Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Thanksgiving in Barcelona

On our first full day in Barcelona--Thanksgiving Day--we took a free walking tour of the city. Our guide, Ricky, was great and he gave us a good overview of Barcelona. You could walk for days and still not see all the amazing shops, restaurants, churches and other cool sights tucked into the more than seventy neighborhoods. Zoey kind of stole the show though. Everyone was cooing at her and making her smile while Ricky was talking.

While Barcelona is most-famously associated with the architecture of Gaudi, we saw some gorgeous landmarks in completely different styles. The Barcelona Cathedral was stunning from the outside (we didn't go in). I also loved this mock bridge (Carrer del Bisbe Irurita) that connects the presidential palace and the town hall in the Gothic Quarter.

We also saw the Jewish Quarter (not that impressive) and Roman tombs (pretty neat). Zoey had a bit of a meltdown halfway through, so I was off in the background taking care of her while Dan stayed with the group. Luckily she fell asleep and I was able to rejoin toward the end. I absolutely love these free walking tours. We have done several in various cities and I am always impressed with the quality of the guides (see here, here, and here).

We spent the morning before the tour started exploring the famous Boqueria market on La Rambla. You could spend hours just wandering through the aisles gawking at the heaping piles of juicy fruit, fragrant spices, and fresh fish. My friend Nick gave us a tip to try and grab lunch at a booth called El Quim. This is one of the best parts about traveling off-season. In the summer, there is no way we'd be able to get a seat at this tiny tapas bar. On this trip, even though the market was crowded, it was nothing like high-season. We had plenty of room.

I treated myself to a glass of Cava, because when in Spain...right? We had some really delicious tapas, but my favorites were the fried artichoke hearts and the padron peppers. I'd never heard of this pepper before, but it is on every tapas menu in town. They are small, sweet peppers that are fried in good olive oil and tossed with a bit of course salt. They are completely addictive. They're kind of like Pringles--once you pop you can't stop. :)

For dinner we knew we wanted to go to one of the kosher restaurants we found about about yesterday to see the candle lighting for Chanukah. So we decided to do dessert first since I don't eat dairy after I eat meat. Luckily, there was a famous pastry shop (Escriba) right next to the restaurant. We ordered a small praline hot chocolate each and a slice of sachertorte (chocolate cake with apricot jam). WOW! It was delicious!

We finished just in time to catch the candle lighting party. It was very crowded in the restaurant, so we didn't get great pictures. It was really fun singing chanukah songs with everyone though. That's one of the things I love most about traveling; you never know what kind of adventure you'll stumble upon.

See the other days of this trip:
Barcelona Day 1
Barcelona Day 3

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