European Vacation Part 2 Barcelona

Continuing where I left off, after 6 days in Toulouse, France we hoped on a train, sped along the coast line, and headed to Barcelona. I actually really love trains to travel – nice large seats, power available to charge things, and the fast trains are pretty comparable to flying (at least when you factor in the time to get to the airport, security, waiting, etc.). 

The first day we just explored the area a bit, found some meh tapas (seriously very few good tapas places near where we stayed, very generic to fit a tourist crowd). After being in Toulouse I had to readjust to the heavy tourist atmosphere even though that’s exactly what we were. At least the sangria was good. 

  
That evening we found a little casual hole in the wall place, no pretenses but fantastic food we tried paella and C got a rabbit stew while I got chicken ratatouille. 

 
After dinner we wandered in the directon of our hotel and stubled across a neat lookng place for more sangria and of course tiramisu. 🙂 At least  shared this time…

  

The next morning we went over to La Boqueria Merkat which was right around the corner from the hotel. It’s a large indoor market with just about anything you could dream to buy. I think I found a dietitian’s paradise – fresh juices, thousands of fresh fruit cups, seafood brought in that day, handmade chocolates, and of course a few ready to eat empanadas. 

   

After a fantastic breakfast full of nutrients we headed over to La Sagrada Familia – the basilica designed by the famed architect Gaudi. It’s been under construction for over 100 years and still isn’t finished! Words can even desccribe how awe inspiring his design is – and I’ve been to see St. Peter’s, the Duomo in Florence, and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. This definitely can hold a place with all of those greats. 

   
        
That afternoon we went to see another one of Gaudi’s feats – his Parc Guell. And along the way saw some spectacular views of Barcelona. 

   

   

  

That evening we wasted time trying to find any decent tapas and then landed at My Way were I had some baked brie and a lighter salad – eating tapas doesn’t really make me that hungry for actual dinner. 

  
That next day we booked a trip to Monserrat and a castle wine tasting. Monserrat is a mountain kept abby with breathtaking views and magnificent rock formations. 

   

 The castle wine tasting was at Oller del Mas – from there we had a fantastic view of the montains. It was a pretty great day. 

   

 That evening we had another superb meal at Restaurante Arcano. A fantastic bottle of wine, plate of whole roasted vegetables, and Argentinian sausage ravioli with mushroom sauce – I think  was actually too ful for dessert!

   

  

 The next day was a day spent walkng along the beach and stopping for Cava – which is basically Spanish champagne. Very refreshing. 

   

  

 That night was probably one of my all time favorite restaurants, El Gotic.  We arrived insanely early – 7pm (which is ridiculous by Spainish and French standards) and got the best seat in the place overlooking a ccourtyard.  We got to watch people training on segways – it was really entertaining. Dinner started with a tempranillo – one of my favorite types of wine, a cheese plate, and tomato bread. 

   

  I didn’t understand the who tomato bread appeal until we ate at here – the idea, smear some fresh smashed tomatoes on bread – well, look at this beauty, brick over toasted bread full of nooks and craneys drizzled with fresh Spanish olive oil and fresh smashed tomatoes. One of the simpliest and best tasting items I had in Barcelona. 

  We shared a mushroom salad wth a light dressing and thinkly sliced Spansh ham. 

For the main course we both got a Catalunya flatbread, basically it’s like pizza but with a better crust, roasted peppers, and cheese. C got a bacon flatbread with dates – no suprise there. 

  For dessert we split this perfect apple pie – can I just say that American apple pie has nothing on this pie. Apples caramelized in a skilet, dough payed over the apples and set in an oven. Then pour hot cream on to the pate and flip the pie for crust on the bottom and delicious apples on the top. Holy yum.   

 The last full day in Barcelona was spent walking around the city and visiting La Pedera an apartment building finished by Gaudi. 

   

  

  

  Barcelona is one of my favorite cities I’ve had the chance to visit so far. Great countryside, welcoming people, and tasty food. After we finished our adventures here, it was time to hit the air and land in Paris – that’s part 3!

    
  

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