Barcelona Bounty

Barcelona Bounty

May 2018 – Music and Markets Barcelona Tour
Barcelona, Spain

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
Why not join us on our newest tour in September – Bordeaux and Dordogne

Each day is unique and exciting around Barcelona – from Art Nouveau neighborhoods, gorgeous seaside, ground-breaking art such as Picasso and Miro, to today’s multi-layered Barri Gotic. Passing through bright and sunny Plaça de Sant Jaume, the administrative heart of both the city and the region, we’re enveloped in the warren of ancient streets of old town.
To the right of Sant Jaume is the cathedral, and before the crowds arrive we enjoy the peacefulness of the gothic cloister, with its 13 swans-a-swimming around the fountain. Not far away is a trace of yet-older civilization, a cluster of elegant Roman columns incorporated right into an apartment block! And here are the steps Columbus trod when he brought news of the New World to Queen Isabelle…around the corner from my favorite courtyard – the gorgeous Archives of the Crown of Aragon, built in the 1500s. Of course Music and Markets guests don’t want to miss Barcelona’s premier market, La Boqueria! And neither does anyone else – it’s always jam-packed! And overflowing with Spanish temptations from landand sea. Across the Ramblas, the main pedestrian walkway, narrow lanes are filled with more enticements – fulfill your flamenco dreams here, or purchase a fragrant candle from the oldest shop in Barcelona – Cerería Subirà. One of Barcelona’s don’t-miss venues is the magnificent Art Nouveau Palau de la Música Catalana, under whose glorious stained glass ceiling  we complete the day with some un-Catalan music, an evening of flamenco and opera.
Tastes and sights, smells and sounds, what a day full of Barcelona’s bounty!

A Barcelona Tapas Tour

A Barcelona Tapas Tour

Spring in Spain – – Wednesday, May 9, 2012, continued

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  Join us on a summer tour in Provence or our featured (and expanded!) 2012 Amsterdam/Belgium tour!

Barcelona is packed with intriguing delights: architecture from gothic to modernista, tastes from traditional to nouveau, neighborhoods from up-all-night to quiet lanes.

Tonight we’ll sample some of the many tapas bars … beginning with always-packed Xampanyet. Although tapas are not a typically Catalan culinary staple, they’ve become super popular in Barcelona, and Xampanyet (pronounced chahmpahnyet – it’s the champagne of Spain!) pours their own brand of the local bubbly, usually known as cava.

Its a madhouse, as always – elbow your way up to the bar and point at what you’d like. Noticing that we’re a group of 7, they find an empty corner for us and ask us what we want.
In a few minutes a bottle of Xampanyet is plopped on the marble counter, along with a couple of platters of jamon and peppers.

We chuckle at the “Degrees of Love” Thermometer on the wall – can you make it to red fever?

Now for someplace a bit calmer… and a different style of tapas: pintxos from the Basque region.  Euskal Etxea boasts a terrific spread of toothpick speared goodies – each one a mere €1.80 and REALLY good.

Help yourself to a plate, a glass of bubbly or wine, and graze down the bar, picking up your choice of pintxos.
Keep the toothpicks and pay up by counting how many when you’re done,
after standing inside or out chatting with friends as you munch.

And last of all, let’s sit down for a bit in Bar del Pla….and enjoy a platter of artichokes and a few other goodies in the quiet back room. A nice contrast to the busy stand-up bars.

Something chocolate and sweet sounds good… we make one more stop at the best gelateria in Barcelona, La Auténtica Gelatería on Placeta Montcada. The owner tells us about his training in Italy and hands out samples – yes, this is the real thing – a sweet finale to our evening tour.


Miró Musings and Lunch at the Beach

Miró Musings and Lunch at the Beach

Spring in Spain – – Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Interested in a Music and
Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!  Join us on a summer tour in Provence or our featured (and expanded!) 2012 Amsterdam/Belgium tour!

The Miró Exhibition that inspired this tour, Joan Miró and the Ladder of Escape, is at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC until August 12… well worth a visit if you’re in the area. Miró wanted his native Barcelona to have his own collection of art, and in 1972 asked his friend Josep Llluis Sert to design its home, the Fundació Miró, atop Montjuic Hill. The airy white space is a perfect backdrop for Miro’s work, which expresses his own colorful and playful language in sculpture, painting, textiles works and drawings.

Laia, our guide, translates his idiom for us, pointing out the changes in his work, especially visible in the civil war and repressed Franco years.

We enjoy watching the engagement of young schoolchildren, who easily respond to the bright colors and quirky squiggles and shapes of the art and the enthusiastic explanations of the guide.

Both inside

and out Miró’s creations fascinate and intrigue.

It’s a gorgeous day for an aerial swoop across the bay to the beaches of Barceloneta.

From the Montjuic Aerie we watch a crew training far below,

and bright swathes of fishing nets drying in the sun.

Down the tower elevator, and we’re soon walking along the beach,

past a relaxed (!) Homer,

to Can Majó, for some of the best seafood in Barcelona.

We begin with a few nibbles – olives, pa amb tomaquet (toasted bread rubbed with tomato and garlic – yum!), and some of my favorite fried artichokes.

Oh – have to try some razor clams too

with some icy Sangria to wash it all down.

But be sure to leave room for the house specialty, Fideua – Barcelona’s answer to paella.
Can Majó is another of our don’t miss Barcelona favorites – such delicious food in such a relaxing and beautiful place!