La Boqueria, Barcelona

La Boqueria is one of Barcelona’s many fresh produce markets. Barcelona appears to have a deep rooted market culture, a culture we are slowly losing in London. You can find pretty much everything you’d need for your kitchen at La Boqueria, from vegetables to locally sourced fresh fish, dried fruits, nuts, oil and yeah, pretty much everything you’d ever need. As a vegan and supporter of fresh produce, this market was like a giant toy shop for me.

 

Fresh Fruit at La Boqueria

 

I recon these tomatoes would be perfect with a bit of salt and olive oil…

Ripe

 

Love

Love

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chili Peppers

All the Pretty Things

All the Pretty Things

Fresh fish, some of these babies were still moving and one of the crabs tried to escape 😦

Cod Lips

Cod Lips

Run Forest, Run.

Run Forest, Run.

Sweets for my Sweet

Sweets for my Sweet

Orangettes are my absolute favorite, and I’m sure these are soooooo much better than Leonidas ones… I didn’t, I resisted!

Orangettes

Orangettes

Okay you get the idea, you can eat like a king in Barcelona in the comfort of your own kitchen. One last thing, after looking at all of this fresh produce, don’t miss out on lunch at Bar Pinotxo. The bar is conveniently located at the entrance of the market and here you can eat comfortably for less. Don’t eat at a tourist trap ‘tapas’ restaurant on La Rambla, eat here!

Bar Pinotxio, La Boqueria

Bar Pinotxio, La Boqueria

For more info on La Boqueria Market see here.

For more info on Bar Pinotxo see here.

Oh and…

Smooooooooth

Smooooooooth

 

 

 

Barcelona – Del Mar – Gothic Quarter

Back from my Barcelona research trip with heaps of information and photographs taken for my dissertation. I’m so glad that I took the extra two days to look around the city as the last time I was there was back in 2008, and things seem to have changed since then. I stayed in the Del Mar region “The Sea”, close to the church I am writing on Santa Maria del Mar. It is part of the Bairro Gotica of Barcelona, the Gothic Quarter, though slightly distanced from the general throngs of tourist (I do have my way of avoiding the masses).

First things first, Barcelona is packed full of tourists. When I say packed I mean PACKED. It’s not the biggest city in Europe yet somehow they manage to squeeze in visitors from around the world and you can really feel the strain when walking around the Gothic Quarter, which is the one place all tourists expect to tick off of their to do lists. Del Mar is slightly removed from the heart of the Gothic Quarter, which makes it a nice place to find a hotel/hostel, though it is equally as expensive as say La Rambla (argh tourist trap hell!).

Regardless of how expensive it can be, Del Mar is a stunning neighborhood, full of little bars, cafes and fashion boutiques. It is also closer to the beach, which can come in handy on a hot summer’s day, which was clearly not the case during my stay. Yet Del Mar is beautiful come rain or shine.

Del Mar "The Sea" Barcelona

Del Mar “The Sea” Barcelona

 

Catalan Pride

Catalan Pride

Β 

Well behaved tourists at the Picasso Museum

Well behaved tourists at the Picasso Museum

Things to do and see in Del Mar:

1. Get completely lost a la Venice style as you walk down little alley ways

2. Visit the Santa Maria del Mar church (I shall discuss this in my next post)

3. Picasso Museum – FREE for university students (imagine my surprise…) – Picasso’s collection is safely stored away in a magnificent Pallazzo style building

4. Boutiques – lots of boutiques selling all sorts of clothes and custom made goods

5. The beach – a five minute walk away

6. Ciutadella Park – it has a lake and you can hire a little boat to go round and round in

7. Montaditos – lunch time goodies – mini sandwiches filled with all sorts of good stuff, these reminded me of Venetian cicchetti, which was fitting considering the medieval backstreets. However they don’t come cheap at approx. 1.30E per pop. I’ll write a little more about these in another post

8. Best bar in Del Mar region – El Born on Passeig del Born, no. 26. It’s behind the church to the right. This is a quaint little alternative artsy bar with cheap wine and snacks including montaditos and empanadas. Go there. Go.

 

Warnings:

1. Be careful when choosing restaurants as many will rip you off

2. Don’t eat anywhere that has an English menu and laminated images of dishes

3. Breakfast – you can grab a coffee/cappuccino/tea and croissant for 1.80E – much more than this and it’s a rip off. There are a couple of good cafes in the Santa Maria del Mar church piazza that offer a cheap breakfast deal

 

Nearest transport links:

1. Jaume I (metro)

2. Barceloneta (metro)

3. Estacio de Franca – for trains to and from Barcelona El Prat airport and surrounding areas

Oh hi sun! Santa Maria del Mar as seen from heaven

Oh hi sun! Santa Maria del Mar as seen from heaven

Countdown to Barcelona!

Assignments handed in, seminars (almost) over and a dissertation to think about… It’s two week’s away but I’m already preparing for my research trip to Barcelona! Here are a few places that I’d like to visit when in Spain.

Barcelona

Bairro Gotico

Bairro Gotico

Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona Cathedral

Architectural geek-fest! I think it goes without saying that I shall be visiting Barcelona Cathedral (again).

Santa Maria del Mar

Santa Maria del Mar

And my study project: Santa Maria del Mar, a 14th Century Catalan church. I personally feel that it out does Barcelona Cathedral for its simplicity in its austere forms. I cannot wait to get all Gothic crazy on this baby.

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Gaudi’s masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia. I’m not even sure if there is a technical term for those types of springing and vaulting.

Gerona

Gerona

If I haven’t completely overwhelmed myself by this point, I would like to visit Gerona, a small Catalan town north of Barcelona. Reason for visit: of course its beautiful architecture including the Gothic cathedral which boasts an aisle-less, single nave plan. I am yet to see exactly how that works.

 

Aljaferia

Aljaferia

Aljaferia

Aljaferia

No it’s not Aladdin’s palace, the Aljaferia was once a Moorish fort, prior to the re-conquest of Zaragosa by Christian kings. The exterior is typically Moorish, with its understated military-esque appearance, It reminds me of the beautiful Saladin citadel in Cairo, how I wish I could be back in that Oriental dreamland! I absolutely love the intersecting polylobed arches and the extravagant sebkaΒ motif, which is so typically Moorish. The whole complex looks like a giant fantasy palace. It’s close enough to Barcelona to pay a respectful day trip to Zaragosa.

 

Toledo

Toledo

I’ll probably be pushing it but if I can get myself down to Toledo… Though it was one of the first regions of Spain to be taken back from the Moors, there are still hints of Islamic architecture, hidden here and there, which for me makes Toledo one of the most beautiful cities in Spain.

 

Of course there is much more to Spain (and Barcelona in particular with this trip) than architecture so watch this space for my general ramblings, reflections and obsession with foreign food, all the way from sunny Spain!