Thursday, January 5, 2012

Travel Thursdays (6): Las Ramblas y La Boqueria

Happy 2012!! Hopefully your new year has been as eventful as mine. I had my first date of 2012 on Monday, my first day of work at my new job yesterday, and my sister got engaged!!!

Mucho blessings rolling around. I have a really good feeling about this year...good thing considering some people think it's our last on earth.

Your next installment of Travel Thursdays awaits below. If you missed any and would like to catch up, check out the last segment or start at the beginning. Enjoy!

Part (6): Las Ramblas y La Boqueria

I slept like a baby my first night in Barcelona.

The next morning, I met my new friends and we headed out to La Boqueria. I didn't know much about it before hand...might've seen a blurb in the guide book about it.

We walked from the hostel to Las Ramblas, the most famous street in Barcelona. It's actually a series of tree-lined streets almost a mile long, cutting through the heart of the city.

It was jam-packed with people, vendors, and street performers that clearly took pride in their craft.

The endless shopping, restaurants, and wide pedestrian walkway make it popular for foot traffic....and some other traffic.

It's known for being a tourist hot-spot during the day and a shady hooker haven at night...or so I heard. I also heard about pick-pocketing and petty theft, a common occurrence at every hour.

We got to La Boqueria and I didn't know where to look first. It's a huge open-air market selling every food-stuff imaginable.

I know, some people might wonder what's so great about a market. I love them in general, but this one was special.

Every last thing at every stand was placed perfectly.

It's a famous spot for photographers who come to shoot the amazing rainbow of colors. Wouldn't be surprised if someone's job is to design and regulate the displays.

I got some shots of my own with the new camera - took 50 or 60 shots - ambitious considering all the people around.

Never thought I'd be that enamored over a fruit display, but it was pretty incredible.

Never quite figured out the deal with these giant jars of goop. Looks like something Willy Wonka would've conjured up.

Not sure how one would eat these ginormous many licks would it take?

These were a little more realistic.

We decided to eat at this little breakfast stand where Karina - a very cool, very tall redhead from Cali - had come the day before. She'd been in Barcelona a few days already and knew the drill.

She also spoke fluent Spanish which definitely came in handy. I let her order me a breakfast sandwich...some kind of egg frittata thing. I barely knew what was in it, but it was tasty.

The real discovery was the cortado...espresso cut with warm or steamed milk...sooo good! It became my staple drink in Spain. The Spaniards typically drink it in the afternoon. I drank it all day long.

The guy behind the counter was a staple in his own right. He danced around with a huge smile on his face, shuffling out sandwiches in his plaid vest and bowtie. Seemed like people were there for him as much as the food.

After breakfast we walked around and sampled a tasty little treat or two. Mostly we took pics like all the other annoying tourists.

I wondered if the locals got frustrated with the crowds the way New Yorkers do around Times Square or the Empire State Building.

The treats were pretty pricey...or maybe it was the backpacker budget kicking in...was worth it either way. I had the best dates I've ever tasted in my life. Delicious!

La Boqueria quickly became one of my favorite places in Barcelona. I went back once or twice after to snap some more shots and try some more food.

I wouldn't call myself a foodie or a photographer, but I exercised my love for both just by being there.

If you really wanna learn about a culture, explore the local food. It's just as important as it is to see the sites. And to me, it's so much fun!

Stay tuned for the next installment.

But first, a little new years note...

Hope you're having a great first week of the new year, staying true to your resolutions, and not guilting yourself to death if you aren't. Doing your best doesn't mean being perfect.

These two mantras have worked for me and seem to stand the test of time...EVERYTHING IN MODERATION & BABY STEPS. Whatever your goals are and wherever you are in the process, keep the faith and just keep'll get there before you know it.


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