Early Saturday morning, Larry and I walked over to La Boqueria, Barcelona's iconic food market. It was a nice change to walk deserted streets in the Gotico.
What was cool about going so early was the market wasn't as terribly crowded as it gets later in the day. Even so, the well-known tapas bars were three-deep in people waiting for a coveted space at the counters. Loved seeing people drinking wine and eating shellfish at 8 in the morning. Next time in Barcelona. (we're saying that a lot this week) We bought more cheese and tomatoes, saffron and smoked paprika, and two small steaks for the boys' dinner. Beautiful stands of produce, fish, meats, cheeses...you can eat very well in Barcelona.
After breakfast, we headed over to the nearby Picasso museum. Along with everyone else in Barcelona who were standing in a long line. We went to Plan B, walking over to the Museum of the History of Catalonia near Barceloneta. Surprisingly inexpensive for a Barcelona sight, brand new and with signs in three languages--Including English. Spread over two floors in exhausting detail were interesting displays in chronological order, from prehistoric times until the present. As Larry observed, "there were wars, then peace, then social and economic upheavals, then wars, repeat for 1000 years." City and country life, technology, politics, economic systems, the arts, all explored through artifacts, reproductions, creative displays, and text.
We wandered over to Barceloneta, the harborside neighborhood. There were many restaurants overlooking the marina and beachside road, but we walked a few blocks inland to find a place I had seen mentioned. We found Jaj Ca, a little local bar with good smells coming out the door. We managed to grab the last empty table in the crowded, noisy space. No menu--you talk to the waiter, or go look at what's on the bar and coming out of the kitchen. We ordered gambas (large shrimp), patatas bravas, pequillo peppers, grilled sardines, grilled chorizo, and marinated anchovies. Each dish was amazing. I have never had shrimp so sweet, simply grilled whole then bathed in garlicky herbed oil. The boys loved the fish so much we had to order a second plate of them. All this, plus two beers and two glasses of wine was 35 euros.
We rolled back to the Picasso museum, and this time only had to wait a few minutes. It's a strange collection--lots of his early works, and then Bam! It's 1954. I did really enjoy the rooms of all his studies of Velazquez' Les Meninas. And the museum is housed in a gorgeous old stone palace.
Home to rest. Made dinner for the boys, then Larry and I went out for a pinxtos crawl and some wine.