Part 1: Following The Pintxos Trail
Part 2: San Sebastian Foodie Favorites & A Great, Big Steak
Part 3: Barcelona, Spain: “Angry” Eggs, Gung Ho for Gaudi, & Sexy Ham
Part 4: La Boqueria & El Born – A Photo Essay
There are 44 food markets in Barcelona, and La Boqueria is the mother of them all, dating way back to 1301. One of the grandest markets of Europe, its hundreds of stalls are scattered over a football-sized field covered by an expansive wrought-iron roof.
The layout is like being in a maze and a turn here or a slight right there yields colorful, mouthwatering surprises.
The market’s center is called a glorieta (traffic circle) and it’s here where seafood is sold. It’s also here where the crowds are thickest and loudest.
Sporting pinafores, these women offer everything hauled from the largesse of the Mediterranean. The assortment is astounding.
A bounty of bacalao, either dehydrated or rehydrated. The most coveted cut is the morro, or middle fillet.
All about olives at this stall plus some top-tier Spanish oils and deli items.
A plethora of pulses. The beans I have in Spain are some of the creamiest I’ve ever eaten.
The ingredients that make fine Spanish cuisine. Eggs here are large, their yolks a vibrant gold.
The incomparable succulence and sweetness of Spanish tomatoes.
It’s at La Boqueria where I familiarize myself with real saffron. Heady and pervasive, now that I’ve smelled it, I’ll never forget it (nor will I ever again be seduced by yellow dye #2).
Peppers for pleasure and heat.
Slabs of chuleton, rib-eye steaks just like what we had in Tolosa.
Cones of jamon and manchego. What a delicious snack this would be!
Fancy a pincho mixto, mixed skewers?
Now for something sweet. Turrones, nougat candy made in Spain and which we Filipinos are wild for.
Or perhaps we fancy some chocolates? I suddenly have this insane urge to do a cannonball-dive straight into all that sugar. What a dream come true that’d be for me!
But first, a rainbow of health:
I don’t know why it is, but every piece of fruit that I eat in Spain is exceptional – in color and flavor.
Aren’t these pretty?
La Boqueria is teeming with these juices, or zumos. I’d be hard-pressed to choose one of these pressed juices. (Pun intended).
I’m a sucker for dates, the edible kind. And coconuts too.
Browsing through the market can be a multi-sensory assault but there are plenty of stalls and restaurants for a respite.
I leave La Boqueria and walk to the end of La Rambla. There, the 200-foot Columbus monument looms over the city.
Not too far away from the monument, it’s astonishing to see a marina rise up in the middle of all this concrete. Known as Port Vell, the waterfront harbor has hotels, shopping centers, a museum, and best of all, an expanse of blue sea to watch the sea gulls fly idly by. Can you spot the birds in the photo?
A walk through El Born
El Born is a small district known for its hip character, arty flair, and unique fashion boutiques. Streets are confined but full of charm and surprises. I do a one-hour self-guided walk around El Born using a printed guide (see link at end of post). I enjoy myself thoroughly, and it is one of the best afternoons I have in Barcelona.
If you’re the observant type, you’ll appreciate the unusual accent like this one, a carved head.
Lending credence to its artsy character are narrow streets filled with graffiti.
I have a good time darting in and out of the fashion boutiques in this area filled with one of a kind finds. And the sunny day just makes everything all that much better.
At #23 Carrer Sombrerers is Casa Gispert, a famous long-time shop purveying coffee, chocolates, and nuts. It smells divine in here.
Placeta de Montcada is a lane lined with Gothic mansions circa the 14th century. Most of these structures have been converted into galleries and museums.
Remember what I said about being observant? Peeking into a seemingly out of the place doorway rewards me with this view of the Palau Dalmases. The intricacy of the patio’s carved staircase is worth appreciating.
Carrer de la Princesa is the street for the sweet-toothed like me! There’s Brunells pastry shop, and here, La Campana. Founded in 1890, its turron (nougat candy) is famous.
Yet more small alleys that seem to lead nowhere…
… until I look up to see a rather strange frieze imprinted with what looks like hieroglyphics along Carrer de l’Hostal de Sant Antoni. Told you this place is full of artsy surprises.
More snapshots of the various streets and scenes captured in El Born.
Placa de Comercial
Passeig del Born
At Placa del Palau, a plethora of choice for nibbles.
As I wend my way into yet another narrow street, I see something rising up ahead of me…
… it’s the Santa Maria del Mar cathedral. What a beautiful end to this walk.
Link to the one-hour walk around El Born. (Copy and paste into your browser).