April 27th was the 17th day and the 8th leg of The Global Scavenger Hunt 2015! We took an 8½ hour train trip from Nice to the beautiful city of Barcelona, Spain and arrived around 11 pm but were not about to turn in until we had seen something of this city!
We checked into our room at Le Meridien Barcelona, located on the famous La Rambla, then made our way out and immediately looked for one of our first scavenges: Tapas! Tapas are simply small dishes of food that are meant to be shared. The variety of tapas found in Barcelona is really extensive, and we managed to hit two places with wonderful options. The city was still very active in the late evening, which was fine with us! We devoured Spanish meatballs, tomato and feta salad, calamari, olives, asparagus and more meatballs, along with wine, sangria and beer! We can throw down some food when we travel to amazing places and on this trip, we were in foodie heaven.
After our meal, we meandered down La Rambla in search of our second scavenge of choice, the mosaic by Joan Miro, found that and enjoyed some people-watching. Miro was a Catalan artist, born in Barcelona in 1893. He worked in sculpture, painting and ceramics, finding much inspiration in his birth city.
La Rambla is a very long, tree-lined boulevard that goes through the center of the city and is a favorite of locals and tourists alike! In the daytime it is covered with food vendors, collectable booths, flower stations and street performers! In the evening most of these things are removed, allowing for a view of the various restaurants and shops lining either side.
We also made a quick visit to the Gran Teatre del Liceu Opera House. Performers like Domingo, Pavarotti, Caballe, Callas are beloved by the audiences here. At its opening in 1847, it was the largest opera house in Europe, with 4,000 seats, and has since continued to be one of the mainstays of Barcelona. The opera house was destroyed by a fire in 1994, but was rebuilt according to the original in 1998. After we enjoyed our brief evening out, we headed in to our beautiful hotel and comfy beds for some good sleep.
We got up refreshed early the next day to get in as many scavenges as we could, before the 11 am meeting which would end this quick visit. We stopped in and enjoyed more tapas for breakfast, some pa amb tomaquet, or catalan tomato bread and a Spanish omelette, along with fabulous coffee and the freshest, fresh squeezed OJ. Then, we visited Le Sagrada Familia, a large Roman Catholic Church started in 1882 and still under construction! It is a combination of Spanish Gothic and Modern architecture styles, and is absolutely breathtaking.
After that visit, we cabbed it to the port at the end of La Rambla where we went to the top of the Columbus Monument to enjoy the amazing view of Barcelona on that beautiful sunny, clear day. Then, we walked back to the hotel, taking in the street performers along the way and making a few small purchases.
At our 11 am team meeting, we found out we were headed to the beautiful city of Cartegena in Colombia, South America in a few short hours!
For the last couple of hours we had to enjoy this wonderful city, we decided to take the delightful Sydney Sisters, who ended up being the World’s Greatest Travelers, up on their offer to join them at the Mercat de Sant Jocep de la Boqueria, where you will find the best products from Catalonia all in one place! It is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate, with row after row of fresh vegetables and fruits, meats of all varieties imaginable, including exotic things such as whole pig heads, and other unusual animal parts, like penises and testicles, brains, chicken feet, etc. The chorizo is represented in many varieties, along with whole hams and other delectable, cured options. The seafood is so fresh that the clams are still moving and we had the best oysters we have ever eaten. The eggs are the freshest and best we have ever seen anywhere and include ostrich, emu and quail eggs. The olives come in a dozen varieties, as well as cheese, cheese, cheese! The fruits look like they are from the Garden of Eden and there is a wealth of freshly squeezed juices from them all! It is simply a place you must experience for yourself when you are in Barcelona! There are also candy stands, with hundreds of different creative kinds in many shapes and sizes, from sweet to sour, as well as a wealth of chocolates, caramels and sugared varieties. Many of the booths have bars that allow you to pull up a stool and order drinks and tapas, which of course, we did. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there and cannot wait to go back! Photos of the market are below!
We were excited to go to South America, so we packed it up and headed to the airport for another adventure in this crazy game called The Great Escape Global Scavenger Hunt 2015!