Farewell to Barcelona


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Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » La Rambla
March 20th 2015
Published: March 20th 2015
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We spent our final day in Barcelona wandering the streets of the Gothic Quarter and beyond. Finding the Nike store, we both picked up new shirts (woohoo something different to wear). As I stood in the line, four very rude young men butt right in front of me in line. I stood there, simmering. As the guy at the counter called for the next person, one of the young men from the group went right up to him. I tapped him on the arm and said, "I'm next!". The nice cashier asked me if everything was alright. I replied that it was. 'Curtis then came over and I was telling him what happened. Again the nice man at the checkout asked, "Are you in a rush?". I replied that everything was great except that I did not like when people forced their way in front of others. He looked to the 4 young men to my right and said, "I completely understand. I like that you told them you were next." We then moved on to our transaction. As he inserted my VISA and it came up as to whether I wished to pay in euros or CAD, I chose Canadian funds. He said, "You are from Canada?" We replied that we were. "People from Canada are so nice. I have worked here for 4 years and have never met a rude one. Not like the young people we have here who lack etiquette. Whatever you do over there it is the right thing and we need to learn from you." What a sweet young man! We thanked him for his compliments and headed out.

We then went to visit the High Parish Church of Santa Anna. This small, but beautiful church is in the very heart of Barcelona. It was founded in 1141 by a group of Canons from the Holy Sepulchre. Today this beautiful monument remains hidden amongst the buildings which surround it. It has a beautiful cloister, chapter house and cobble-stone square. We enjoyed the peace while we walked around the chapels that formed the periphery of this church.

We left here and stumbled upon a quaint little restaurant, Merce Vins. It was down a tiny Gothic street that looked very interesting. We stopped to look at the menu and they boasted two things: a good Trip Advisor review AND the best gazpacho in Barcelona. Since Jose told us we had to try this delectable cold soup we decided to go in. This adorable little hole in the wall restaurant turned out to be 2 floors of vibrantly coloured tables. Curtis had to be careful not to hit is head! We sat at a table on the 2nd floor where we enjoyed wine and truly the most delicious gazpacho! Not knowing what to expect, but aware of the ingredients, it was a culinary explosion to our senses. We enjoyed fresh bread with our soup and were so glad we stopped there!

We continued on our way to the Santa Maria Del Mar Basilica. This basilica was likely started around the end of the 7th century but the cornerstone of the present temple was laid in March of 1329. The altar was made up of a semi-circle of 10 towering columns. It is hard to believe, when you read the history of the church, that in 1936 this beautiful place of worship burned for 11 days straight, destroying the baroque altar and all of the images and historical archives. Restoration over the years has focussed on its elegant and Gothic style. The stained glass windows, which remained undamaged were exquisite.

We soon left this basilica and made our way back to the Can Paixano, the same bar we visited yesterday however as we rounded the corner we were met with a huge line awaiting entry! We decided to wait and after about 15 minutes made our way into this authentic Catalunian bar. We battled the crowd and found a spot to stand. It is quite difficult to describe this place but I will do my best. Imagine 12 feet of space approximately 30 feet in length. Half of the width is dedicated to the food and drink preparation area which includes a counter, cooking area and narrow space for the workers. The other half has a counter on part of the wall for patrons and then narrows to about 10 feet. There is a store at the back where you can buy meats, cheeses and olives. Behind the counter, in the narrow space are 8 men cooking, washing dishes, taking orders, preparing and serving. You don't pay until you are leaving and somehow they are able to produce your bill, completely correct in a room that is absolutely wall to wall people. The best part was being recognized by our server from the day before! We enjoyed an entire bottle of champagne, a plate of olives and pickles, grilled sausages and thinly sliced proscuitto all for 14 euros!!! This lively place is the epitome of Catalan culture accordiing to Jose but is quickly becoming popular with tourists as well, hence the security outside and allowance of only so many in at a time.

After organizing our bags for tomorrow morning, we relaxed and cleaned up the apartment. Around 9:00 we went to a small restaurant at the end of our street called O'Toxo Tres Hermanos that we had passed many times going to and from our apartment. We enjoyed delicious paella on our last night in Spain. This place was very busy. I think we had an alien encounter there! As we sat at our table a man and woman came in and sat just over from us. He sat down and she bent down and began speaking into his ear with this high pitched, yelping, chanting, alien-like voice. Ultra weird and kind of eerie. A look of bewilderment passed between us. She went off to the W.C. and then came back and sat down where we heard her talk in a normal voice. About 1/2 a minute later they both stood up, she stole the cutlery from the table and they left! Maybe they needed the utensils to fix their mothership!! A very strange situation indeed, considering they looked like normal, everyday people.

Tomorrow we leave for Avignon for 3 days! Looking forward to a new country and all it has to offer.

Barcelona. We love it! There is so much to see and do. This history is extensive, interesting, and colourful. The tapas and paella incredible. The markets are exciting and busy. Tapas bars are lively and crowded. Someday we will return. Let us know if you are interested. I know this really hot looking Spaniard who can show you the sights 😊

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24th March 2015

reading your blog
We are heading to Barcelona at the end of the month. I would love to know the travel company you used for the wine tasting. Jose would be a nice view as well! Enjoyed your blog and took notes for things that we need to see and do. Especially looking for good Paella. Enjoy your travels!!! Ruth/Seattle Washington
25th March 2015

Beautiful Barcelona
Hi Ruth, You will love Barcelona! Thanks for following our blog. It is such a great way to let people know of the wonderful places we have been able to visit as well as a means for us to keep a journal. On La Rambla there is a booth set up that is dedicated to offering different tours as well as selling FC Barcelona soccer tickets. We made our arrangements there, paid, got our tickets and were told where to meet the tour guides (out front of the Hard Rock Cafe at the Plaza Catalunya). We are not huge fans of doing organized tours but we really wanted to get to Montserrat and it seemed to be difficult to arrange by trains so we opted for this tour (and since we love wine as well!). Anyway, there is a brochure at the booth that is called Castlexperience Wine Tours and Activities. You can google it and see all the different ones they offer and the cost. We decided on the 1/2 day Montserrat, wine and tapas tour. We thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm sure any of the ones they offer are great. The tour guides were very knowledgeable, speaking impeccable English. We were fortunate to be in a small group, perhaps because of the time of year and you may be lucky as well. The wine part takes place away from Montserrat at a castle winery. In our opinion it was worth the money. Hopefully if you decide to go you will enjoy it as well. They offer another one that includes a Catalan meal at a restaurant. Might be worth a try. My best advice to you is that, depending on where you are staying and you are physically able, walk around the city as much as possible. This is how you get the true feel for Barcelona. The couple on the wine tour with us had been there as long as we had and took the Metro to places they wanted to see. Metro is great but you miss so many things in between. We love walking along the streets, map in hand. The beachfront and Port Vell is worth a visit. You have to try the Gazpacho too. It is delicious, along with the paella. The restaurants on La Rambla offer good prices for meals but heading down the sidestreets is where you really find some wonderful spots to eat. Enjoy Barcelona!!

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