On a long weekend in November 2013 we were able to take a trip to sunny Barcelona. We loved the city, and the warm weather didn’t hurt either!  We flew in early in the morning so by the time we had arrived and checked into our hotel, we still had plenty of day left.  We stayed in the Eixample neighborhood just north of Placa Catalunya.  Barcelona has a great public transportation system but it was very walkable.  Most of the time we walked everywhere.  There was nothing particular on the agenda for the day except to explore.

We made it to Barcelona!

From wandering down through Placa Catalunya and Las Ramblas, we found La Boqueria-a large public market place similar to Pike’s Place Market in Seattle or Borough Market in London.  These markets are fun to visit because you can get a glimpse into the local cuisine and see some things that you aren’t used to seeing in your typical grocery store.  My favorite thing from this market was all the different juices.  There were several fruit stands also selling fresh fruit juices in countless combinations.  I had a strawberry-coconut juice and it was delicious!  Definitely go to the market hungry because there will be plenty of things catching your eye!

Entrance to La Boqueria
So many fruits and vegetables
Tons of candy
Sea urchins for sale.
She also enjoyed the market and the many people inside who stopped to tell her, “Que ojos! Muy guapa, muy bonita!”
Seafood including lots of octopi, gambas rojas or big prawns, and live lobsters and crabs on ice.

We continued down Las Ramblas eyeing all the shops and stands, keeping our eye out for pick-pocketers.  Supposedly if you are going to get pick-pocketed in Europe, that’s where it would happen.  But I’m happy to say we did not have any trouble at all.  We made it all the way down to the harbor and to the Columbus Monument.  It was put up to commemorate Columbus’ first trip to the Americas.  He reported back to Barcelona to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella after his journey.

We had been walking a while at this point so we decided to sit down on a bench to relax and figure out our next move.  Then this adorableness happened:

I took about a million more, but I will keep it to a minimum for now.  We decided to explore the Gothic Quarter and find a place to eat.  On the way we found this happy little guy…

The Gothic Quarter is a really interesting and charming area of town.  It is full of character with hidden plazas and churches, most of which we didn’t even find until we were lead through on a walking tour a couple days later.  We wandered a while then made our way to “happy hour” while we waited for some restaurants to open up for dinner.  We ended up having tapas and sangria, both of which were wonderful!

Walking the Gothic Quarter.

Finally it was off to bed to rest up for our next big day touring the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, one of Europe’s most famous churches.