As a world traveling Mum and son duo, we love to see and experience as much as we can of local life and culture.
Even when we are in a city, we try to not just be tourists, but to be travellers. To meet and experience life the way the locals do. Not to just “see the sights”, even though we don’t want to miss those either. It is way more authentic, and the memories last a lifetime.
This morning we woke at 5:30 a.m. from Costa Encantada Aparthotel and walked down just before 7:00 a.m. to Lloret de Mar Bus station. We had purchased our tickets a few days earlier for the bus. These buses fill up, and so best to buy tickets in advance. (Thanks Gail from Costa Encantada for that great tip!). The bus was full and left promptly at 7:30 a.m.
As we drove toward Barcelona I was delighted to drive right by Torre Agbar.
We arrived just after 9:30 a.m. and raced to get the train – the Metro. I’ll never forget Estacio Nord. Thankfully we had met a Canadian couple on the bus and he had given us explicit directions on exactly how to depart the bus station, and which train to catch.
On exiting the Metro, we tore across the square to Hard rock Cafe to meet Context Walks. We had booked the “Farm to Fork” tour, and we were late! It was just after 10:00 a.m., but we at least had made it without the group leaving.
Our first stop was to a traditional Catalunya Family owned cafe.
He we had what Explorason firmly believes to be the BEST Chocolate milk he has ever encountered so far. And it came in a glass bottle. Called ‘Cacaolat’, he managed to drink his – as well as mine – in a flash.
We then tried Ensaïmada, a local sweet pastry, which really is rather delicious and not to be missed.
We left there and wandered through the old lanes and streets. Then walked out along The Rambla which has a centre area for pedestrians to walk between the two lanes of traffic.
Little things need to be observed as you walk. Remember to look down lanes and leo to look up when you visit Barcelona.
For example – there are signs up by the old lamp posts that show you the streets are one way. But these date back to when there were horse and carriages! Not cars.
As we approach Carrer de la Boqueria and La Rambla, we see the crowd getting deeper, and our wise guide Esther, from Context Walking Tours leads us in a side door of Mercado de Boqueria.
We are greeted with snails and in a variety of sizes and colours, to the delight of Explorason. He heads off with the camera to take some photographs and just loves his time here.
Things like the edible fresh flowers that are sold for salads and food decoration.
And the salted and dried fish, with cod as a specialty of the area.
We try Bunyols at this place. These are the famous salted cod with parsley, flour and beer and are deep fried. They were very tasty.
Explorason has a fabulous time when we get to the fresh fish area. He finds the ugliest fish and the grumpiest sales lady, and he feels this is “mission accomplished”.
We both then enjoy a fresh fruit juice. Explorason selected his with the “eenie, meenie, my knee, mo” (as he puts it) or a back and forth method of selection, and was delighted with a coconut mix, whilst I went for the passionfruit juice.
There we saw the most expensive meat ever. Check out this small piece. 269.25 Euro for one piece – I lie not!!
The fresh vegetables and fruits were just eye candy. And the aroma was also magical.
We finished off at this market with a look at the dried fruits and nuts. You can read more about the market tours in depth here.
Sant Antoni was the next market we went to. A lot less touristy, and as you can see from the photo below, a lot more room to move about. For me this was a lot more relaxing with a child who likes to go off and take photos.
Here we tried an assortment of incredible cheeses. There were sheep cheeses I really liked in particular.
After this there were an assortment of olives. Some were very strong in flavour. I never knew there were so many flavours in olives. Must say it as a shock. Next time I shall try more, as I wasn’t so game on this day. I shame myself on that one.
And we walk right by Batlló House – a masterpiece by Antonio Gaudi.
Our first bus ride takes us right past this Gaudi masterpiece.
Then we have to get off and look at Sagrada Familia Basilica.
It is said that Gaudi built this knowing he would never finish it in his lifetime, but that God would always be around, and that God was not in any hurry.
Our bus ride was lovely for my tired feet. We of course went pas the most Barcelona Football Club and Stadium.
No matter where the bus went by, there was interesting architecture and things to see.
We are planning to return for a few days in summer, and will explore more fully then, but we did love our time, and it gave us a taste of an amazing place we really want to come back and see more of.
But at least we had a day in Barcelona.
We decided to finish the day in style before catching the bus back.
We went to the top floor of el Corte Ingles to experience this amazing view over the centre of Barcelona. Here I had a lovely glass of wine, and Explorason had a delicious thick hot chocolate.
The perfect end to a day that started in Barcelona with a chocolate drink, and ended in Barcelona with – YES – another chocolate drink !
Name: Context Walking Tours
Telephone: +1 800 691-6036
Date visited: April 2015
Child friendly: Please check as some tours do not suit children or have an age requirement
Barcelona Information, Bookings, and enquiries: Barcelona Tourism Office