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!

Tarragona Through the Ages

Tarragona Through the Ages

Spring in Spain – – Saturday, May 12, 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!

All aboard for Tarragona!
Today’s day trip takes us southwest along the coast to the Roman outpost of Tarraco, much more important than Barca, as Barcelona was called, millennia ago.

We walk up from the train station past the Roman Arena, used for varied concerts and events today. We visited in November, planning this daytrip, and have been looking forward to sharing this many-layered town with our guests.

Throughout the town Roman relics jut into daily life – an ancient arch in the middle of a market square,

a restaurant tucked under the ancient vaults of the Circus.

We enjoy spotting more recent touches of beauty and history as well – a sinuous Art Nouveau boutique,

and a really lovely patch of decor high on a wall – like a lace doily etched into the façade.

At the base of stairs ascending to the Cathedral medieval arches lead to the Call, the Jewish quarter of town,

and on the site of the Roman forum, the peaceful cloister beside the cathedral invites us to relax,

as doves coo and lush roses perfume the air.

Sights, shopping, and lunch fill our day, and we return to Barcelona in time for an evening concert in the fabulous Palau de Musica Catalana.

Inside and out, it’s a masterpiece of Modernista design, and we fill our eyes with the beauty of the stained glass ceiling and surrounding garden- like decor.

We’re thrilled with our seats, just above the musicians – beyond my knees Ivan Fischer, the charismatic conductor of the Budapest Festival Orchestra seems almost near enough to touch!
Our perch is the ideal spot to enjoy the concert, enveloped by the music beneath us.

Vistas and Tapas in Barcelona

Vistas and Tapas in Barcelona

Monday, November 21, 2011
Barcelona, Spain

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
Next on the itinerary: New Year’s Jazz in Italy

We like to choose a different route each time we walk in a city or town, so we can see as much as possible. Meandering through the Eixample district of Barcelona is an adventure. You never know what you’ll see – the district is quite a showcase for Catalan Modernista architects. This morning we walk down Carrer Ausias Marc and spot a tree holding up a balcony. The grafitti rather subdues the pleasure of the view, but it’s still intriguing.

Just down the carrer we pop into an open foyer to admire a swirly door, Barcelona’s Art Nouveau at its traditional best.

In a few minutes more, now in the historic district closer to the beach, we’ve stepped back into the 18th century, with the elegant sgraffito of this 1763 beauty.

But the Modernistas have made it to this street too, with the over-the-top extravaganza of the Palau de la Música Catalana.

Designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner in the early 1900’s, it’s covered inside and out with astounding detail.

Even the ticket window is a wonder!

We’ve been reading about the newly-hip and renovated Born District and are eager to get to know this area. The Santa Caterina market, a cornerstone of the Born since 1848, was brilliantly renovated in 2005

and is a stunner inside and out.

Where better to find a market-fresh lunch than right in the market? With a wall planted with herbs at one end,

and a tapas bar at the other, Cuines Santa Caterina satisfies us with a delicious lunch of small bites (full meals offered as well).

And once again, we see that US product, one of two that we’ve noticed in nearly every eatery in every country we’ve visited – tabasco sauce! The other US stalwart? Jack Daniels!

We peek into an ancient courtyard on our way back to the apartment – we’ve learned that if a door or gate is open, to look inside, where beauty often awaits us.

An afternoon of research and preparation for the next couple of days, then we walk to Tapas 24 to meet friends for dinner. We met Gerhard and Darlene a couple of years ago at a French tourist office conference in San Francisco. They happen to be in Barcelona for two days, researching for a future tour, as we are and we’re happy to see them again and hear of their latest adventures. They’ll return to Germany on Wednesday for one of several Christmas Market Tours.

The highlight of this meal was an appetizer- looking dessert: “olives” shaped of luscious dark chocolate, served with mini toasts drizzled with olive oil and sea salt. Oh for another plateful right now!Link