Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hola Barcelona!

August 30 – August 3

After a beautiful sunny couple of days in Marseille, we arrived to drenching down pours in Barcelona. After standing in a taxi queue for about 20 minutes and a 15-minute drive, we were able to check-in to Hotel Astoria; a beautiful hotel just around the corner from Passeig de Gracia.

We begun exploring Barcelona in the morning, starting with Antoni Gaudi’s famous architecture, with me leading J down Passeig de Gracia to the first stop: La Pedrera. Which I found to be the best site my first time to Barcelona, for learning about how Gaudi designed his buildings and to get a picture about what Barcelona was like during the early 1900s.

The view of Barcelona from the top of La Pedrera is still picturesque.

Then we walked down further to have a look at the outside of Casa Batllo, before taking the metro to Park Guell. Walking up the huge set of stairs, you start feeling the heat, so getting closer to the top and being able to catch an escalator is a relief.

A busy place full of tourists and gypsies selling their wares, its great for people watching, especially sitting down and having sangria and watching all the people sitting on Gaudi’s mosaic bench seats and getting photographed.

After what I think was two sangrias, J and I headed to off to our next Antoni Gaudi destination and the most famous: Sagrada Familia, where J and I just walked around the inside of the cathedral and looked up at the top of Gaudi’s tree-like pillars and looking at the sun beams coming through the rainbow coloured stained glass windows.

Then to complete our whirl wind tour of Gaudi, we went to Barceloneta to try and find a tapas place that sold burgers and Spanish cava, after searching for about a half an hour, we gave up and sat at Ona on the beach and had a few pints of Estrella.

It was our second day in Barcelona, and J and I were celebrating our 5th anniversary of the day he asked me out.

We started our lovely day with the hotel buffet breakfast which included Spanish Omelette (which has now become our favourite tapas) and then we headed to Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s most busiest tourist strip, renown for pick pockets.

We walked passed a few pet stalls, ones that have probably been there for generations and saw baby tortoises and my favourite bunnies; cute, white and grey fluffy ones.
We then went to the Barcelona Markets, just off Las Ramblas, where there is fresh seafood, fruit and vegetables, fromageries and of course lots of jamon. 

We actually bought some jamon, cheese and bottle of Spanish red to celebrate our anniversary.

J and I again walked passed the marina towards Barceloneta where we found a place called La Tomasa where we sat down and drank two jugs of Cava Sangria and ate a couple of tapas plates.

We then walked through Barceloneta to attempt to try and find the burger and cava bar again, and this time we succeeded, except it was closed for the summer holidays.

After getting a bike taxi back to Las Ramblas, which was steered by an English surfer who told us, we should head to Morocco to go to a surf camp. A great suggestion for our next holiday. 

We then caught a metro back to the hotel, where we watched the sun go down while we sat on the rooftop terrace eating our jamon and cheese and drinking our bottle of red.

Now to tell you about our anniversary dinner; which was a restaurant around the corner from the hotel that was suggested to J by the hotel reception staff; The Windsor.

We chose for the first time since our last night in Rome at Al Duello to have degustation meal. The Windsor’s was five courses which included the following: raw catfish, a mullet and pork citrus salad, basil risotto with baby cuttlefish, pork belly and finished with a whipped custard, lemon jelly and cinnamon dessert.

Overall it was delicious and very romantic, but wow am I sick of eating seafood. After eating barely any back in Australia, in a couple of weeks I’ve eaten enough for me, for about a year.

For our second last day in Barcelona, we decided on this particularly beautiful morning, to go to the beach.

After renting beach chairs and umbrella’s from Una, we relaxed with sangria’s in our hands.

And being a European beach and all I decided to really relax and blend in with all the other ladies on the beach and go topless. J was surrounded by breasts everywhere.

Then clouds came over, bring the wind with them, it put an end to our relaxing beach time, and we decided to have a siesta once we got back to the hotel.

We then ate dinner at La Troubadour, a restaurant again around the corner from the hotel, where I was finally able to have veggies. It felt so good, to have vegetables after weeks of travelling and not being able to eat any.

Dinner was then followed by a delicious chocolate brownie from a cupcake shop opposite the restaurant, before we headed off to watch the FC Barcelona versus Valencia football (soccer) match.

After following the crowds from the nearest metro station, we arrived at what is the largest stadium I’ve ever seen. Walking up the stairs to our seats, I swear, gave me vertigo. The game was quite thrilling, especially because we were in a part of Europe where the fans are fanatics about their club: FC Barcelona.

Before catching the train to Madrid, we walked around Barcelona for the last time on our European trip, stopping at the Barcelona Markets again for what we think is the best pizza in the whole of Europe; E-Pizza, a stall in the market, where one chef makes all these fresh wood fired pizzas. We started with a salami and mushroom topped slice each and then had get a second each, which ended up being fresh out of the oven cheese pizza.

Then we headed to La Tomasa again and shared a couple of jugs of cava sangria, before we had to head back to Hotel Astoria, grab our backpacks and get to the train station for our train bound for Madrid. 

No comments:

Post a Comment