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Published: August 30th 2009
En la Botiguera
Delicious goods from the sea!
THe next morning we were up bright and early for our train to Barcelona, the final stop on our trip together. Inés and Javi drove us to the station at Xàtiva some 40 minutes away, since apparently the trains to Barcelona only came through there, and not Alcoi. The train ride itself was painless, though I was irritated to find out that despite our Preferente ticket status, we were not sitting in the lap of luxury nor were we getting food. Apparently that was only on EuroMed trains, and this one was Tarco. Whatever.
Arriving in Barcelona it was surprisingly cool, but thanks to lots of stairs in the metro and 300 lbs of baggage, I was dripping wet. A Metro attendant was kind enough to comp our tickets since for some reason the machines didn't accept our credit cards. Luckily it was just the machine and not Bank of America. After some slight difficulty, we finally arrived at Hostal San Carlo, a small, dark 3rd floor series of bedrooms with an older Spanish lady as its attendant. She at first wanted to make sure we understood that our room came with a ¨cama de matrimonion¨. Hah. She also complemented
my Spanish ;-).
After getting cash to pay her for the hostel, we headed out into the city. We were starving thanks to no lunch on the train, so we decided it would be fun to head to the Botiguera, Barcelona's main outdoor market, also the biggest outdoor market in Spain. Funny because I thought that was the case for Valencia's. Whatever. The marketplace was awesome - I wish I had a kitchen because all the fresh seafood and meats and cheeses were mouthwatering. We ended up buying a bocata de chorizo (chorizo on a baguette), a coca de miel (a crunch sweet flatbread with honey and pine nuts), some kind of a roasted red pepper thing, and two apples. We continue eating little to no fiber, and almost all fat and carbs. Excellent. We also stopped at the store to buy a box of wine and some fanta limón to make tinto de verano.
We failed at finding a big enough park I felt comfortable enough drinking in, so we ended up just having lunch on a bench somewhere. Anyway, next stop was the strip of Gaudí constructions on the Passeig de Gràcia. We obviously didn't want
fruits and veggies
to pay to go into all of them, but La Pedrera, made to mimic the ocean waves and seaweed, seemed intriguing enough with it's ¨whimsical rooftop¨. At 6 euro it was pretty cheap as well. The inside was honestly underwhelming, but it was cool to see the apartment setup and whatnot. What was awesome was the rooftop, which looked almost as if it had little soldiers rising from the ground. From there we got a beautiful view of the city, with La Sagrada Familia and Monjuic among the sights we could see.
Next stop was the Sagrada Familia, Gaudì's most famous, and incomplete, construction. Only 8 of the proposed 18 towers have been completed, and it has been worked on for over 130 years. Spain is hoping to finish it by 2026. We'll see about that. There isn't really any interior, so we were fine just sitting in the park nearby enjoying our wine and the view. By this time were EXHAUSTED and headed back to the hostel for a nap.
The nap didn't really do much since our bed sucked and it was hot, but whatever. Next stop was dinner. We settled for a little restaurant close
to the hostel, Casa Alfonso. We enjoyed a number of tapas (obviously) - calamares a la romana (fried calamaris), huevos de bonito (hard boiled eggs with more or less tuna salad with roasted red peppers and mayo on top), croquestas de rape con gambas (croquettes with hake and shrimp), and patatas de cabrales (fried potatoes smothered in a Spanishblue cheese). We finished off with some coffee as well as a small coca de vidre. Delicious. Stuffed and run down, we decided to call it a night despite being in a city that never sleeps...
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