When I first moved to Germany, 6 years ago, I made a list of my top five places I would like to visit before I left here. Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to make it to all of them, especially because Barcelona, Spain seemed too far to drive or train to. (FUN FACT ABOUT JOHANA #3: The Kid hates flying. I’ve broken out in hives just thinking about it!) SO, I put Barcelona off, again and again and again. The truth is…I should have made it there much sooner.
Since I returned, I have sat around thinking about that sexy, hot, colorful land; hoping that my fixation would slowly fade. BUT SERIOUSLY…Who are we kidding?…it’s not fading…So before I forget small details about it, I want to put it down in print. We began our trip with no ride to the airport, no camera to document our trip and not exactly having this trip well planned. Luckily, for us, our friend Kevin was more than happy to drive us to the Munich airport; we figured we could use my IPad to take photos (Yeah…we were those tourists) and finally thought “well, we are the LeBron James of Awesome and the Michael Jordan of cool, we’ll figure it out and have a great time”.
Barcelona greeted us in humbling humidity. Walking through the airport at 11 pm, we frantically began looking for a water dispenser en route to a taxi. As we suckled down cold water like they were the last coca colas in the desert, we found a taxi driver nice enough to let us listen to the Germany vs. Algeria game. (I know you’re thinking “How does she remember that?”. Well, my friends, remember we were so obsessed by the world cup? I had written the whole schedule down, until there were not enough teams to lose track of!) He kindly discussed soccer with us, warned us about pickpocketers in La Rambla (which is where our hotel was located). We checked in at midnight and decided we wanted to start our trip with some food! Unfortunately, for my foodie husband, restaurants were beginning to close their kitchens and Jaime was in crazy search for Paella. We decided to grab some expensive pitas, and walk La Rambla and enjoy the breeze from the port.
La Rambla (dubbed “Whore Alley” by a group of 20-something Brits we met at an Irish pub) is a different kind of animal. It is popular location for tourist and locals alike and believe it or not it is as busy at night as it is in the day. The strip is alined with trees, souvenir shops, overpriced restaurants, and street performers. The northern part of this kilometer strip is La Placa de Catalunya where a beautiful fountain sits. The east side of La Rambla is the Gothic Quarter, the west side is El Raval quarter, which is also considered a edgier side of town. At the southern part of La Rambla is the monument of Christopher Columbus and the port.
As we woke up the next morning, Jaime stated that he was starving and wanted to find this famous market everyone was raving about. As I peeled myself out of bed at 10 am (this is fucking late to be getting up while traveling, by the way) I picked out a cotton dress and stated that I wanted stay close to our hotel for the day. As we walked down La Rambla, with no clue as to where exactly this “market” was, we followed the common direction… “al norte, al norte”. As we walked, we followed those directions and found it. I want to believe that both Jaime and I thought “that this is what heaven will be like”. We both fell in love with the delicious fruit, fruit juices, cured ham, seafood, spices that were found there. La Boqueria had an incredible variety of goods that we walked through there every day we were in Barcelona. NOTE: if you enjoy cooking, I recommend, opting for an apartment where you can enjoy cooking meals with all of the fresh produce available there!
As we left La Boqueria full from devouring delicious fruits and empanadas we walked toward the Gothic Quarter in search for a ceramic store, souvenirs, and FC Barcelona jerseys. The Gothic Quarter is full of medieval buildings, with small intricate streets full of twists and turns that almost make you feel like you are in a maze. We spend the rest of the afternoon in the Gothic Quarter, shopping, taking pictures with my huge squared gadget, enjoying liters of sangeria, we took a turn near a museum and enjoy listening to two guitarist play.
THE GOTHIC QUARTER
Barcelona has won both Jaime and I’s hearts over! There is more to come…I mean, did you really think I would talk about Barcelona and not mention La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi, Parc Guell or our favorite meals! Stay tuned!