Thursday, February 5, 2009

que energía

When I reflect on my short time in Barcelona I think of one word, energy. It was such a young, unique, lively, and beautiful city, that I just couldn't get enough of it! Oh and I cannot even tell you how nice it was to speak Spanish. Seriously. I was with a group of 6 other girls and I was the only one that was (nearly) fluent and I loved having to translate :). As for Catalan, the ancient primary language of Barcelona and the Catalonia region, I was completely and utterly lost. Both are derived from Latin but that's where the similarity ends, it really seemed as though it was closer to Italian. Clueless or not language-wise... I had a spectacular weekend and even better Spanish food!
My weekend began early on Friday morning. I had to leave my place by 7:30 and my host-mom knew she wouldn't me up in time so she placed everything on the table and covered it with aluminum foil the night before... what a nice surprise she left me :) un chausson aux pomme.

Yep, that's right, an apple turnover. Usually eaten as a dessert or snack, these flaky, buttery pastries are filled with a delectable applesauce and served warm for the ultimate indulgence. I heated my up in the microwave and I'm sure it smelled as fresh as when it was made last night. Yum! To make up for the fiberless meal I also had a yogurt and banana :).

Then it was off to Spain! Our flight was delayed a few hours though so we really got to see the ins and outs of a German airport... we could've have been happier ;). When we finally got to Barcelona late the next afternoon we took a very scenic route to our hostel. The city boasts such a gorgeous number of historic buildings from different time periods.

But even the sights couldn't distract us from our growling tummies. We quickly put our things away at the hostel, washed up, and headed out to find a tapas restaurant. Without any direction of where we were headed we ended up walking around for quite a while. And just when I thought that we should settle for anything, we stumbled upon a jewel.

Lizaran was a fantastic restaurant near la Place Universitat.

One of our favorites was baby eels in EVOO, mushroom, and olives.

Another crowd-pleaser was a Spanish Tortilla with toast. Delish!
And, my personal favorite, the TO DIE FOR salad that I split with my friend. That's fresh goat cheese people...

...with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I'm still dreaming about it ;)

After a lot more shared plates it was definitely time for dessert! Although I must say that the Sangria and wine was probably the only reason we had room for it, haha.

I. had. this. A sinful hot fudgy chocolate surrounded by an airy chocolate cake. It was mind-blowing. We spent quite a few hours out the restaurant, eating, drinking, conversing. I don't think I could've asked for a better introductory meal :).

Or the night that followed. We had to dance off all that food right? Spaniards know how to party :) and so did all the tourists.

The next day we took a walking tour to get the cold hard facts about this warm Spanish city.


We ended up here, a super cool café outside of "Plaza Trippy" (yes, take it literally) to get one of the sandwiches that our tour guide had so enthusiastically raved about.
Boy was she head on. They had so many options and were so original about it too. I had the Sandwich Vegetariano: (more) goat cheese with grilled eggplant and cabbage.

Then we went on our self-guided tour to some must-see sights.

And after seeing the brilliance of gothic architecture sat down for a glass of wine in an amazing part of the city. The place was surrounded by art galleries and was so beautifully decorated. I couldn't help but soak it all up!

Then we did some shopping since Barcelona apparently has some of the coolest and most colorful stores... ever... before going back to our hostel to get ready for dinner and another night on.

This time we decided to try another magnificent part of Spanish cuisine.

PaellaIn all the varieties that the restaurant offered.
Followed by one of the most original bars I've ever been too. They served ice cream and waffles below... and wine and champagne above. We decided on the best of both worlds :). Oh what a night! We met this big group and danced into the wee hours of the morning at a nearby disco.
I didn't sleep that night.

And did some sight-seeing before the bus station the next morning.
Then it was right back to Strasbourg. I'm nostalgic for Spain already and I really hope that I get to go back again one day. I do have a high-school friend that's living there... wonder if he's looking for any visitors... :). Sorry it took me so long to actually get this posted. I've been working on it for quite some time but as you can see, it's a long one, and I didn't just want to post pictures. See you tomorrow, TGIF, for a recap of this week's food and some future European city visits to look forward to! Hope all is well bloggies!

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