B is for Barcelona – September 17, 2009

We slept until 9:00 AM, which was not too surprising given the length of our travel days.  We hit the street at 10:00 and after a quick breakfast at a nearby bakery/café we began our Thursday adventure.

The best way to explore any European city is on foot and today’s adventure did nothing to change our opinion.  Our hotel is off the Gran Vía so we headed in that direction and within twenty minutes we were walking past the university and in another five we had made our way to the Rambla de las Flores y Pájaros.  It was jammed with both natives and tourists.  We made our way to the central market and did a quick cruise of its aisles.  I continue to be amazed at the variety of choices that the Spanish shopper has when visiting the market.  The variety of fish and shellfish is just dizzying and I am always dumbstruck when I see the varieties of cured ham that are featured in every market.  The price range often leaves me dumfounded, also.

We continued our journey through the maze of back alleys and slowly, but surely, made our way to Gaudi’s Templo de la Sagrada Familia.  We first visited what was essentially the skeleton of the building in 1974.  Progress was rather slow in the ensuing years when we visited, primarily because much of the building had to be hand carved.  However, with the advent of the computer that allows a stone cutting machine to precisely cut the needed size of stone time after time that rate of progress has been dazzling.  Although it is still a work in progress, he building is being used for daily masses.  We circled the building and took a number of photos from a variety of angles.  I will post some here and when Susan uploads her photos to Smugmug you will see some exceptional shots.

The skies were darkening as we trekked back to el Paseo de Gracia and made our way to one of our favorite restaurants, La Costa Gallega.  It was packed, as it always is.  We had a lovely lunch that consisted of pan con tomate, pimientos de Padrón, mejillones a la marinera and pulpo gallego.  We also enjoyed a bottle of Albariño, a crisp white wine which is just now being discovered by many Americans.  We finished off lunch with a café cortado and made our way back to the hotel and that is where I am writing this entry.

Tomorrow we take a 9:00 AM train to Valencia and take possession of our apartment.  We can hardly wait to get settled and unpacked so that we can continue our adventures.

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