Monday, May 17, 2010

Barcelona - Park Guell, La Rambla, Mercat la Boqueria

Monday was our first venture into major tourist areas. We started by going to Parc Guell, which was Gaudi's failed attempt at creating a community of homes in his unique style. Multi-coloured mosaics and curvy shapes were everywhere, including his signature bench that stretched around most of a large square, and this beautiful lizard that was the highlight, especially for the hoards of visiting school children. It was like being in Hansel and Gretel land but was difficult to get around all the tour bus groups.

Next was a trip down "La Ramblas" which is a busy, wild and crazy shopping street with a pedestrian only lane in the middle where weird performance actors tried to earn their keep. Down both sides parallel to this lane were all types of stores, pastry shops and restaurants. Escribe is this beautiful Modernista chocolate and pastry shop dating back to the 1800s. We were stuffed from our Tapas lunch, but made a mental note to return one morning for the classic xurros amb xocolata (fritters dipped in thick chocolate sauce). We also saw Palau Guell, another home of the obviously very wealthy Guell family.

In midst of Las Ramblas is the Mercat de la Boqueria, which is like a huge St. Lawrence market where we picked up fresh veggies, fruits, bread, cheese and meats for a nice dinner at home. Having an apartment in the heart of all the tourist attractions is great, since it lets us eat breakfast and some dinners at home, as well as occasionally enjoy the afternoon siesta, to rest up before venturing out again. We're also enjoying having spanish tapas, which is similar to having Chinese dim sum, where you order lots of little plates of different types of food. Our best and most adventurous tapas meal so far was at a highly recommended place called Tapas 24, where we tried items such as fried anchovies, squid ink risotto and breaded rabbits ribs, accompanied by excellent sangria.

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