Nom de Plumage

March 30, 2013

The Sun Shines on Barcelona

Filed under: Travel Journal — nomdeplumage @ 3:17 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Mercato Barcelona St. Josep (La Boqueria)

Mercato Barcelona St. Josep (La Boqueria) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)








Something that surprises me whilst on my travels, is the way I have fluffed my way in using a ticket machine to buy train tickets. No easy feat when you cannot understand the language. But today, Barcelona is to bring me back to reality and start questioning if my luck has run out. I buy a ticket and when I insert it at the gate, the gate does not open. Believing my ticket is incorrect, I go and buy another and another, all with the same result. Anger and frustration slowly build to the surface, but I am determined that no gate is going to defeat me. After watching the locals, it dawned on me quickly, that it is not my ticket-purchasing skills tested, but my patience in not giving the gate ample time to register the ticket. Ok, so things work a little slower here in Barcelona and I just wasted several euros on tickets that were perfectly legitimate. You never stop learning.






A name so synonymous with the city is ‘Las Rambles’. The tourist hotspot and the locals favourite precinct, the long boulevard is surprisingly quiet. It is only 9 am and the tourists have yet to wake, giving me a little time to explore the strip on my own terms. The paved boulevard lined with trees provides some respite from the sun and adds beauty when the foliage is in full bloom. The countless souvenir stalls/shops offer cheesy fake trinkets  is repeated in every shop. But the one place that really appeased my taste, is the infamous market ‘La Boqueria’. Markets within Europe, are the backbone and the main shopping precinct for the locals. In western countries, it is the shopping malls and although they offer everything under the one roof, there is something fundamentally depressing about the shopping experience. The market, however, offers quality, freshness and an amazing vibe that feeds every sense.






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By now, the slumbering city is wide awake and the tourists have emerged as well as the glorious sun. I am still in shock, but loving the feel of warmth on my naked arms, and feet that are not cold or wet from snow and rain. At the end of Las Rambles, is a modern marina that has hundreds of expensive yachts moored in a glorious setting with their masts swaying gently to the rhythm of the sea. The crowds have yet to make it this far and the only action, is of the restaurants preparing for lunch service. A lazy stroll along the wooden decks and over the bridges, I share the marina with joggers and young families.




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The stunning architecture of Barcelona is predominately ‘Art Nouveau‘ or ‘Modernisme‘ in Catalonia, but hiding within the city centre, is the ‘old town’. I stumble into the narrow dark streets, a maze of corners and surprises and get lost within the tapas bars. The sun barely penetrates within the high stone walls, adding an element of mysteriousness. Here, I encounter my first Gaudi masterpiece, in the form of a gothic cathedral. Disguised in heavy scaffolding, the gothic interior is laced with gold and beautiful art. It is one of his earlier works and a precursor to the magnificence that was yet to come.




Barcelona has surprised me. Wide tree-lined boulevards, art nouveau buildings, parks, marina, sunshine and an amazing vibe.




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Something that I have been anxiously looking forward to when I decided to come to Spain, is Paella. But as a single traveller, I was quickly to learn that this signature dish is for two people. I would try to order it when I discovere it on a menu, only I am rejected. I understood the reasoning behind the madness, but today luck is on my side and I received my first and only paella. I discovered a boulevard of restaurants, that lined the inside of a busy road. Here, I sat under the sun and ate a delicious saffron infused paella. The portion was beyond my scope, and shamefully I left about a quarter behind, hence the reasoning for paella shared by two people.

















Paella (Photo credit: Wikipedia)





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