Barcelona Olè - Tapas, Sea and Friendship
Barcelona was the meeting point for the family in October - we decided on the destination last year when we (Esther and I) were in Ireland to visit another joint first cousin, Sarah. On that occasion we decided to meet the next time with our children in Barcelona: three cousins and three second cousins in the heart of Spain!
By the way this is the link to the Irish adventures: http://www.chianticookingexperience.com/blog-cooking-experience/chianti-cooking-experience-on-tour-ireland-in-the-clouds-and-gourmets.html
Sunny, breezy and warm, Barcelona saw us gathered in a fairly central residential neighborhood, Gràcia. Quieter and less expensive than in the city centre, it was well connected by metro and buses and we were so close to the Rambla that we could walk there in half an hour.
While my cousins and their children visited the Aquarium and the Camp Nou,
me and Priscilla (my daughter) enthusiastically joined in a free walking tour of the city: in two hours (even if that does not seem very much) you can see the city with a local guide who tells you the history, the anecdotes and curiosities that we would otherwise have not discovered without testing our knowledge of the Spanish language.
Priscilla won without a shadow of a doubt but I also "acquitted" myself quite well: I wanted to have a pleasant excuse to visit Spain every year and so I started to study Spanish for real - I finally stopped randomly adding the “s” to the italian words thinking of speaking Spanish.
Later, then we gathered all together, we visited the Parc Guell and the MontJuic, without forgetting the walks up and down the Rambla and a quick visit to the "La Boqueria" market, where we resisted everything except the brittle, a Spanish specialty inherited from the Arabs.
The market is in a very beautiful historical building, and like many other markets around the world it is popular with tourists; the first one that comes to mind is the Central Market
The Parc Guell is a wonderful park with Gaudì's architectural and artistic works.
Visiting the Parc Guell allows you to completely detach from the rhythms of the city. We booked a visit for early in the morning because it is a much visited destination and in this way we could enjoy the park the most, without too many people.
Priscilla, who is passionate about drawing and watercolours, stopped a few hours in the park to draw one of the eccentric buildings that seem to me to come from an underwater realm.
Montjuic is the point that dominates the city, from here you can enjoy a spectacular view of the sea and Barcelona. In ancient times, a simple watchtower was built on this hill to look out for enemies coming from the sea, which was later developed into a defensive fortification by the Bourbons in the 17th century.
We also tried to visit the Picasso museum, but as in many European cities public musuems in Barcelona are free on the first Sunday of the month and so when we arrived the museum was full and we were not allowed to enter. So now we have a reason to return as soon as possible!dove abbiamo resistito a tutto tranne che al torrone, specialità anche spagnola ereditata dagli arabi.
After all this culture, it's time to talk about food and to list our top 5 restaurants that we tried in Barcelona:
Cerveseria catalan - our first dinner, recommended by Marcello, a Florentine friend who has lived in Barcelona for ten years (his parents fled here when he was 20 years old and he being open found a great the new life).
Very trendy place, full of "barceloni" and tourists. I have never seen a restaurant so crowded in my short life with long queues and continuous turnover at the tables. The hour and a half
of waiting was fully rewarded by the quality and variety of tapas with particular attention to raw food and fish.
Salambò Cafè - casual place, perfect for a quiet and unpretentious dinner. Great for families: they have good Spanish food, tapas, but also Italian dishes and international favourites that children love.
Vegatalia Born - tried this place for lunch with Priscilla. Mediterranean cuisine, all ethnic and vegetarian. Excellent smoothies, teas and infusions. Near the Picasso museum.
Addis Abeba - the very nice owner recommended a dish to share consisting of a teff ( a type of cereal) crepes called Injera, which is served as a dish of bread on which vegetables, legumes and stews of various meats are laid, more or less hot and spicy.
Great food, excellent company and finally we ate with our hands.
Can Majò - the best paella in Barcelona, highly recommended by our friend Marcello but unfortunately we did not get there, so when I come back to visit the Picasso Museum I'll try it!
What else can I tell you... I discovered that in the houses of Barcelona there is no heating system: just today as I am writing this article, Marcello called me to say, in a disconsolate voice that " today in Barcelona it is raining ... " yes but it was the first time .. .
Until next time - La pròxima vez