We were accross the street from one of Spain's most famous markets, La Boqueria, so that morning we hopped on over to enjoy the sights and to have breakfast.
I have an endless amount of photos of the market! It almost seemed like a movie set, you know, where everything is so perfect looking that it is almost a caricature of itself. But no, it was all real and it was just so much fun to poke around. Leanne (below) couldn't stop herself from purchasing some of the more exotic looking fruits.
We found a great little restaraunt towards the back of the market and treated ourselves to some more breakfast sandwiches. The servers here asked us a question that we became used to hearing:
Spanish Person: Where are you from?
Us: We're from the U.S.
Spanish Person: No, I mean where are you really from?
Us: We were born in Costa Rica.
Spanish Person: (with a knowing nod) Ohhh. Yes, I thought so.
I guess they could tell that we (to varying degrees) looked somewhat more ethnic? I think we must have had this type of conversation about a dozen times, no kidding! I also included a photo of Leanne (below) searching for change in her makeshift plastic sandwich bag. While we were careful not to carry huge amount of cash on ourselves, the money belts became a real bother (not to mention sweat catcher) and we began using what we could for wallets. I purchased a small change purse at a museum in Madrid. Leanne, being ever thrifty, stuck with her bag!
Our next stop for the day was the City History Museum of Barcelona. This place was a real treat! We learned about the original founding of the city by the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus (Julius Caesar's nephew), who settled Roman legionnaires on the land as payment for their tours of service. The sign below declares the name of the College of Barcin founded by Emporer Augustus near 14 A.D. Now, Barcelona had been settled before this, but it was the Romans who made it in to a city.
After our tour of the city's underbelly, we strolled around and came upon one of the many pastry shops sprinlked around town. I popped in to have my daily dose of the awesome deliciousness that is the chocolate croissant. Now, I fell in love with these in Paris. I am thinking of proposing marriage to the criossants in Spain. Feast your eyes below, please.
Yes. Yes. That would be melty chocolate on the inside AND on the outside. Goodness gracious.
5 minutes later, this is all that remains.
We made our way to the next museum on our list, the Picasso Museum! We were all excited to see this place, and it did not dissapoint! Again, the demon "no foto!" reared it's ugly head, so I have nothing to show you of the intertior of the museum (which was lovely), but above you can see that the museum is located in a small little street.
We were actually worried that we had gone in the wrong direction, but no, there is no grand entrance to mark the museum. Picasso's paintings are displayed in the remains of a wealthy merchant's home. Pictured above and below, we are posing in the interior courtyard of the museum. I learned so much about Picasso. Now, I already know he is considered a genious, but I have to say that seeing paintings that would already be considered masterworks completed by Picasso when he was twelve or fourteen, sure put things in to perspective! The other neat connection we learned about was Picasso's love and esteem for Diego Velazquez and his painting Las Meninas (which we saw in Madrid!). He spent many hours in the Prado studying the painting and painted his own cubist versions of the masterwork himself, which were on display at the museum.
I just saw this door while we were walking around, isn't it neat?!
The door above, was the entrance to this darling street. I wish I had taken a little more time with this photo, as it is actually pretty blurred when you expand it to full size.
Next on our list was a visit to the Chocolate Museum! And sure enough, our ticktes came with little chocolate bars we could enjoy as we walked around.
On the whole, the museum isn't worth more than a half hour or so of your time. But if you skip it, you would miss out on these kooky all chocolate sculptures! Apparently, the chocolate guild creates these chocolate sculptures to be displayed during Christmas holidays and afterward, they are retired to the museum.
Yes, this chocolate Pieta is life sized!
Our next stop was a visit to Santa Maria del Mar - a cathedral built by the wealthy fishing merchants of Barcelona. The church closes down between 1pm and 4 pm, so we had to wait a few minutes to get in. As you can see we wiled away the time with cat naps and examining photos.
The church is a modest one, compared to Seville's or Toldeo's cathedrals, but I liked the stained glass and how you could actually see its reflections on the stones! Many stained glass windows are almost too thick to actually let the sunshine in.
I am going to take a moment to congratulate myself on purchasing Red Maps yet again for this trip. Easy to read, compact, and wear resistant these maps saved us several times from getting hopelessly lost. I would recommend them to anyone! Picture below, is just a simple street light...that looks like art. Sigh.
After our long day we walked back to our hotel to enjoy some reading time on the balcony. It looks quite bright outside, but it is close to 8:30 pm or so in the evening at this point!
And then we saw a somewhat creepy looking looking protest forming up in the plaza outside our hotel!
It actually wasn't all that creepy, protesters were holding up signs like "Our Jobs Are Not For Sale!" After deciphering their t-shirts, Caroline and I deduced that these were telephone union workers protesting layoffs. I know that Spain is facing serious economic woes and this just made it all that more clear.
We have a lovely dinner close the hotel and called it a night!