world honeymoon, that sounds so awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  3. A blog full of memorable moments. I loved reading it. The snaps taken are really nice. I would say rather than taking hotels you can stay in Apartments Barcelona because they are cheap and you get various amenities like fridge, TV, Kitchen and sometimes food facilities also at very reasonable rates.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey there! I understand this is somewhat off-topic but I had to ask.
    Does running a well-established blog such as yours require a massive amount work?
    I am completely new to blogging but I do write in my diary
    every day. I'd like to start a blog so I can share my experience and thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for new aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!

    Stop by my site: low carb rezepte frühstück

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very nice article. I absolutely appreciate this website. Continue the good work!


    Also visit my homepage; was soll ich heute kochen

    ReplyDelete
  6. Well, that аidѕ in fat and shed more
    weight. Tωo-in-onе diet drug Merіԁia aftеr a sessіon οn hеr right sidе.

    Drinκіng water helpѕ in thе 24 ѕurgery
    pаtіеntѕ experienсeԁ increaѕeԁ heart attack
    or strokе. Nο pіzza, gluten, yeaѕt іnfеctiоns.

    A ωalk in the food you eat this evening. Ι can undeгѕtanԁ the effects to yοur raѕρbеrгy kеtοnes goals.
    Again, that's great, apart from raspberry ketones problems? The diet works out on three consecutive days.

    Feel free to visit my web page - lose weight in a week

    ReplyDelete
  7. Greate pieces. Keep writing such kind of information on your
    page. Im really impressed by your site.
    Hi there, You have done an excellent job. I will certainly digg it and in my opinion recommend to my friends.
    I'm confident they'll be benefited from this site.

    Here is my web-site - Wie kann man sich die leckere und ausgesprochen einfache Diät bei Zöliakie vorstellen

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello to every body, it's my first visit of this web site; this weblog consists of remarkable and actually excellent information for readers.

    Feel free to visit my website; steinzeitdiät rezepte

    ReplyDelete
  9. Does your website have a contact page? I'm having trouble locating it but, I'd like to send
    you an e-mail. I've got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great website and I look forward to seeing it expand over time.

    Review my web-site - paleo kühlschrank

    ReplyDelete
  10. You should be a part of a contest for one of the highest quality websites on the internet.
    I am going to highly recommend this blog!

    Here is my weblog ... Steinzeitdiät Erfahrungen

    ReplyDelete
  11. Good day! This is my first comment here so I just wanted
    to give a quick shout out and tell you I really
    enjoy reading through your blog posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums
    that go over the same topics? Thank you so much!


    Feel free to visit my homepage; steuerberater praktikum
    my web site - online steuerberatung

    ReplyDelete
  12. First off I want to say excellent blog! I had a quick question in which I'd like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I have had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out. I do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Appreciate it!

    Feel free to visit my web blog - lenkmatte fliegen anleitung

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hmm it seems like youir site ate my first comment (it was extremely
    long) so I guess I'll justt sum it up what I wrote and say,
    I'm thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I'm still new to the whole thing.
    Do you have any recommendations for beginner blog writers?
    I'd genuinely appreciate it.

    My blog post ... click the next website

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails