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