I am slightly obsessed with Spain. It all began with Mario Batali and Gywneth Paltrow’s “Spain on the Road Again” this past fall, and it just got worse when we traveled to Barcelona in November. I can not wait to go back and to spend some time driving all over the absolutely gorgeous, culinary delight that is Spain.
We flew Ryanair from Shannon (Ireland where hubby is originally from) to Girona, about 45 minutes from Barcelona. The bus to Barcelona was waiting when we landed. They are well timed with the Ryanair flights at this small airport, and there was barely any waiting. We were dropped off at the Estacion Norte which was just a couple of blocks from Confortel Auditori, our hotel. The hotel was fabulous, clean, well located, and the mini bar beer and wine were free! We hit the ground running and spent a ton of time walking in Gaudi’s Parque Guell.
Spain is a lot warmer than Boston in November!!
We spent a good deal of time just sightseeing and shopping. I LOVE Zara which is a Spanish clothing store, and it was exciting to go to one in Barcelona. One of the highlights of Barcelona for me, in addition the amazing weather, beautiful art and architecture, and friendly people, was the food. TAPAS galore.
Tapas style eating is my absolute favorite way to eat, and Barcelona did not disappoint.
I honestly did not write down the names of the places that we ate, but there were many, and they were all good. I love the social aspect of tapas. It seemed that every evening when work was done, people went straight to tapas bars for some snacks and a glass of wine. It is a lifestyle I could get used to!
Another food delight was of course the seafood. One of the days that we were in Barcelona, we went to the Olympic stadium then took the cable car over the harbor and found ourselves in the seaside area of Barceloneta. Lunch was outside in the glorious sunshine and consisted of many different items including my beloved patatas bravas, mussels, prawns, pescados fritos (little fried fish), and a new favorite shellfish, berberchos. All washed down by local cava, which in Spain is dirt cheap!
Walking along the beaches in Barcelona was amazing. People were swimming and surfing, and the sun was SO strong! We soaked it up (slathered in SPF of course!) knowing that it would be a loooooong winter for us.
My absolute favorite part of our Barcelona trip was our visit to La Boqueria. It is a massive covered market in the middle of the city’s most popular avenue, Las Ramblas. There was so much food! Some of it, like the whole suckling pigs, was disturbing to me, so I kept walkin. . .
But the vegetables, fruits, seafood, nuts and all of the other treats made up for it! After walking several laps around this huge and busy market, I decided on a pineapple mango juice that was the most refreshing, fresh-tasting juice I have ever had! It was the perfect pick me up after a late night out drinking Spanish wine!La Boqueria was seriously like heaven for me, and I could imagine myself shopping there every day. Just need to work on my Spanish!
After we left La Boqueria, we went around the corner to a cafe for another Spanish delight- churros con chocolate. Fried pastry with sugar, dipped in the milkiest hot chocolate I have ever had. Mmmmmm. . .
After a few days we had to return to Ireland’s rain( which I admit, I love) , and our last impression of Spain was an amazing breakfast of fresh squeezed juice, delicious coffee, pastries and fruit – in the airport!
We are planning on returning very soon, after our trips to Napa and Argentina. I welcome any tips you might have about Spain, and for now will be watching re-runs of Spain on the Road Again.