Hola Barcelona! Day 1

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Barcelona, Spain, Europe, Story

IMG_7430Long flights to Europe are always a hassle.  Counting the hours and calculating how many more movies I can watch makes it even more cumbersome.  Then again, I find it difficult to sleep – too excited and concerned with the kids.

After 22 hours of total travel time, we have arrived!  Immigration and Baggage Claim was a breeze and as we exited, Marc and his dad, Brad were there for us!  We loaded our luggage into their spacious Red Volkswagen Vans, strapped Kristiana onto her highchair and we were off to Las Ramblas!

Petit Palace Opera Garden Las Ramblas

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Our hotel was conveniently located in the centre of Barcelona, between Las Ramblas and La Boquería, specially designed for families, business and couples: it hides an indoor garden with ancient trees where you can fully enjoy Barcelona’s great weather and atmosphere.

IMG_7432Las Ramblas

First on the agenda was to experience the vibrant Las Ramblas. It is the most famous street in Barcelona – a wide boulevard connecting Plaça de Catalunya, a busy square, and the Columbus Monument by the city’s waterfront.
The often crowded street is popular with tourists and locals alike. The middle part of the Rambla is pedestrianized and bordered by trees. Kiosks, flower stalls and street artists are in abundance. Traffic passes on either side of the pedestrian area where there are restaurants and bars to chill out as you watch passersby.

The Waterfront

Prior to the 1992 Olympics, Barcelona revitalized its waterfront, which is presently one of the city’s liveliest areas. What’s so unique to Barcelona is that the beaches are a stone’s throw from the city center and Ciutat Vella (OldCity) with a beautiful, long boardwalk stretching for miles along the Mediterranean Coast. The Olympics also brought a handful of man-made beaches which complement the natural ones adjacent to them. The farther up or down the coast you go, the wider and cleaner the beaches become, with many of the nicest ones no more than a 20-30 minute day trip.

IMG_8647

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Guide-g187497-i5150-Barcelona_Catalonia.html

One of the most picturesque places to dine in Barcelona, is along the boardwalk. Stretching from the W Hotel to Frank Gherry’s famous fish and beyond, there is no lacking for seaside eateries in the city. From the chiringuitos on the sand to the restaurants with a more birds eye view right across the boardwalk, the city is rampant with delicious and beautiful dining locales.

Sadly, our group of 14pax was not accommodated in Xiringuito Escriba.  Anton and I had such a great meal there the last time, so we really wanted to share it with the family.  This delicious seaside restaurant combines quality dining with mouth watering food. Founded in 1992 right around when the Olympics came to Barcelona, owner, Joan Escriba continued his enthusiasm for innovation in the kitchen. This is a great beachfront restaurant offering a variety of tapas on its extensive menu with a strong specialty in seafood and cocktails.

Nevertheless, a few paces back, we found ourselves by La Barcelonetta.  We chanced upon this popular restaurant – La Barca De Salamanca.  Locals were already saving their seats early, so we were convinced this was the place to try. Little did we know that this was a big favourite in BCN.  As we were led to our seats, we couldn’t help but admire the fresh catches of the day, displayed on ice outside the main restaurant doors.

The Steamed Mussels were so juicy, we were sipping the broth with butter and herbs.  Both the Paella De Mariscos and Paella Negra were still cooking in its broth when served with tender and succulent ingredients as well.  The staff found our little girl charming so they kept on giving us extra tapas and dessert.  We also liked the Melocoton (Non-Alcoholic Peach Cocktail) shots they made us drink with the Tarta De Santiago (Cake).

Overall, we had a delectable lunch with great service in La Barca.  Another great Paella and Mariscos Go To Place discovery by the beach.

Tapas Crawl

Tucking into some delicious Spanish cuisine is top of the list for many visitors to Barcelona and one of the best ways to enjoy the wonderful gastronomy of the city is of course by sampling some of its finest tapas. From spicy patatas bravas and home made croquettes to fresh tomato bread.

The best way to enjoy tapas is to do it like many locals – on a culinary bar crawl, stopping off in different spots for a nibble here and there. And this certainly lends itself perfectly to combining the top-notch tapas of Barcelona with discovering the best sights of the city.

http://www.apartmentbarcelona.com/blog/2013/11/20/barcelona-tapas-route/

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