Experiencing Catalonia | Day 2 La Boqueria Market
The alarm clock might as well have been thrown at my head, 7:30 am was far to early for a man who had guzzled down as much wine as I had, I’m not really a hangover kind of chap but wine has always been my downfall and team that with a silly o clock start… Wha-La – Hangover! But there wasn’t time to dwell on it, Georgie was on top form and we had to pack our bags and get upstairs ASAP to make the most of the breakfast buffet.
The buffet at the B Hotel was fit for a king and since it was indeed my first European breakfast outside of the UK, I made sure I enjoyed both chocolate filled pastries and meat all on one plate. There was no time for seconds though, we had to get our crap out of our room, check out and hop on a minibus to Plaça de Sant Jaume, a large square near Les Rambles – Barcelona’s main walking street. The itinerary for the day was simple:
1. Buy the ingredients at La Boqueria Market.
2. Cook them at Cook & Taste.
The minibus dropped us at Plaça de Sant Jaume where we met Teresa from Cook & Taste, the place where we would later be learning to cook Catalan style. But first – The ingredients and where better to shop for fresh ingredients than at Barcelona’s most famous market La Boqueria Market. We strolled through the narrow streets towards Les Rambles which were buzzing with early morning activity, for me and Georgie at least, this was our first real glimpse of Barcelona. The buildings dripped character and the shop windows oozed style, the smell of fresh pastries and coffee found it’s way out of the many cafe’s and straight up my hooter… Even the graffiti had a certain flair. it was a freakishly cold morning (freakish for Barcelona so I’m told) and the shady alleys weren’t helping much, as we emerged onto the wide open Les Rambles all the bloggers made a dash for the sunshine that would envy any Olympic sprinter.
Teresa gave us the low down on the market and what we’d be buying and then let us loose, the first few stalls at the entrance were vegetables, meats and sweets, all vibrant and colourful – a superb photo opportunity that everyone got stuck into… A mad few minutes followed while everyone’s excitement took over and those stalls at the front were drowned in a blanket of camera flashes – like a tourist thunderstorm sweeping through. La Boqueria Market is luscious in every sense, I’ve been to plenty of wet markets in my time but none have ever made me wish that I actually lived nearby just so I could shop at them all the time, with so much achingly fresh produce it gave me the impression that if I shopped there all the time I’d be so healthy that I’d live to 150. We followed Teresa through the various sections of the market collecting the things we’d need, at each place she stopped she would give us a little info and sometimes a sample to chew on but to be honest nothing was sinking in. The market was so colourful, so lively, so authentic and indeed smelly (in a good way) that I had no spare senses to concentrate with, we really were experiencing Catalonia!
La Boqueria Market is rather cleverly set out and divided into various sections like meat, fish and vegetables but the fish one is where it’s at. Stacks of prawns and lobsters wriggle about, the smell of the sea is everywhere and the sound of big cleavers hacking through lumps of fresh fish fill the air. The market was busy with shoppers, tourists and traders alike and with such a large group, wherever we stopped we managed to cause an obstruction for someone.
We plodded on through the market and something struck me about the Catalonian people, I’d noticed that they carry themselves with in a certain way, they had a quiet confidence that I’d almost mistook for some sort of arrogance – maybe because we were a bunch of tourists or something? NO… that wasn’t it, it was pride… Barcelona is a beautiful city with a beautiful way of life weaved throughout, we’d hardly seen it really but it was clear already that the Catalans enjoy a certain way of life and the city is built around that… Not the other way round…
Just to be VERY clear, this was indeed a paid for press trip sponsored by the Department of Tourism for Catalonia and if you want to know more about the HAPPYTIMEBLOG disclosure policy and how we handle free stuff then have a peek at our new Disclosure page.