My best friend, husband, love, travel buddy, Emi
The last afternoon at Barcelona!
The main lobby of Centre de Cultra Contemporania de Barcelona, El Raval www.cccb.org
Once you are on the Las Ramblas, You are very close to El Raval already. We definitely heard mixed thoughts about El Raval from the locals but Emi and I believe this is the “It” area. Raval has gone through and going through bit of face lift and slow development stage like NY’s Lower East side during the late 90’s. Coming off from the infamous city’s red light district up to the late 80’s, El Raval is going through a re-birth. Thanks to Government’s urban regeneration project and investment of a lot of money to clean up the area to be more modern and safer. We hear that it is still unsafe at night but also you can see the huge potential of this area becoming one of the hippest diverse cultural area in Barcelona.
Currently CCCB is hosting a movies under the star during the month of July and August at their court yard. Super cool… Just missed one the night before…! Check out the website to get their film list. They all sound very interesting, here, couple examples for you: Toby Dammit by Federico Felini (1968) and Banditi a Orgoloso by Vittorio de Seta (1961).
Right down the street from the CCCB, there is also a Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona built by Richard Meier ( you can totally tell ) and also the Museum of Miro’ right next to it on this simple and open square called Placa dels Angels.
Beautiful narrow streets of El Raval.
Carrer de La Riera Baixa, the it street for all the small vintage boutiques in El Raval. There are about 15 one-off kind vintage boutiques and record shops on this single block. It totally reminded me of good old Lower East side of NY like Orchard street…
Maybe this was my favorite one of all. Simply, more selected and better quality.
An awesome larger than life size photo greets you at REBALS! A perfect example of mix of then and now shop. Books, Magazines, Vintages and bit of furniture.
Cool changing room
A flash back from Berlin!!!!
The Goth shops, sneaker store, kick ass modern art museums, cool boutique hotels, cafe’s and small tucked in restaurants.
Go check out El Raval, You will love it!
Paella dinner with Emi after a long busy day and amazing night of Flamenco at Teatre Poliorama… A relaxing night stroll at Barceloneta area, a charming triangle shaped marina area where there is a port of Barcelona and one of the best Urban beaches of the world.
The Paella house L’arros( rice) carries maybe 100 kinds of Paella with easy modern ambiance and friendly service that comes with great price. I recommend it but sit outside. ( much nicer). The best thing about this place is they make any kind of Paella for single portion. Nice!
There are 7 masterpieces of Gaudi’s in Barcelona yet we picked 2 out all at the end for this short trip. Parc Guell also makes sense to visit better with Gael and I always always wanted to go visit the Casa Mila’ or better known as La Pedrera house and also the church Sagrada Familia. Personally, Casa Mila’ always struck me as the most and the best modern design work that Gaudi ever had done. It almost comes to me as a shock to hear that Gaudi had built this house in the period of 1905-1912. What an architect with a vision and creativity he was….!!
From the top; the facade, court yard, lobby, attic, the model of Casa Mila’ and the famous roof top.
Now here we are at the Sagrada Familia. One tip for everyone. Plan to visit all the Gaudi sites for the first thing in the morning. Casa Mila’ wasn’t too bad. We were in a line for an half an hour then we were able to get in. But Sagrada Familia? We had to attempt 3 times then the last one was at early as 9:00 am in the morning. The church opens to public at 9:00 am but be there like 8:30 then it would be nice and quick. The wait is totally worth to do so but you don’t want to be in the line for hours.
The massive private fund Roman catholic church Sagrada Familia was built back in 1882 has not still completed yet. The expected date of completion of this church is not until the year 2026. Isn’t that just crazy??? The vast scale and idiosyncratic design of this church feels almost daring and Rebellious to me. It’s crazy awesome. The underground level of this church houses the gypsum workshop to complete this master piece in behalf of Gaudi himself. By paying 2 extra euro, you can use a lift to the top of narrow tower to experience the famous stair cases and different views of the church from the different heights and angles through numerous small windows along the tower.
It’s breath taking.
Lo Que Rica Barcelona!!! The rich streets full of beautiful architects and sexy sea breeze caresses you around and my heart tingles like a little girl in hand in hand with my Emi. Slight excitement makes our walk bit more brisk not to miss anything here during our short 3 day trip. With great amount tourism in the city, even weekday early morning is already hustle and bustle with full of people. Walking down the tree lined La Rambla area center passage way, we come across THE MUST CHECK OUT attraction, the Mercat La Boqueria, St. Josep…!
The main grand entrance of Mercat de San Josep de la Boquesria or simply preferred to as La Boqueria, A large public market in the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona. This market is one of the city’s most foremost tourist landmarks with an entrance from La Rambla , not far from the Liceu , Barceloa’s opera house. The market is absolutely diverse and rich in their selection of food and goods from fresh fruits, spices and impressive array of fresh fish and sea food and amazing low key open kitchen banquets full of made to order tapas and sea food eateries!! Come check out now the one of our world’s favorite market, La Boqueria with us!!!
OK, That’s what is called “well stocked and well selectioned”. Wow, see you know what we are missing in NY?
The market is absolutely blessed by fresh produces and anything that you can imagine. It’s overwhelming feeling stepping in to the market.
Fresh fruit juice to go. 3 euro! And below whole or half cut Pitahayas!!
The cured meat, fresh and exotic fruits an now what..? The MARISCOS! We are in Barcelona Baby!
Everything is alive and moving in this market. The crabs, lobsters, shrimps… It’s amazing. I don’t recall seeing anything frozen here. Maybe the salt cured but not the frozen. Love it!!! I am going to have to share more pictures of fresh fish and sea food from the market, because it is really really impressive!
The sign says live Navana( razor clam) without sand!
Razor clams are really popular here. They look bit, hmmmm, what’s the word, bit slimy and bit disturbing actually. But hey wait until you taste them grilled with garlic, parsley, delicious local olive oil and squeeze of lemon… Ahhh then wash them down with chilled glass of Cava! It’s fantastico!
This…? Actually I need show this to someone is really expert at Sea creatures. I mean what would this taste like..? How would you cook them? They look like roots of the sea…
After the Tokyo’s Ginza Fish market, La Boqueria would be the next best one that I saw most various parts of Tuna being served. This is the ” Ventresca” of the tuna: The tuna belly, the fattest part and the most flavorful part of the fish. Even in Italy , most time you will see these in the cooked and jarred at higher price than regular canned Tuna. Believe me, US has the worst quality of canned tuna you can find. They are crumbs of Tuna after maybe other nations had packed the main parts. It’s impressive to see the fresh Ventresca stakes like this at the market. You can buy glass jarred cooked Ventresca at places like Balducci, Whole food at around $11.00-15.00 at a small portion.
Now getting out from the sea food section and moving on to the rest of the market…!
Now here we are finding a quite bit of Eateries with open banquets and kitchens. Beer, wine and Cava and all the Sea food, vegetables and even the desert! ahhh 2 seats please!!! I stole a pic of one of customer’s plate. It looks so yummy…!!!
Each places runs it its own way. This little place likes to display their uncooked fresh ingredients in the glass cases for the customers to glance at. The menu is on the black board and one single grill underneath dose all the job.
OK, We are staying here for lunch! And you see this guy with serving the beer? He’s the man you need to talk to for the seats. He manages the seating, beverages and bread and the staffs. Or I guess he could be the owner..?
A glass of Cava first standing while waiting for our seats and switch to a glass of white. Here we start our 3 hour long lunch together. Happy… Happy….!
We order a plate of mixed grill, mixed sauteed mushrooms, grilled sardine, octopus with cayenne pepper and go through like 10 glasses of wine… Chat and laugh and get bit silly with nice buzz…!
This quick sauteed mixed mushrooms with green scallion is a dish from the heaven. Soooooooo Goooooood!
Yum Yum Yum, It was a wonderful wonderful lunch!! Here check out the best lunch spot in the entire Barcelona,
Checking out a few more places right around the market. This is the chicest salumeria We ever had visited. Every piece of cured meat is all cut by hand. It almost reminded me of Caviar shop like vibe. The shop is right near to Kiosko Universal.
Paella!!!!!! Still waiting to find the perfect place to have the perfect paella. This looks stupid delicious… Arrrr!
A you can see the market is the place to be, the place to know and understand the culture and richness of the people in their everyday humble life they live.
La Boqueria, You stole our hearts!!!
EasyJet to Barcelona descending. I already like the view. The ocean and the vibrant night lights. There’s no “too late” in this city…!! Emi, you ALWAYS have the best idea!!!
Aaaarrrriving at Barcelona!!! 9:45 pm. My first time ever to this Europe’s largest metropolis on the Mediterranean coast where is a home for impressive 5 million people! In fact I expect good fresh fish and olives, beautiful people, a city full of life and easy breezy sea breeze flirting my long flowing hair! Yes we are in Barcelona!!!!!
Not the most romantic picture of the city but I think one of the smartest picture of the city. The standing poll handle on a metro. I mean Why NYC couldn’t think of this simple genius metro handles. Two heads are better than the one head and the three handles are better than the one handle during the rush hours. Right? By the way going to the hotel by Metro. Always a good experience to get on the local subway despite that actual our ride to hotel was quite long…!
After quick check in, we are heading out to have some late dinner. Preferably some good seafood! Which means some fresh oysters and CAVA (the Spanish sparkling wine which is pretty much their Champagne). Ahhh the perfect warm breeze is so Sexy! The weather in Barcelona is just perfect for the night stroll and we can’t waste one second by just sitting in the hotel room because it’s only the midnight!
Hotel concierge considers the Olympico area because now it’s almost 1:00am and it would be the best area to catch the late dinner. The kitchen would be still open till now or even for one more hour. Olympico is bit touristy with many little touristy discotheques ( it’s located at south end side of the city). The whole vibe reminds you the South street sea port in NY. Actually this would not be the my preferable area to hang out but sure you can have the last minute dinners al fresco and actually the place we had our plate of sea food was very very good.
A bottle of Cava and a small Grilled mix. A perfect size to share. I have never eaten razor clams. I mean you know Seafood in new york in the market is pretty much boring and cliche’. Sole, Grey sole, Salmon white fish, Blue fish, shrimp and what else… Anyway, Razor clams in Italy is banned to be caught since they are disappearing for the moment. I feel bit hesitant at first but I try. I mean where else would I have fresh Razor clams? A first bite… Wow actually the clam tastes super sweet and juicy. It’s Deeeeelicious!!
It’s quite late now and heading back to hotel to conqure the city starting from ealry morning.
Barcelona, here we come, See you tomorrow!!!!!