Love At First Tapas

by Anna

After an incredible month-and-a-half in France, topped off by a week of music, sea and sunshine in Sete, Johnny and I bid “au revoir” to France and hopped our train to Spain! We were both excited to tackle a new country, and I was especially excited since it was my first time to Spain. After a pick-pocketing run-in that was a little too close for comfort on the metro (ie: Johnny catching a girl’s hand down his pocket, and another guy half unzipping my bag), we arrived – with all of our worldly possessions in tact – in Barcelona at our cool little spot, Solyk Guesthouse, in the Gothic quarter. Any reservations from our subway experience immediately evaporated once we hit the bustling streets around our hostel. After exploring the winding streets, beautiful palm tree-lined squares, some amazing cathedrals and the action-packed Las Ramblas, we headed to a local tapas spot to get our first taste of pinchos, or tapas speared with toothpicks which are then counted at the end of your meal to determine how many you ate and what you owe…AKA: Johnny and I in heaven. We probably spent a good few hours at the tapas bar, loading up our plates with different types of pinchos, sipping red wine and talking with others at the bar. We met a really nice Australian guy from Perth, living in NYC, who was in town speaking at a veterinary conference. Did you know that one can specialize in hard and soft palette mouth surgery on animals? Well, we learned all about it and made a new friend.

Tapas! The first of many pinchos…

The next morning we decided to test Johnny’s Spanish language skills at the famous Boqueria Market. We thought we had seen some amazing markets in France, but this one really topped them all. Aisle after aisle of stands overflowing with ripe fruits and vegetables, glistening piles of shellfish and giant whole fish with jagged teeth positioned artfully in seas of ice, hanging ‘jamon’ dripping fat in plastic cones, all sorts of unidentifiable animal parts, mountains of spices, freshly made pastas, and everything in between were interspersed with small tapas counters featuring the surrounding ingredients. One of the main attractions of the market were the colorful arrays of fruit platters and blended fruit drinks to go. From green, violet, orange and crimson, cups lined the stalls in mounds of crushed ice. We couldn’t resist the mango-coconut and strawberry-coconut chilled juices and the bowls of kiwi, papaya and dragon fruit….a delicious treat that we hadn’t seen since our drive to Hana on our honeymoon.

We spent the rest of the day checking out some of the major sites in Barcelona, like Antonio Gaudi’s fairytale-like Park Guell and unbelievable Sagrada Familia, which was really unlike anything I have ever seen. And what better way to end a great day of sight seeing than with another night of tapas! This time we took our own “tapas tour,” starting with a cool Cerverceria with an awesome beer selection (making Johnny very happy) and ending with double scoops of icecream and an impromptu thunder storm.

Entrance to Park Guell Picnic in the park
What is more impressive? Sagrada Familia or Johnny’s beard? Sagrada Familia
Looking left from our room’s balcony Looking right from our room’s balcony

We made the most of our two days in this gorgeous, lively city, and are looking forward to another week in Sevilla in the Andalusia region of Spain!

The airport didn’t stop us from more tapas!

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