Saturday, October 29, 2011

Barcelona: Gothic Quarters

One of the charms of Europe is its well-preserved history. Being a history buff, I love ambling through those narrow, cobble-stoned alleys, trying to visualize how these old towns and city-square must have looked during their prime. I had spent the better part of a day traipsing through Gaudi’s unconventional buildings and monuments; and then on the last day here, I discovered the more familiar Gothic architecture in Barri Gotic. Barri Gotic is the center of what used to be the old city of Barcelona, with several buildings and churches dating back to the Roman empire. The most famous landmark here is the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lip-smacking Tapas and Paella

Arola BarcelonaTapas and paella formed the mainstay of my lunch and dinner experiences during this trip. Dining can be fun and memorable for reasons other than the quality of food. This was particularly true during this trip: friends and colleagues from distant places, jugs of chilled sangria and the briny breeze from the Mediterranean Sea - they conspired to make the most insipid dishes seem interesting! That said, there were a couple of stand-out dining experiences I must describe to you.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Tasting Ferran Adria

Ferran Adria creation at 41 degreesIn the world of cutting edge, avante grade cuisine, there is no name held in higher esteem than Ferran Adria. The man credited for elevating Spain to its pinnacle in the world of fine dining, turning molecular gastronomy into a buzzword, creating culinary foam, and for making El Bulli the #1 restaurant in the planet for foodies. Recently, Ferran announced his intention to close El Bulli so he can spend his time on other things; however, he will continue to cater to his fans through two small, casual but upscale places in Barcelona. Tickets is Ferran Adria's take on a tapas bar which is located beside 41 Degrees, his spin on a chic cocktail bar that serves several of his El Bulli classics. As you can imagine these are currently the most happening dining spots in town!


Sunday, October 09, 2011

Gaudi City

Casa BatllaYou cannot ignore Gaudi when in Barcelona. His highly imaginative buildings spread all over this city are a magnet for students of architecture and tourists alike. Antoni Gaudi was a Spanish Catalan architect whose highly distinct form of design drove the trend towards Moderisme during the late 19th century. While it was common for architects during that time to combine their passions for architecture and religion into their creations, Gaudi also added his love for nature into the mix.


Sunday, October 02, 2011

In Catalan Country

I almost did not make it to Barcelona. The Spanish consulate insisted they needed more time to process my visa - something I did not have since I was flying out that weekend to the USA. Just when I had given up, they handed me my passport with the visa - one day before my flight. And what a trip it has been!

I flew into Barcelona on a Lufthansa flight late in the night. By the time I had checked in and taken a shower, it was close to midnight and I was thinking of ordering room service. But then I looked out of the window. Down below I could see cafes open and packed with people. It seemed too good to pass up. During the week I spent here, I would discover several uniquely delightful things about Barcelona, including the fact that dinners begin late and continue well past midnight!