After relaxing and roaming around Lisbon for the past week we hopped a very short plane ride to Barcelona. This was one of my most favorite European cities. There was so much to see, do, and eat! We got our fill of architecture, art, tapas, and wine.
One of the must see areas is La Rambla. This is were the Mercat de La Boqueria is located. By now you have all probably heard of this area as it was where a car run through the pedestrian walkway. This happened about a month after we were there. This area is full of tourist no mater the time of day. I can only imagine the chaos that incurred that day. Incredibly sad.
We walked around the area and ventured inside the market. I love a good market. Even more so when we have an AirBnB and we can buy up the fresh veggies, fruits, meats, and cheeses that are for sale for dinners. There were markets all over Barcelona and we shopped at quite a few of them during our stay. Here is the inside of the market in La Rambla. We both tried fresh squeezed juices with many fruit choices.
If you know anything about me you know I love french macaroons. I was floored when I found the little booth below....macaroons filled with ice cream. Sign me up! I purchased the twix flavor (orange one) and got to work on it. Sadly, I was disappointed. Cold macaroons are hard macaroons. Save yourself the disappointment and don't try these.
One of the most fun things we did was a tour with Devour Barcelona. We did the Tapas, Taverns, and History tour with Dom. He was so amazing! We walked from stop to stop in the medieval Gothic Quarter and Born neighborhood. Here is a church inside the Gothic Quarter. All the buildings had this same medieval look.
Dom told us stories of the history and of Christopher Columbus. Dom is at the end of the table in the picture below.
We stopped at 3 or 4 different places to try the local drinks and tapas. We tasted vermouth, cava, and plenty of wine. We tried Spanish cheeses, marinated olives, sausages, and even anchovies. The last stop of the tour was a full on dinner of tapas. I bet we tried 10 or more tapas and had at least 5 or more drinks throughout the tour. We had a great time and met some new friends. At the end of the tour the group of us continued on to some of Dom's recommended places.
Our next stop was the La Sagrada Familia. It is a huge unfinished Catholic church designed by Gaudi. The church is said to be completed in about 100 years. This church is nothing short of gorgeous. Word of advice, get your tickets in advance. We bought our days in advance and still had only a few time slots to chose from while we were there.
Just by looking at the outside of this church you would have no idea that the inside is just covered in stained glass. It totally threw me when I saw all the glass. It was everywhere filling the halls with color. It is a must see. Word of advice, get your tickets in advance. We bought our days in advance and still had only a few time slots to chose from while we were there.
Later that afternoon we took a bus up to a Museum of Contemporary Art and saw this amazing view. Check out the size of the church compared to the city.
Another stop we made was Park Güell. Talk about unique. This was also designed by Gaudí. Everything was covered in colorful mosaic stones and really neat lines. All the curved benches were beautiful. Even the ceiling had crazy mosaic designs. It was just beautiful. Once again get tickets in advance. After we made the walk up to the park from the bus stop we were turned away as they were sold out for the day. Luckily we were able to get tickets the following day.
I couldn't wait to learn how to make paella in Spain! I found a half day class with Cook & Taste where we learned how to make romesco sauce, roasted eggplant into a garlic spread, custard flambe, and of course paella. Word of advice, do not take the Devour Barcelona Wine tour the night before then take this class the next morning. ;)
There was about a dozen of us in the class so we all were given jobs throughout the afternoon. I was on chopping duty. Helpful tip: if you slice "X" on the top of a halved potato it will roast quicker and more evenly.
Tim was in charge of peeling the peppers for the romesco sauce.
While we all took turns we did get to see most of each step of the cooking process of each dish. It was kind of nice having 12 people sharing the work. After everything was prepared and cute we then put everything together in this massive pot to make our paella. Yes, that is enough paella to feed us all plus some extra. Biggest pan I have ever seen. It even needed two people stirring at all times. It turned out fabulous!
The finale was "creme brulee" custard. While someone else mixed up the custard we all got the chance to use the torch and toast the sugar on top!
I loved Barcelona and would visit again in a heartbeat. There was so much to do and see. Check out the Galleries tab to see the rest of the pictures from our time in Barcelona!