Wednesday, March 28, 2012

La Rambla, La Boqueria, Liceu (3Ls)

After sight-seeing at Port Vell, we walked along La Rambla, the popular tourist tree-lined pedestrian mall  in Barcelona.  I was bit a apprehensive as I had read on websites and had been cautioned by friends, to be wary of strangers around the area as they might be pick-pockets.  So, I was literally clutching my bag, using the camera discreetly and on the lookout for dubious characters!  Hahaha!   Reflecting on this now, I think I would have enjoyed myself more if I had not been unduly worried.  After all, there were scores of policemen patrolling the area!

Honestly, I felt that La Rambla was a bit over-rated??  The usual thing- traders, street artists, etc.  Nothing that you can't find in London or even Kuala Lumpur.  If I were to visit Barcelona again, I  would spend more time walking through the cobbled path of El-Born and Barri Gotic rather than rambling on La Rambla, that's for sure! :)

Among the places of attraction along La Rambla was the Gran Teatre del Liceu (Liceu Theatre)...

...err... Erotic Museum, anyone?? :P

and of course, La Boqueira  (Boqueira Market). 

 The market dated back to the 13th Century.  What I liked about the place was the diversed selection of food and the fantastic colours.   

Yang paling mahal kat sini ialah... 

Jamon Iberico @ peha babi hitam Iberia
Jamon Iberico (Iberian ham) is a type of cured ham sourced from black Iberian pigs bred in the Iberian Peninsular.  Mula-mula nampak, tak ambik pot, coz I've seen this in Jamie's Italian in Bristol.  It was hubby (the walking encyclopedia :)) who told me that these were no normal ham.  These came from black Iberian pigs which, apart from grass, were strictly fed with barley, maize, acorns, herbs and olives!  Wow!  Siap ada gred !  The most expensive was Jamon Iberico Bellota (see pix).  Jamon Iberico and suckling pigs can be found in most Barcelona supermarkets.  So, I guessed,  these were Catalan delicacies.

Talking about food, we stumbled upon Halal food as we were looking for a surau to pray.  The surau was located off-La Rambla, in an area called El-Raval.  The dark narrow path and grim-looking foreign faces (Eh! Eh!  Aku pun pendatang jugak! Kuikuikui!) that we saw on our way to the surau, made the neighbourhood appeared sinister. Tapi itu cuma luaran saja.  Once in the surau, a kind siak led us to a spacious praying hall on the first floor where where we rested, washed and prayed.  Alhamdulillah :)

While walking back to La Rambla, we discovered quite a few halal restaurant and pattiserie (pastisseria in Catalan) along Carrer de l'Hospital.  We stopped at one (forgot it's name) as we saw the signage had some arabic words.  As we oggled at the delightful yummies, the friendly girl behind the counter who understood little English, repeatedly said: "Musulman! Musulman!" while pointing at the pastries.  So, we bought some snacks and ate them at the National Library of Catalonia grounds.  The 15th century library building used to house a hospital (Hospital de Santa Creu).  

Lepas "isi minyak", we continued sight-seeing :).  

Monday, March 26, 2012

Port Vell, Barcelona. February 2012

Our first stop on the third day in Barcelona was Port Vell, the waterfront harbour.  Greeting us as we emerged from the Drassanes metro station was the Mirador de Colom or Columbus Monument which was built to commemorate Columbus' discovery of the New World.  It was situated at the end of La Rambla, the famous Barcelona street.

Rambla de Mar, a pedestrian walkway, extended from the waterfront harbour.  The scenery reminded me of Bristol Harbourside.

There were 2 tourist attractions near Port Vell:  Barcelona Aquarium (the largest in Europe) and Museu Maritim (maritime museum).  We didn't go to the maritime museum because it was under major renovation , and we skipped the aquarium, too.  Maybe next time (kalau ada rezeki :))

Sunday, March 4, 2012

ABC in Barcelona - Agbar, Beriani, Cerdanyola

From central Barcelona, we bought T10 Zone 2 tickets to Cerdanyola del Valles .  The journey seemed like forever and at one point we were sure that we had boarded the wrong train.  However, we were not too worried.  We survived thus far with our limited Spanish and Catalan :).

In this part of Barcelona, buildings were more modern, than modernisme.

Cerdanyola del Valles

Once there we were met by our lovely host, Merl and ushered to her flat nearby.  The menu for the day was not Spanish Paella but Malay Nasi Beriani :).  Takde masa nak ambik gambar sebab sibuk makan :).  Sambil tu dengar Merl and husband cerita about life in Barcelona (which they love), its people ("loud but helpful"), their passion ("suka berpesta"), their culture (siesta) etc.  University tuition fee is much lower in Spain compared to UK (so is seafood!) and the weather is so much sunnier and warmer... huhuhu!  I figured, sending postgraduates to Spain could save the Malaysian government, millions and make students happier, too (lots of sun and cheap food :)).  Plus, students get to acquire another language (Spanish) besides English and BM.

Barca-born Zara who speaks
Malay, English, Spanish & Arabic :)

One for the blog :)

When we finally bade farewell, it was already dark.  We took the train back to the city centre and stopped to admire Torre Agbar, that gleaming phallic tower :P.  Its similar to "The Gherkin" in London.

Torre Aqbar

End of Day 2.