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The second instalment of our ‘Back in Barcelona’ post takes us to some of our favourite places.
Churches, Cats & Cocktails
Day two started with a walk down to the famous Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria for breakfast. We wandered around all the different stands selling everything from fresh fish, pastries, meat, sweets and beautifully displayed fruits and juices. This is one of the busier markets for tourists in Barcelona because of its location just off La Rambla. If markets are your thing, we highly recommend you check out Mercat de Sant Antoni and Mercat de Santa Caterina. Both just as incredible as La Boqueria, just not as busy!
After picking up a couple of sandwiches, some fruit, and some fresh juice, we headed into the Gothic Quarter. As much as we’ve been to Barcelona and visited some of its many churches, we have never actually been inside Barcelona Cathedral.
This place is stunning. It even has 13 of its own geese in honour of Saint Eulalia, whose body lies in the cathedral crypt. You can find these outside in the cloister courtyard. Being a church admission is free, so we always make sure we throw a few euros into a donation box.
Time For Some Culture
Our next stop would be another one of the city’s beautiful churches, the Basilica of Santa Maria Del Mar. This church features in the best-selling novel La Catedral del Mar (The Cathedral of the Sea) which was then turned into a Netflix series in 2018. Fairly close by is the Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi. Another gorgeous church building.
Looking For Somewhere To Eat ?
All this walking and exploring made us hungry and thirsty, so we hit one of the Gothic Quarters many Pintxos bars. Pintxo (Pincho) is a lot different to tapas. Delicious snacks often served with bread on a skewer or small toothpick. There are many types. My favourites are the ones served with a wedge of Spanish tortilla. We found a great little place called El Drac de Sant Jordi. Four Pintxos, a beer and a small Crema Catalana desert cost us €20.
If you are looking for some sweet treats and coffee while you explore the backstreets, and near toBasilica of Santa Maria Del Mar, is Bubó. These guys are masters of creating delicious homemade pastries and chocolates. They serve a selection of coffees and these can be eaten inside or taken away.
Getting Lost Looking For A Kiss
We finished our afternoon of sightseeing with two other places we had not yet been to during past visits to Barcelona. The first would be the incredible mural, ‘The world begins with every kiss‘. Made up of thousands of photos of locals and unveiled for the 300th anniversary of Catalonia Day. We actually got lost looking for this. We pinged it with Google maps and it took us into a random side street nowhere near where we needed to be.
We took to the internet once more and after some digging; we found its correct location. Guess where it was? Very close to Barcelona Cathedral, it had been under our nose all the time. The mural actually stands in a small square called Plaça d’Isidre Nonell. So if you want to visit this piece of art, make a note of this.
The last place we would visit today would be the famous cat statue of Barcelona. Simply named ‘Cat‘ by Fernando Botero. It sits staring at the bottom of Rambla del Raval. Made in Botero’s typical chubby style, you may have also seen his ‘Horse‘ in Terminal 2 of Barcelona airport.
The Best Cocktails In Barcelona
Later that evening, after dinner, we ended up in one of our favourite places to drink in Barcelona. The famous Boadas Cocteleria, cocktail bar. After walking miles around the city during the day, we definitely deserved a cocktail or two, or three.
Boadas is to be found just off La Rambla down a small side street. Said to be one of the first cocktail bars in Spain this place takes you back. Opened back in the 1930s, the bar staff here all wear smart tuxedos and ties and serve classic blends. There is a small menu to choose from (there never used to be) but ask for anything and they will make it. It has a really nice relaxed and friendly atmosphere, a place for locals and tourists alike and it doesn’t get overcrowded. Perfect and recommended by us!
Mi Casa es Su Casa
Our last day would be all about the Casas. We had a walk up to Casa Milà (La Pedrera) and took a few photos of the outside. The queues here were still big for the time of year, so we gave it a miss. We have visited here before though, so we were only after updating our image gallery.
Casa Amatller, The House Of Chocolate
Next, somewhere new. Casa Amatller designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch of Casa de les Punxes fame. Along with Casa Batlló and Casa Lleó Morera, it makes up the city’s famous Illa de la Discòrdia (The Block of Discord) for its unique and modernist style buildings. It was home to chocolatier Antoni Amatller and his family.
We did the video guided tour where you go around the house with a guide from room to room. Here, you will learn about the history of the family and their chocolate dynasty. Afterwards you get a cup of traditional Amatller hot chocolate to taste for yourself. You can buy a vast selection of chocolate from the gift shop too. We did, and its delicious.
Casa Batlló, The House Of Bones
Next up, Casa Batlló. Designed by yes, you’ve guessed it, Antoni Gaudí. Yet another notch on his ‘master of design’ headboard. We both absolutely love this building and I am such a huge fan of his work. I have books and footage online on just about everything the man has done.
The locals also affectionately call this building Casa dels Ossos (House of Bones) because of the way it looks.
It is said that the top of the building, where the middle tower, cross and bulb are, resembles a lance. The arched roof and tile works resemble the spine of a dragon with the lance being plunged into the back of the beast. A reference to the patron saint of Catalonia, Sant Jordi.
More Tasty Tapas
We finish our blog with yet more food photos from a super little place we found called Ciudad Condal (Ciutat Comtal) for quality tapas. You can find it on Rambla de Catalunya in the Eixample district of the city. Worth the visit. Just look how incredible it all looks, it tasted fantastic.
I am sure we will visit Barcelona again. It’s like our spiritual home. This year, we have other plans. In 2019, we are heading back over to Cuba in May and Sorrento in September. Who knows where else we may end up. Trips and blogs are already being planned for both destinations.
If you would like to read part one of this blog, here it is Back In Barcelona, Part One.