Last week, I went to Barcelona. It rocked.
#1 First Day
We (Tom and I) were staying in a little hotel called Pension 45 just off the Ramblas- which looks like a gypsy fair moved into Covent Garden, and then the whole place relocated to Camden Town! (Actually my street thought it *was* Camden. Every other shop had the UK tube logo above the doorway!!)
We discovered tapas bars, Amorino ice-cream (food of the Gods) and “The Triangle” (a beautiful square triangle with two fountains, a mini-waterfall, some naked statues and a little community of chess-players! People just brought their boards and challenged complete strangers! Next time I go, I want to know the Spanish for “can I play?”)
#2 Exploring Day
We went to have a look around the Ramblas and found the food market. Most of the fruit and veg stalls sell amazing home-made smoothies like kiwi/mango and coconut/raspberry! Norwich market is supposed to be good but this was something else. There was an entire stall dedicated to dried mushrooms!!!
One little problem with the meat stalls: rabbits. Whole skinned rabbits with their eyes in and everything. And sheep heads. Eyes included. (Actually I’d probably be more freaked-out if the eyes were taken out.) I occasionally eat meat and I know where it comes from but I don’t like the food actually looking at me. *shudder*
Anyway, here’s the veg stall. Made me wish I was staying somewhere self-catering so I could try it all out! 🙂
Moving on… the Ramblas is full of tiny narrow streets covered in really good graffiti and the buildings are around four storeys, with little balconies. Everyone seems to grow cacti there! This is going to make me sound very strange, but something I love about Spain is seeing all the colourful towels and washing hanging over the balconies. I think it’s really pretty! (Yeah, that’s weird isn’t it?!)
We ate at a fantastic place, which I’ll tell you about later (yes Stoke Travel- I’m talking about YOU.) ;o)
This became our landmark- here, have a dragon:
It took a while to get used to the Spanish (sorry, Catalan) timetable! In the UK, shops close at around 5pm. In Barcelona, they closed at 9pm and most people don’t start going out for dinner until then!! So after having a snooze at the hotel and then looking for food, we found the main street full of performers. There were break dancers, people dressed up and a male flamenco dancer who seemed all the more incredible for not being in costume and dancing on a wooden board. (I’d never seen flamenco dancing before).
Guess how these pictures were made and how long they took…… (sorry the camera didn’t like taking photos at night)
Spray paint, in about fifteen minutes. I kid you not- I watched the third one made from scratch.
The artist had a few circular stencils, a sponge and a piece of plastic to smear the paint with and never seemed to make a mistake. (Green with envy here). If I hadn’t crammed my flight bag to bursting, I’d have bought *at least* two.
I discovered Crème Catalan- the Catalan version of crème brulee, and a kind of sweet sold on the market stalls that I’m going to have to try and make myself. (Tortillas with burned sugar on top and sprinkled with almonds and cinnamon.) Yummy!
And that was my first full day in Barcelona.
Part Two coming soon, bringing you naked ladies and the weirdest cathedral you will ever see.
I came home to several nice surprises including several new tearsheets which I’ll be posting here with the Barcelona stories.
Anyway, it’s good to be back. Nudity and cathedrals are on their way.