Published: September 1st 2009August 31st 2009
Welcome to Barcelona
All set for a new blog entry and feeling pleased after a shopping expedition to Le Boqueria.
I've now been in Barcelona for more than 24 hours and so far its been as enjoyable as I expected it would be. The weather has been warm (though more humid than I would have liked), the city full of energy and the food so far has not disappointed.
Renting an apartment was probably a very wise decision on reflection. My apartment is large, clean and very central and with the flexibility to sleep-in (no cleaners knocking on your door to clean your room!!) and the ability to cook your own food when you want to makes it extremely affordable as well.
The apartment is a stones throw from the Picasso Museum, Santa Maria del Mar and close to the centre of the old part of Barcelona. The street below the apartment is filled with great bars serving delicious tapas and mixing brilliant thirst quenching mojitos! ( I can vouch for those!).
Yesterday (Monday) I headed off early to le Boqueria, arguably the best fresh food market in Spain and within an hour my fridge was full of the freshest fruit and veg (and of course some juicy Spanish jamon).
I was having lunch with my mate
The Catalonian Apartment
I was tempted to call this photo the Spanish Apartment after the film but hey, we are in Catalonia not Spain (as the locals would probably say)
Enric from PwC in Australia but before then I needed to buy some sandals. If getting an apartment in Barcelona was the smartest decision I have made on the holiday, the dumbest was not bringing my sandals!
I met Enric in the front of the church of Santa Maria del Mar and it was then onto his personal tour of his Barcelona. (he's a native). It was a handy walk as he took me to a number of places I probably would not have visited if left to my own devices.
We started our walk in the cathedral square (Plaça de la Catedral) wandered into the peaceful placa Sant Felip Neri and surrounds including a visit Carrer del Paradis and its three columns from the Temple of Augustus (built in the 1st Century AD) which can be seen in their original position.
After seeing the history of this city it was then onto the less attractive barrios - Barrio Chino (the Chinese Quarter) a renowned part of Barcelona populated by prostitutes, drug dealers and thieves. At one stage I questioned Enric's sanity to walk through here however as long as its daylight you are pretty safe. But
Inside le Boqueria
A great market and worth a visit when you come to Barcelona (though its not the only good market here- will tell you more later!)
once the sun goes down in the Barrio Chino you don't want to be out on the streets!
I saw a number of drug users, prostitutes and at least two possible transvestites and although tempted I didn't think they would appreciate me taking photos of them!
We turned the corner out of the Barrio Chino (with me setting a cracking pace!) and headed off in search of lunch. A number of bars are closed for lunch on Mondays and with it being the 31st August many businesses were still closed for the summer. After failing to implement restaurants for Plans A, B and C we took a cab down to the Barceloneta and La Bombeta.
It looks like a suburban cafe where you would get bacon, eggs and chips however the look is very deceptive and part of this place's charm. In my humble opinion it is once of the best tapas bars in Barcelona selling some of the freshest seafood tapa. This place is filled with locals and the staff are honest and friendly.
The highlights today was the esqueixada de bacalao (salt cod salad) and rabas (deep fried baby squid tentacles) we also had
So much food!
Just looking at this photo makes me want to go back to the market!
some great morcilla (spanish blood sausage) and pulpo (squid). It was washed down with a ice cold house white wine. We ate so much food and it cost only 40 euros (including the wine).
After lunch it was time for a siesta, Enric went back to his place and I returned to the el Born. Tonight we were going to the football to watch Barcelona vs Sporting Gijon and I would need my sleep. These crazy Catalans kick off their football at 10pm!
So after a couple of blog free days I am up and running again. Today (Tuesday) I will probably visit a museum of two and of course indulge in some more tapas. Its funny, I have every intention of cooking in the apartment today but how can I with the lure of delicious tapas in the street below?
Its time to head off for a cafe con leche, write a few postcards and explore the city that influenced great artists such as Picasso and Miro and its architecture greatly influenced by Antoni Gaudi. OK, so this is a link-free blog, I am too lazy today to add any links however they will
be added at a later date!
If you like chillies....
This stall in le boqueria wasnt too busy but it was filled with all types of fresh and dried chilli peppers
There are more photos below