Tapas

Summer in Spain: Barcelona

After leaving the charming, beloved Andalusia region, I headed to my last stop in Spain – Barcelona. Barcelona has a different vibe from the other cities I saw, most of all being much more crowded with tourists. However, we had an amazing time exploring and learning about the Catalonia capital. Here are the highlights:

  1. My favorite part of visiting Barcelona was experiencing Festa Mejor de Gràcia, where the streets of the Gràcia neighborhood decorate in different themes for one week. This was truly one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. They put on amazing decorations in themes spanning from Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, haunted house, southwestern U.S., under the sea and SO many more! We walked around drinking caña (draft beer) from street vendors and admiring the hard work and passion of the residents of the neighborhood. I’m having trouble locating most of the pictures from this, which is saddening, but believe me when I say I couldn’t do the creativity and joyful vibe justice anyway.
  2. We did the Fat Tire bike tour which was a blast! This is a great way to see many different areas of the city, starting from the Gothic Quarter, to La Sagrada Familia, and ending at the beach (with much more in between). The tour guides had some ridiculous anecdotes about the city’s history which I’m still not sure I entirely believe. Note: I highly regret not getting to see the inside of La Sagrada Familia. This is probably obvious, but add it to your list of things to do in Barcelona.
  3. Again, goes without saying. Go to La Boqueria, the market in Barcelona. The crowds were overwhelming, but once you get past that you can truly appreciate the vendors and samples of fruit, chocolate, marzipan and more. They also have stands that serve full meals. I ordered this “taco” pictured below which ended up being a bowl of the colors-of-the-rainbow and was quite spicy and delicious. I wish I could remember the name of the stand.
  4. Pintxos are actually from the Basque region of Spain. However, I had no plans to go there this time around, so trying the culinary delight in Barcelona was good enough for me! We tried them at a restaurant called Euskal Etxea. You grab tasty tapas from a buffet bar and are charged for the number of toothpicks you’ve pulled at the end of your meal. I really don’t know what I was eating but it was ALL delicious!

    Other Spain adventures include…
    Sevilla
    Granada
    Malaga

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Summer in Spain: Granada

After an inappropriately long time of not updating the blog, I’m back! I have some exciting trips planned for 2017 that I want to write about. But first, let me finish giving you highlights of my Spain trip. In my latest post, I told you about my time in Sevilla, now I’ll share my experience in Granada, another beautiful city in Andalusia, Spain.

Here are the highlights…

  1. Tapas! Spain is famous for tapas, right? But did you know that every time you order a drink in Granada, you get complementary tapas? I think this is heaven on earth. Bodegas Castañeda (for vermouth and sangria) and Los Diamantes (for tinto de verano and fried seafood) were our favorite spots for drinks and tapas.
  2. Alhambra. It think this goes without saying, if you’re visiting Granada, plan to spend an entire day exploring the gorgeous gardens and plazas of Alhambra, meaning red castle in Arabic. The mix of Muslim and Christian influences are beautiful. We had trouble getting tickets, so I HIGHLY recommend buying them in advance.
  3. We spent an evening wandering Sacromonte, a traditional neighborhood in Granada. We walked the narrow roads and admired the beautiful white homes. We made our way to Mirador de San Nicolas for a gorgeous sunset view of Alhambra. I took a picture with my iPhone 4 which does nothing for the picturesque, emotional view.
  4. Alcaiceria Market was a fun day activity. The narrow street is crowded with leather goods, spices, teas and textiles overflowing from small shops. After spending the day shopping for unique goods, we took a break for Arabic tea.

     

  5. Dessert: Los Italiano’s for Cassata Ice Cream (I hear Michelle Obama visited here while she was in Spain) and THE. BEST. SWEET. EVER: Piononos. Piononos have changed my life and I wish I could find them in the U.S. They are sweet, rich, delicious cake rolls with a creamy topping and I need them back. We also had a unique experience of purchasing a box of cookies from nuns of Monasterio de San Bernado. This is something I’ll never have the chance to do again. You ring a bell and wait for a nun to greet you and trade a couple Euros for a box of delicious cookies.

    Those a just a few highlights of an amazing three days in Granada. This city is gorgeous and friendly – one that I would love to visit again.

    Check out more from my Spain trip:

    Sevilla
    Malaga
    Barcelona

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    View of the moon and Alhambra while walking the streets of Granada