July 04, 2011

Day 1: Barcelona

We're coming to the end of our first day in Spain, and our first night in Barcelona. What a fantastic city. I'm already in love with the architecture, culture and the look of Barcelona.
We landed from our Air Canada early this morning and made our way into the city via taxi, where we checked into our hotel directly on Barcelona's busiest streets, La Rambla. We've had warnings about La Rambla and the occurance of pickpocketers, so, needless to say we have our eyes peeled and our hands on our wallets! Rumours aside, Barcelona is a clean, historical city that seems to transcend its history. It's trendy yet ancient, with small, windy, cobblestone paths and beautiful squares (Placas) spotting the city. (And it hasn't even been 24 hours yet!)

After grabbing a quick snack (a jamon sandwich in artisan bread), we boarded our Hop On Hop Off Tour and rode that until the skies opened up so we couldn't sit up top. There's more bus tour tomorrow, we figured, so we wandered the streets in pursuit of the Museo Picasso. (We found the museum after a lengthy search - and it's closed on Mondays!) Highlights of our wandering today: The Cathedral (another Gaudi masterpiece) and the Mercat Boqueria, a food market selling everything from fresh fruit, smoothies, nuts, nougat and cured meats.

A charcuterie vendor at the Mercat Boqueria in Barcelona
There, we couldn't resist our urge to try the infamous Jamon Iberico, which lived up to its high praise. Take prosciutto in all its cured goodness, remove the salt content, and you have this jamon. It's smooth and a bit sweet, but it also comes off a bit smoky.
Jamon Iberico being sold by the leg in Barcelona

After wandering down to the pier, we made our way back to Barri Gotic and La Ciutat Vella and found a spot called MariscCO. (http://www.mariscco.com/) Donny had grilled sea bass, while I had grilled Dory and we split an order of Chanquete. Chanquete are teeny, tiny fish called "whitebait" that are deep fried and served with a dipping sauce much like Lea & Perrins. They don't taste like much, but the little fishes were a great start to our meal and our adventure here in Spain.


Chanquete at MariscCO in Barcelona

Tomorrow: We're gonna be gaga over Gaudi with tours of La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera, plus an awesome dinner we booked at Cinc Sentis. Can't wait.

J (&D)

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