Friday, January 15, 2016

Hola Barcelona - Part 3

This post is the third and last post of our Barcelona vacation (see part1 and part 2). I love writing about it because our trip to Barcelona has been one of the most fun family vacations we've ever had. I can say that it’s probably because of the very festive attitude of the Spanish people that makes you feel you’re really on a holiday. There’s something in the atmosphere that you always want to explore, to go with the flow, and to discover what it is in the city that makes people vibrant. The food, architecture, my pilgrimage to Montserrat and the beach, makes me think that Barcelona has it all!

Plaza Catalonia | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
Beautiful flowers and fountains at the Plaza Catalunya at the center of Barcelona.

Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog

After our pilgrimage to Montserrat, we went back to exploring La Rambla which was where we were staying. Among the places we were itching to explore was St. Josep La Bouqeria, which is a market along La Rambla. The vibrant colors of fruits, fruit shakes, and meat were so very appetizing. Mary and my husband -- both fruit lovers -- were in absolute heaven!  In my case, I was in cloud nine when my husband pointed out that there were fresh Spanish chorizos among some of the savoury delectables -- they were definitely one of the best I've ever had.  We tasted different types of ham of course, but one thing I like about this market is it has both the dry and wet areas.  So if you happen to be renting a service apartment instead of staying in a hotel, you can buy some fresh meats and seafood and just cook it yourself. This is something we would love to do in the future especially since we miss eating plain white rice during this trip ;)

St Josep La Boqueria | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
The intriguing coat of arms of St Josep -- visible while walking along La Rambla.

Fruits | St Josep La Boqueria | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
Fruit heaven -- pineapples, watermelon, dragonfruit, kiwi, cantaloupes and a whole lot of other stuff!  And all that for just a couple of US dollars.

Fruit Shakes | St Josep La Boqueria | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
Ice cold fresh fruit shakes -- awesome to have in your hand to beat the summer heat!

Empanada | St Josep La Boqueria | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
Tired of fruit?  They also have a bunch of other delicious stuff like meat-stuffed bread, tortillas, etc.

Chorizo | St Josep La Boqueria | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
Hiding in plain sight -- the red Spanish chorizos that I love so much!

Jamon | St Josep La Boqueria | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
Meat lovers would love this market as well.  We loved their Spanish Chorizo and Jamon Iberico, among others!

After a few days of staying in Barcelona, we finally had time to enjoy the waterfront harbor, Port Vell (or Old Port) and enjoy the beach at La Barceloneta. Port Vell had so many urban developments like restaurants and malls. It is also where Barcelona Aquarium is located. Finally, it was Mary’s day!

Port Vell | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
When enjoying Barcelona, what better way to dress than wearing a dress from Barcelona-based brand like this Sophie Catalou Handkerchief Dress?

Barcelona Aquarium | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
Waiting in line to get tickets, Mary was excited just looking at the pictures outside the building.

Shark Tank | Barcelona Aquarium | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
Mary loved the Barcelona Aquarium -- especially the huge tank with lots and lots of swimming sharks!

We also had fun relaxing at Port Vell especially at night where you can see all the lights at the harbor.  It was a quiet time for me and my husband while our little girl fell asleep in her stroller ;)

Port Vell At Night | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog

Boardwalk | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
We took this picture while sitting on a bench by the harbor enjoying the sea wind and the scenery.

We love to walk especially when on trips.  From La Rambla, we chose to walk to La Barceloneta.  It was a long walk but we had fun exploring the area.  At Barceloneta, the crowd is younger and restaurants along these areas are also good.  In our experience, it is where we had great selections of seafood dishes. 

Beach | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog

La Barceloneta | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
Mary enjoying a dip in the Mediterranean.  The warm temperature of the beach is great coming from New England where most beaches are fed by arctic water coming from Canada.

Beach Life | La Barceloneta | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog

After wading at the beach, we had our dinner along the shore and it is where we had our best paella negra.  It was different because instead of rice, noodles were used.  It was just perfect and fulfilling.  We spent a few times going back to La Barceloneta relaxing at the beach and exploring some restaurants.  We had a taste of Cava Sangria too, which was quite stronger than the usual red sangria.  And for some reason, until this day whenever we order a Cava Sangria outside Spain we could not find the same type that we had at La Barceloneta.

Paella Negra | La Barceloneta | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
The best Paella Negra.  We've spent quite a lot of time since this vacation sampling Paella Negra in Boston, New York and elsewhere.  We haven't found a match yet.

Paella Soup | La Barceloneta | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
When in Rome, do as the Romans do.  When in Barcelona, take advantage of Paella and seafood.

Razor Clams | La Barceloneta | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
I love razor clams!

Cava Sangria | La Barceloneta | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
Ahh, our beloved Cava Sangria.

Last but definitely not the least, we also went to Mt. Montjuic to tour around the area, to check out the Olympic site and for family on trip like us, to see the Magic Fountain of Montjuic.  If you’re planning to go here, please make sure to check the schedule ahead of time as it doesn’t light up every day so we really planned ahead of time to see the fountain.  There were so many people in this area but it definitely was worth the experience.  Of course, our dear Mary had a fantastic time and she was dancing and singing along the tunes of the Magic Fountain.

Mount Montjuic | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
The Magic Fountain is a short and beautiful walk from the subway.  Mary's Imoga Dress is perfect for dancing.

Magic Fountain | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog

Magic Fountain Lights | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
The Magic Fountain and its moving waters with changing colors, accompanied by the full moon.  To this day, Mary talks about the Magic Fountain when hearing Katy Perry's "Fireworks", which was one of the songs played during the show.

During the last few hours of our stay in Barcelona, Mary was busy feeding pigeons at the Plaza Catalunya while I took the time to shop at La Corte Ingles.  Of course, shopping is also part of our itinerary.  As a buyer of an online kid’s boutique, I always see to it to explore local designers and brands.  I had a great time shopping at La Corte Ingles.  One thing I love to do when shopping abroad is to buy something local and I noticed that La Corte Ingles features great local Spanish brands with impressive craftsmanship.

Le Corte Ingles | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
Plaza Catalunya is lined with a bunch of departments stores -- one of them being La Corte Ingles.

Pigeons| Plaza Catalonia | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
One of Mary's favorite pastimes is feeding pigeons, and the pigeons here are very friendly.  Mary is wearing a dress from Siaomimi Play.

Oh Barcelona, we had so much fun exploring you!  From the busy crowds of Plaza Mayor at night and browsing interesting shops at the Gothic Quarter, our experience was just amazing.  

Plaza Mayor | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
Plaza Mayor at night

Gothic Quarter | Barcelona | Chichi Mary Blog
Gothic Quarter alley

This concludes our story about Barcelona -- such a beautiful and vibrant city that everytime we look back at our photos, we can't help but feel excited and feel the yearning to go back!  It was definitely worth the experience, and here's wishing we can go back soon!


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