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25 February 2011

Another weekend in Barcelona and I just realised I have just over 4 weeks left here in Spain and I feel like I haven’t even started yet.  Time here is just going by way too quickly for my liking.  Anyway, so on Fridays I have no school so that leaves me the whole day to explore the city and this Friday was just the perfect day for it.  It was a warm sunny day here in Barcelona (as usual) and I decided it was high time I went to La Boqueria.  It somewhat resembles the Borough Market by London Bridge apart from the fact that here there are more tapas being served and fresh fish, fruits and veggies than the usual street food you would find in London.  It’s a large public market that’s situated just opposite the Liceu metro stop off the Ramblas.  Apparently it dates back to the 13th century and it used to be solely a meat market (and no, not in the colloquial term) then a straw market and then a fish market and butchery to eventually being what it is today – a tourist attraction market!

I purposefully went during a weekday thinking it would be relatively less packed than on a weekend but there were tons of people – mainly tourists snapping away on their cameras as I was.  I’m sure on Saturdays I wouldn’t even be able to find space to take my camera out.  So I ended up walking through the stalls, stopping by for some tapas and then ending my visit with a strawberry and coconut smoothie.  OK I had two but in my defence, the cups were small and I had been walking the whole day so it was well worth it.

26 February 2011

The beauty about being in Barcelona is that you can also do short day trips to small seaside towns outside the city in case you ever need a short break.  So we rented a car along with “super laid back insurance”, our GPS whom we named Margaret since she sounded posh and somewhat patronising and drove along the coast to a town called Sitges just 40 minutes away.  Apparently this town is most famous for its popularity amongst the gay people.  It was a quaint little town along with its own waterfront and cathedral by the sea.  We stopped by for some tapas at a restaurant overlooking the sea and then it was time to visit the cathedral (which was closed) and then a walk around the town.  Then it was time to head off to the Torres winery further inland for our wine tasting and tour, but not before stopping by for a pastry and some coffees and what a great cup of coffee it was – just what we needed for a chilly day.

We then drove through smaller towns and still with the GPS, we managed to get a bit lost but finally we arrived at the Torres Wine Estate.  OK the surroundings aren’t as breathtaking as the ones we have back in Franschoek and Stellenbosch (Tokara being one such estate) but the tour more than compensated for it.  Hopping on to the “train” that took us through the winery and into the dark cellars, we all felt like a bunch giggly of school kids.  It felt like we were on one of those Universal Studios tours where you’d expect the car to be shaken by some King Kong coming out of the darkness because that’s what it was like except for the absence of the fake smoke.

Finally it was time to do the tasting and by then we were so hungry we scoffed down about 3 bowls of crackers they offered us.  And of course, this being Spain, there was nowhere to eat at 18h00 as we had missed lunch and supper for them starts only from 20h00 at the earliest…  We finally arrived back in the city feeling a bit giddy at 20h30 and treated ourselves to pizzas in Barceloneta.  A perfect ending to a day out and a weekend around town.

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