Posts tagged La Boqueria

Mouth-Watering Mercat St Josep, Barcelona

As a proud Seattleite, one of the things I love most about traveling is discovering the things I really miss about home (the city, the greenery, the beauty) and things I definitely don’t miss (gray skies, colder temps, etc.) But when it comes down to comparing the local markets with my beloved Pike Place—the other markets always fell short. Too dirty, pungent smells, not a lot of variety, etc. However, upon a visit to Mercat St. Josep in Barcelona, better known as La Boqueria, I have to report Pike Place has certainly met its match.

Here are some shots I took of the delicious foods to be found in La Boqueria. Though the sugar-addict in me focused heavily on shots of chocolates, sweets and fruits, know that La Boqueria has artisan cheeses, high-quality oils, truffles (the mushrooms AND chocolate kinds!) seafood, and many more mouth-watering choices.

Ham and Chorizo.

The vendors start at 7AM to prepare their stands—gorgeous!

Yummy gummies!

Nuts and candies.

Fresh eggs.


More sugary temptations.

And (inappropriate) chocolate!

Looking back at these photos has me dreaming of all the things I would buy from the market to cook up a delicious dinner with. If you were to find yourself at La Boqueria, what food products would you zero in on? What’s the best market you’ve ever been to? Tell me in the comments below!

Barcelona: Bohemian Grandeur pt. II

On The Street:

Camp Nou/Avinguda Aristides Maillol, s/n, 08028, Barcelona

Living in Spain has reawakened the futbol fan inside of me. A trip to Barcelona wouldn’t have been complete in my mind without seeing Camp Nou, home to Barcelona F.C.: arguably one of the best teams in the sport, in the world. We toured the stadium, locker rooms and multimedia-infused museum for hours, in awe of the history of this team. Rows upon rows of trophies over the years line the sides of the museum, giant touch-screens offering history and information create a high-tech visual aspect that remind you that this is one of the richest sports franchises in the world.

Uniforms and cleats dating back decades, worn by legends like Maradona, Ronaldo (Brazilian version), Messi, Ronaldihno and Rivaldo are displayed in glass cases accompanied by a historical timeline of the club. The most intriguing aspect of the Club’s story was how they emerged as a symbol of Catalonia pride and a staunch defender of rights during the dictatorship of Franco. They were prohibited to use the Catalan flag on their uniforms and to speak Catalan, and F.C. Barcelona became a way to support and promote their regional identity without the fear of joining an anti-Franco group. When news of Franco’s death spread, fans snuck Catalan flags into the stadium and proudly waved them, finally free from his dictatorship.

The most exciting part of the tour was seeing my hometown MLS team (Seattle Sounders F.C.!) in a video montage of international friendlies…I was at that game in 09’ when Barcelona slaughtered us! :)

La Sagrada Familia/Calle Mallorca 401, 08034, Barcelona

Even if you’re not an architecture buff, seeing Gaudi’s works is on the top of most travelers list of things to do when in Barcelona. I was no exception and managed to see most of his major works in the short weekend I was in Barcelona. Gaudi’s style started as gothic and emerged into something uniquely expressive, highly intricate and verging on hallucinatory.

Viewing La Sagrada Familia in-person is a completely different experience than viewing it by photograph. La Sagrada Familia is the most well-known of Gaudi’s architecture and has been under construction since 1882. Plans to finish this enormous church are underway, with a deadline of 2026, 100 years after Gaudi’s death. Interesting fact: the only remaining blueprints of La Sagrada Familia were destroyed by anarchists in the Spanish Civil War.

*Tip* Don’t pay the entrance fee to go inside, it’s best appreciated from the outside. Thanks for the tip @krixie333

La Boqueria/La Rambla 85-89 08002 Barcelona

The Seattleite in me was curious to see how La Boqueria matches up to my hometown’s Pike’s Place Market. This market is not only bigger, but offers all the fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables of Pike’s plus enough candy and chocolate to give you a cavity from looks alone—not to mention my other vice, racks upon racks of jamon iberico—mmm.

My sweet tooth couldn’t deny my surroundings and I indulged in a few truffles and probably the best gum drops I’ve ever tasted in my life. Looking back at the pictures makes my mouth water!

Parque Guell/Metro stop “Lesseps” (Green Line, L3) On leaving the metro follow the street signposts for the park

Stepping into Parque Guell feels like stepping into the popular board game, Candy Land. It’s a masterpiece of stonework and tiling that evokes whimsical imagery with something so vibrant and abstract, you don’t know if you’re awake or dreaming. This was my last stop before heading on the plane home, and I wish I had had more time to leisurely spend here, picniking and enjoying the panoramoic view of the city. It’s worth fighting the crowds in high-season for many reasons, but it helps that this attraction is FREE!

Rambla de Mar (Port Vell)/End of Las Ramblas

Rambla de Mar is a welcome escape from the throngs of tourists further up the street on Las Ramblas. It’s the port where all of the cruise ships stop, as well as where the World Trade Center is, and features a shopping and movie area. It’s the perfect place to stroll around, people-watch and devour one of the amazing-smelling waffles they sell in the street carts. We went here at sunset, stopping by a restaurant for tapas and drinks and to catch the Athletic Bilbao game on TV.

Barcelona: Bohemian Grandeur

There’s something about the electrifying mix of beach and big city that gets me every time. With this in mind, I had more than an inkling that Barcelona would be love at first sight. From its wide avenues, plazas of gorgeous detail-drenched architecture, international population and proximity to the Mediterranean, Barcelona didn’t disappoint.

The biggest impression this city left on me was its attention to detail. Everything from the ground we walked on, to the buildings we peered up at were covered in beautiful, intricate patterns and ornate decor. Gaudi’s footprint was certainly left on this capital of Catalonian culture and seeing his bizarre, legendary works was aesthetically fulfilling.

This city is buzzing with excitement, which with a population of over 4 million is no difficulty. It is the number one most-visited city in Spain, and the second-largest after Madrid. It’s well-regarded for it’s economic, entertainment, and cultural offerings and seemingly has it all: a Mediterranean climate, a bohemian feel and an undeniably energy.

Though I only spent a day and a half (thanks to a Ryan Air delay robbing me of a Friday!) I wrote a city guide on Barcelona too extensive for one post, so I’ll be splitting it into two posts in the following categories: At The Bar/In The Restaurant and On The Street.

[Note* All photos are mine, with the exception of the botifarra and pan amb tomquet shots in the “In The Restaurant” section.]

At The Bar:

L’ovella Negra/Calle de Los Sitges/5-08003 Barcelona/tel.933171087

Through the winding back-streets off of the main La Rambla, behind a wrought-iron door, is L’ovella Negra (Black Sheep). Touted as a “rustic tavern”, this watering-hole is indeed rustic, set in a windowless cave-like building with several crowded nooks of beer barrels doubling as tables. The main room is table upon table of young Catalonians and tourists surrounding centerpieces of huge jugs of beer and sangria, which they take turns filling and refilling their glass with. The strangest part was the lack of music in the bar, replaced by dozens of chattering 20-somethings.

We met up with some friends from Texas here, and with 50% of our group being Basque, ordered an obligatory jug or two of kalimotxo. Unfortunately they made it with a sweet wine, which really threw off the taste, so if you visit, stick with the advertised beer/sangria specials.

Cheap drinks, fun atmosphere and worth a stop if you’re in the area.

Ice Bar Barcelona/Drop down to Barceloneta Beach by the Casino de Barcelona Stairs, or by Carrer de la Marina. Between Shôko and Sotavento Beach Club.

Bars made entirely of ice (including glassware and light fixtures!) are found all over the globe—so what makes Ice Bar Barcelona so special? It happens to be the first of its kind located on the Barceloneta beach, in a super-trendy promenade of bars and beach clubs.

Donning futuristic-looking silver thermal jackets and gloves, we headed into the bone-chilling -5°C room. Ice benches covered in fur blankets lined the corners, gorgeous ice carvings scattered throughout, topped off by flat-screens playing Ice Age (a bit over-the-top!) Entrance fee (a little steep for my taste at 15 Euros) includes a drink and you can choose from a number of chilly Absolut-infused drinks or a (literally) ice-cold beer. Thankfully, I was prepared in boots and leggings and ready to stay in the ice bar for awhile, but the Vasco was less fortunate in his flip flops and shorts, making our total time inside less than what I desired!

We spent the rest of the night defrosting in the “hot” bar, which is in the same building, and seemed to be kept warmer than normal for those emerging from the frigid next-door. Old school R&B, a lively international crowd and a drink on the house made my stay here enjoyable and worth the extra pennies!

El Bosc de las Fades/Pasaje de la Banca 7/Barcelona, Spain 08002/tel.933172649

Located in a part of Las Ramblas, down a quiet alley near the wax museum lies a quirky, must-see bar: El Bosc de las Fades (The Forest of the Fairies). Admittedly a tourist attraction, it’s full without being unbearably crowded, and (thank goodness!) non-smoking.

Enter into a dark, windowless and decked-out forest scene complete with gnarled trees, babbling brooks and forest sounds playing in the background. It’s like the American concept of Rainforest Cafe without being so kitschy. Dimly lit lanterns hang from branches over tables of tree trunks with toadstools for seats. Definitely a fun rest-stop from the seemingly never-ending Las Ramblas.

In The Restaurant:

Antico Caffe/Calle Gran de Garcia, 152/08012 Barcelona

We spent a quiet morning sipping on coffee in this neighborhood cafe, tucked away from the touristic center. The menu is only in Catalan, so unless you can spot the similar words to Spanish, you’ll be playing a guessing game. Order the traditionally Catalan Pa amb tomàquet (toast with olive oil and tomato) or one of the variety of tomato and ham sandwiches at the counter. Croissants here are a must.

Palmero/Barnasit Calle Almirall Cervera, 4, Barcelona, 08003 

We ate lunch here with some friends who happen to be Barcelona locals. It’s within walking distance (10 minutes) from La Sagrada Familia, yet still relatively off the touristed track. I tried the most emblematic Catalonian dish on the menu: botifarra amb mongetes, or Catalan sausage with white beans. Really delicious, and something more to add to the list of favorite; keeping Spain unbeatable in the ham/pork category of world cuisine. 

Stay tuned for the continuation of my time in Barcelona!

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