Barcelona, Spain

Finally, my last stop in Spain…Barcelona!  The flavors, the history, the Architecture, the light! All intoxicating!

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We stayed in a Boutique Hotel on famous La Rambla. Right across the street was a strip lined with cafes. It must have been a mile long!

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I would recommend for anyone in Barcelona to stay there. The service was impeccable. 

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The views from the rooftop were breathtaking. And there were often street musicians serenading the passers by with beautiful music.

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Some establishments become an intrinsic part of a city. This is true of Restaurant Seven Portes which was the first place our cab driver recommended when we asked about a very good place to eat. It was delightful! And there was so much history there, going back to actors like Charlton Heston–we even sat in “his” booth! This restaurant is a must!

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They’re known for their black rice clams, sangria, and spinach barceloneta. They also have amazing paella–a rice dish made, traditionally, with spicy chorizo sausage, chicken, and shellfish. Here’s a recipe for a delicious grilled version. It’s quite a bit of work, but it’s well worth it!

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We visited the aquarium. The colors that nature creates always amaze me!

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One amazing sight was the Sagrada Familia. Designed by Gaudi, it’s is a sight to behold! Gaudi himself is buried there beneath the Nave. He dedicated the last decades of his life to this project, which was only 25% completed by his death.

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This, and the photo above, are of the Main Entrance devoted to the Resurrection. The first mass was scheduled for Saint Joseph’s Day on March 19th 2007, which was 125 years after its foundation stone was laid.

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The history and architecture left me speechless!  We waited in line to get went inside and booked tickets to get up to the top of the building in a small, rickety elevator up to the Spires. Only two couples could fit in! Once out, we curved around very narrow walks to climb even higher (if you could believe that or not) for the best views. Although a bit scary, it was well worth it to see the city laid out below!

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These corn cob spires are the bell towers; each one representing an apostle.

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At the very top of the building you can see the fruit topped spires. The Crypt Apse 11 and Nativity Facade are the most beautiful elements of the building completed in Gaudi’s lifetime.

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The building was still under completion when I was there and still has many years to go. In fact, is it not anticipated to be finished until 2026, the centenary of Gaudi’s death.

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La Boqueria Market in Barcelona is a large public market in the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona, Spain. It’s entrance is off La Rambla, not far from Liceu–Barcelona’s Opera House. The Market has a diverse selection of goods. It was here where I saw my first lamb head and eye balls, as well as freshly caught eels. Quite a culinary adventure. Of course it’s also where I tasted the delicious candied orange slices that are so traditional of the region.

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Spanish food is delicious and almond and orange (using local Valencia oranges, of course) cake was an amazing treat!  Between the paella, candied fruit from the market, tapas, and this Valencia Orange Cake…my tastebuds were blissfully satisfied! Add the incredible architecture, history, sea, people and light, who wouldn’t fall in love with Barcelona?!