Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Beautiful Green Barcelona

Barcelona is a bustling metropolis. Full of beautiful and historical landmarks and still a sleek, urban landscape with amazing food and wonderful people.

Churches and cathedrals that date back to 11oo, Roman ruins so intact that historians can identify rooms designed for cooking in large vats, dying clothes and bathing -- all complete with water channels.

Gaudi's multiple world-renown art and architecture, including La Sagrada Familia, which I will post about next.

Las Ramblas, the most famous street in Barcelona, is a tree lined paradise of fresh flowers, love birds for sale and the home to the Boqueria market that will make your head spin with fresh food and wine and cava and tastings that make you never want to leave.

The market was filled with fresh fruit of all kinds.

Seafood played a prominent role in the market.
Peppers and spices and garlic galore to season great Spanish food.

And, most importantly, the famed Serrano ham and other charcuterie. I could eat the Serrano ham every single meal, and we almost did! It's at the top of the list of Tapas in every cafe (and there is one on every corner and 5 in between corner to corner on every block).
We ate dinner one night at a fabulous and trendy restaurant that was an anchor to another fresh market and I fell in love with this green wall. Because it was dark - dinner is LATE in Barcelona - and I didn't want to disturb the folks sitting next to it - my camera was lacking. But each row features fresh herbs used in the restaurant.
Like Italy, cypress trees are everywhere in Spain.
As were these beautiful trees with vivid yellow blooms. I never did discover the name of the tree, but they were such a breath of fresh air in the heart of the city.


Many balconies also sported beautiful plants and planter boxes.
Cypress trees weren't the only stars of the show -- they had to compete with beautiful palms all over Barcelona. Its beaches bordered the beautiful Mediterranean. Cloudy and rainy weather couldn't keep us from the beach though.

We did spend a few hours in the sand - button sweaters and all.

Our daughter was oblivious to the wind and cold as she went in up to her knees, searching for shells and rocks and building a sand castle.

And, the port was overflowing with beautiful sailboats, yachts and three cruise ships.

Las Ramblas - which seems to go on forever -- is also a tree lined oasis.
More cypress...
Another unidentified and beautiful tree with exotic bark.

It was a fascinating, exciting and educational adventure. And boy, did we eat well and drink fabulous coffee. It was everything I hoped it would be and more.

Next, how Gaudi's love of nature turns into art. A UNESCO World Heritage site, La Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia is the most phenomenal architecture I've ever seen throughout Europe, Greece, Turkey and the USA.