Free Barcelona Travel Guide – Day 9: Too Hot to Shop

Thanks for clicking on the Free Barcelona Travel Guide. There are 10 chapters total, listed at the end of this post. Check out the introduction for more information.

We had caught a headline saying something like “African Heat Headed to Spain”, earlier in the week, and if it hadn’t arrived by yesterday, it was certainly here today. After breakfast, we decided to take one more trip around town and down by the beach. On the boardwalk, we were surprised to find techno music playing and a set up for a spin class. Only in Sitges.

We caught our train back to Barcelona after sadly bidding Sitges adieu. Our hotel, Aparthotel Calabria, was in a different area of Barcelona than we had stayed earlier in the week. While it was fine, I’d suggest staying closer in to the Barri Gothic. This hotel is next door to two grocery stores, incidentally, and features giant rooms with kitchens. The room would definitely be great for a family, especially one that wanted to cook a few meals in. Our hotel looked out onto a courtyard of old buildings that had a very Eastern European feel. We dropped our bags off, cooled down for a bit, and headed out for some more walking around.

Needing lunch, we decided it was a good time to finally go to La Boqueria. La Boqueria, one of the must see attractions in Barcelona, is a large covered market with about 125 different food stands. Fish of all kinds, meats of all kinds, produce of all kinds, snacks, candies, herbs, spices, etc, etc, etc. Really a sight to see. We wanted to try either Pinotxo or El Quim but couldn’t get a seat, let alone a menu at either place and didn’t feel like dealing. J got a plate of different vegetarian foods at a health stand along the back wall. I had been hoping against hope to find the food I had enjoyed so much in Berlin, the Döner kebab, and I had heard rumors that Barcelona had them, too. Well, I found one, and it wasn’t any good. I guess we’ll have to go back to Berlin sometime to get them.

It was too hot to do anything. We had hoped to do some shopping, but couldn’t get it going. We had checked out the Chocolate Museum earlier in the week but hadn’t gone in, deciding to save it for today. It wasn’t too expensive, but it was geared exclusively to children and we should have skipped it. There were some cool chocolate sculptures, but nothing mind altering. Depressed and now needing a chocolate fix, we had to go over to Valor for some more cold chocolate drinks, which were delicious, again.

Unable to do anything else because of the heat, we kind of collapsed in the shade on the stairs of a museum in a forgotten plaza and listened to a woman play Flamenco guitar while we zoned out. Soon, we moved our siesta into the courtyard of the Ministry of Culture. There was fountain there in which we watched a woman put her feet. I don’t know what the fountain was for, but I’m certain it’s not for touristic feet dipping.

We had wanted to check out Comerç 24 but couldn’t get a reservation later than 1:15 in the afternoon so we decided to check out Tapaç 24, the no-reservation, Tapas joint by the same chef, Carlos Abellán. If you had only one day in Barcelona, I’d suggest coming here for lunch and dinner, it was that good. We ate a menu of tapas suggested by the waiter, I’m not sure we would have ordered differently. We ate foie burgers (a specialty), grilled cheese with truffle oil, pan y tomate, patatas bravas, and probably a few other dishes that I’m forgetting in all their glory. Best of all was dessert, something I’m going to bring to America if I have to open a restaurant myself. 4 scoops of chocolate ganache drizzled in olive oil and flavored with a generous portion of sea salt. It doesn’t make sense until you try it, trust me. Go here often in Barcelona.

There are 10 chapters in the Free Barcelona Travel Guide. I hope you find them useful.
Introduction
Day 1: Barcelona to Boston: Plaça de Catalunya
Day 2: More Walking: Santa Maria del Mar, Picasso Museum, Ciutadella, Euskal Etxea
Day 3: Gaudi and Eating: Casa Milà
Day 4: More Gaudi: Parc Guell, Sagrada Família
Day 5: Sitges and Birthdays: Barcelona Cathedral, Parrots Hotel, The Beach House
Day 6: Sitges and Beach
Day 7: Sitges and Montserrat: Montserrat
Day 8: Sitges
Day 9: Too Hot to Shop: Aparthotel Calabria, La Boqueria, Tapaç 24
Day 10: Montjuic: Montjuic

Map of where we went or wished we had.

Free Barcelona Travel Guide – Day 9: Too Hot to Shop

Free Barcelona Travel Guide – Day 2: More Walking

Thanks for clicking on the Free Barcelona Travel Guide. There are 10 chapters total, listed at the end of this post. Check out the introduction for more information.

This day started fortuitously enough as I burned out our sound machine/alarm clock. You wouldn’t think this was a big deal, but none of the hotels we stayed at had clocks in the room. 2 of them had bidets, though, which is an important lesson on priorities. After wandering around for a minute looking for a place to eat breakfast, we ended up at Taller de Tapas in The Born around Santa Maria del Mar which ended up being my favorite area of Barcelona. I ordered what seems to be Barcelona’s civic meal, un bocadillo de jamon y queso and JR had a croissant.

Next stop, the Picasso Museum. After waiting in line for about 20 minutes, we were let in and started walking through the different rooms representing different eras of Picasso’s painting. It was fascinating to see so much work by a single artist, but the museum was somewhat of a failure on an informational level. The descriptions on the walls of the first couple rooms were helpful and pointed out the important paintings in each room. As we moved forward, however, the descriptions became confused, describing paintings not being exhibited, or worse yet, paintings in rooms we had just seen. It was neat to see Picasso’s work in other mediums such as printing and ceramics, and the illustrative representation of his playful relationship with his friend and secretary, Sabartes (doodle portraits on pinup posters and a portrait of Sabartes in a ruff!). The real treat of this museum, though was the special exhibit, Forgetting Velazquez. Las Meninas. “Las Meninas has been one of the most widely analyzed works in Western Painting” and the exhibit was a series of artists showing their interpretation of the painting in their own style culminating in Picasso’s own multi-month 40-odd study of Las Meninas. The special exhibit made the museum worth it for me, though JR disagrees and suggests the whole thing.

After the museum, we did some more walking and wandering and ended up on the edge of Parc de la Ciutadella at an Argentinian place called El Foro. El Foro was notable for the presentation of its Gazpacho (a bowl of tomato soup and a long plate with chopped onions and 3 different types of peppers) and the salsa which, from what I could tell, was olive oil, oregano, pepper, and bay leaf mixed into deliciousness. Parc Ciutadella is a large park on the outskirts of the old city of Barcelona. There is green space mixed in with trees, ponds and giant sculptures. The zoo is on the grounds of the park, but we didn’t visit. One exit of the Parc feeds out to the Arc de Triomf at the end of a long promenade. This is, apparently where the children go to light firecrackers with their grandmothers and the novice rollerbladers timidly hone their craft. One fellow was practicing jumping and turning around in mid air, almost falling every single time, I couldn’t look away.

After almost going into the chocolate museum (an almost I wish we had repeated a week later), we walked back to the Cathedral area going into about 5 different chocolate stores. This is my kind of city. Before going into our hotel, we went to Chocolateria Valor and got chocolate drinks. I had a Chocolate Francesa, which was about the best thing I’ve ever had. Drinking chocolate is big time in Barcelona, but what do you do in the summer? Cold chocolate!!! Wow it was great. Want more. Now.

Our friends Abbie and David picked us up for dinner and we headed to Euskal Etxea for dinner. Euskal Etxea serves Pintxo, which seems like Basque Tapas to me. The main difference being most of the Tapas are laid out on the bar, served on a slice of baguette with a toothpick. The toothpicks are important because at the end, they’re counted up and you pay per toothpick. This was great too! I missed the steak looking Pintxo, but I’m pretty sure I had quail eggs with mayo on some sort of ham. I ate more than I should have and it was still one of the cheaper dinners we had in Barcelona. Good times.

There are 10 chapters in the Free Barcelona Travel Guide. I hope you find them useful.
Introduction
Day 1: Barcelona to Boston: Plaça de Catalunya
Day 2: More Walking: Santa Maria del Mar, Picasso Museum, Ciutadella, Euskal Etxea
Day 3: Gaudi and Eating: Casa Milà
Day 4: More Gaudi: Parc Guell, Sagrada Família
Day 5: Sitges and Birthdays: Barcelona Cathedral, Parrots Hotel, The Beach House
Day 6: Sitges and Beach
Day 7: Sitges and Montserrat: Montserrat
Day 8: Sitges
Day 9: Too Hot to Shop: Aparthotel Calabria, La Boqueria, Tapaç 24
Day 10: Montjuic: Montjuic

Map of where we went or wished we had.

Free Barcelona Travel Guide – Day 2: More Walking