Saturday, May 23, 2015

Postcard from Barcelona - final part

Today, ending the Barcelona travelogue with a stroll through the El Born (or short Born) district. It's part of 'the old city' (many buildings date back to medieval times), and it's full of lovely restaurants and boutiques, interesting architecture, a fabulous food market, beautiful churches and the Picasso museum.

Below is the 'Palau de la Música', a stunning Art Nouveau building with intricate and brightly colored mosaics, sculptures, iron work and stained glass, which houses orchestral concerts, classical guitar recitals and flamenco shows, and you can book tickets here

Palau de la Música - column details

The 'Mercat del Born' is Europe's largest covered square. It was used as a market from 1873 until 1971. In 2002 it was decided that the large cast iron structure should house Barcelona's 'Biblioteca provincial'. During excavation a medieval city buried underneath was discovered, and the library was moved to another location. It turned out that the buried city was in ruins... demolished by King Philip V. who defeated Catalonia in 1714's Great War of Succession, and put an end to Catalonia's independence, making it part of Spain. The restored market re-opened as a cultural center in 2013, marking the anniversary of nearly 300 years of oppression by the Spanish crown.

The El Xampanyet Tapas Bar. Absolutely wonderful, and because many people think so too, it can get very crowded. Arrive either very early or very late (i.e. outside lunch hours) to get a tiny little table, otherwise just stand by the bar or at one of the bistro tables (if you are lucky!).

Don't miss out on the Picasso Museum, which shows his early work in the most beautiful and tranquil surroundings; five interlinked palaces/town houses, which date back to the 13th-15th centuries. In the Palau del Baró (No. 17) an opulent neoclassical reception room dazzles on the main floor, decorated with crystal chandeliers, marble and a mix of baroque and classical elements.

A Flamenco dancer's office in one of the neighbouring courtyards (at No 20)

The Santa Caterina food market dates back to 1845 and was totally renovated in 2005. The result is an ultra modern structure with a swooping roof, covered with brightly colored tiles from Seville. Inside, traditional food stalls offer fresh food of every kind imaginable, and it is a perfect place to buy some of the famous Jabuga ham to take back home.

Located in the main building, the 'Cuines Santa Caterina' is a perfect place for lunch. The produce comes fresh from the market next door, and the space is light and airy, filled with plants and decorated with a fragrant wall of herbs.

The lovely 'Ohla Hotel', with its friendly staff and calm and beautiful rooms is located in a fabulous position...the Gothic and El Born districts are literally on your doorstep, and it is just a five-minute walk to the Passeig de Garcia (2mn to Massimo Dutti..)

The Ohla's roof terrace with it's pool, bar and lounge areas, and above all, it's fabulous view over Barcelona (on the right you can see the towers of 'Barcelona Cathedral' in the heart of the Gothic quarters)

Who would have thought it... the young man walking next to me is DS!

This was taken on our last trip to Barcelona, in February 2009:

Barcelona's famous son, Christopher Columbus, pointing towards America

Adiós, Barcelona! Until the next time...

Palau de la Música Catalana, 4-6, 08003 Barcelona

Mercat del Born, Carrer del Comerç, 2, 08003 Barcelona

Tapas Bar El Xampanyet: Carrer de Montcada, 22, 08003 Barcelona, +34 933 19 70 03

Palau Dalmases Flamenco: Montcada, 20 08003 Barcelona

Picasso Museum, Carrer Montcada, 15-23, 08003 Barcelona

Santa Caterina Market: Francesc Cambó 16, 08003 Barcelona. For opening hours click here

Cuines Santa Caterina: Francesc Cambó 16, 08003 Barcelona, Tel: +34 932 689 918

Ohla Hotel: Via Laietana, 49, 08003 Barcelona, Tel: +34 933 41 50 50

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  1. This blog brings so much happiness.... Que du bonheur !
    How precious are these moments spent with our young men/women...Enjoy! >3

    1. Chère Catherine, you are so right, these moments are precious <3 Wishing you and your family a very happy pont de la Pentecôte!

  2. Still in Barcelona, I read with a great interest your travelguide which is so complete, beautiffuly photographed, and can encourage anybody to visit this marvellous town. Dear Mai Tai once more you are the best and prettiest guide existing for Barcelona. I dont know if the temporary exhibition Picasso:Dali was already opened in the Picasso Museum when you were there but itwas very interesting.
    The description of all these subjects, architectural, history, etc are done with a real talent. Your big DS now! must be very proud of his fantastic mum.
    Once more bravo.

    1. Chère Monica, thanks so much for the kind compliments <3 Hope you are continuing to have a most wonderful time in Bareclona. I have a good mind to jump into the car and join you immediately... miss is already!! We saw the Dali exhibition too, after the Picasso. At this point, DS's interest was beginning to wear a little bit thin! Have a fabulous Sunday and a great remaining trip. Amitiés

  3. I meant your
    "Tall" son ! He is so thin like you, he must be handsome.

  4. Your travelogues are so enjoyable, thank you for sharing your impressions and photos of your birthday trip to Barcelona (and a happy belated birthday). You DS is so tall now and looks very handsome!

    1. Thanks so much memolline, so happy you enjoyed the postcards! I can't believe myself how much DS has grown..Bon dimanche!

  5. Love your tunic in the picture with your DS! What brand is it? You are always able to find great tunics, I can never find exactly the colour or the print I like! I'm too picky! :-) Emily

    1. Thank you Emily! The tunic is by Etro. It's a fabulous piece, and can easily be dressed up or down. Good luck, and have a happy Sunday!

  6. Dear MaiTai,

    Another wonderful tour around the rest of the history of Barcelona loved all three, also DS has grown into a tall handsome young man how time passes quickly, I myself am now a Nana of a lovely 1 yr old Grandson .
    Have a lovely weekend
    Jane x

    1. Oh a little grandson!! Many congratulations, dear Jane! Time flies indeed, carpe diem x

  7. What a joy to see more of your beautiful pictures- you managed to visit so many places that all reflect completely different atmospheres and images of the city. Where on earth do you find all the hints to these spots?? Again, lucky us, we can use your travelogues as fantastic and endless sources for sightseeing (plus dining, and not to forget shopping:)) oh, and dressing- I agree, the tunic is an exquisite piece, and the necklace makes it even more extraordinary. Can't wait to get mine:) DS is also a very special addition! Amazing how fast kids grow and how they change from our cute little boys to handsome young men...I still win the height challenge, for another year at most:)
    Frohe Pfingsten!

  8. Dearest Mai Tai,

    Thank you for part 3 of this great travel guide. Your hotel looks fantastic and the view from it quite fabulous!
    I can't believe your DS has grown so much! Time flies, doesn't it? My DD will be 18 next month! Have a wonderful remaining weekend, my dearest Mai Tai. Big mwahs, M xx

    1. Sorry, the 'M' stands for Manuela.xx

  9. What a lovely trip, and your son is so tall now. My little cousin was the same way, and he far outgrew both of his parents. Time does fly.

  10. How many days/nights did you spend in Barcelona? Was it enough time to see all that you wanted to see? Did you go outside of Barcelona? Emily x

  11. This has been such a beautiful and educational travelogue of Barcelona!
    Your photography prowess, like DS's growth spurt, is growing by leaps and bounds! At least DS is tall enough now that you don't have to put that thingy over his face! Now you can just crop his head off! Poor baby!
    What a wonderful education he is getting in his travels with you and DH!
    Love everything about this final post of Barcelona! Again, thank you for sharing this special time and place with us!
    Mwahs, T xx

    1. You know, my friend, I just love this pic of you and your DS together! Your style, his style, perfect proportion with tunic/pants! More than anything, I can just imagine that smile written all over your face...priceless<3 T xx

  12. Not only is DS uber tall and thin, but I see that he's extremely fashionable like his Mother! How wonderful that you have a catalogue of memories through this blog!

  13. Beautiful photos! Love how you capture the little details and character of the city. Will be saving this in my travel to-do file.

  14. Gosh, I remember when my son suddenly (or so it seemed) was taller than I! Your DS is so chic, like his mother! Thanks again for this virtual visit to Barcelona, dear MaiTai. I might even overcome my fear of heights to relax on the Ohla's roof terrace!
    Warm aloha,

  15. Thank you for the wonderful reports from your trip. Your photos are beautiful. I can imagine the people watching was excellent!
    These posts of yours are providing some great escape from reality for me. I feel refreshed! You look so relaxed and happy.

  16. Chère Mai Tai ton reportage sur Barcellona est magnifique comme toujours - et j'ai visité le site de Massimo Dutti, merci - mais Cristoforo Colombo n'est pas un fils de Barcellona ni un fils de l'Espagne. il est italien, il est né à Genova. ;-)

  17. Well, I am kind of sorry to see the Barcelona tour come to an end, but I know that there will be new travels and new adventures we'll be treated to soon, so adios to Barcelona and let's pack for the next trip.

    Barcelona is wonderful, though, especially through your eyes - so much glorious color and . . . food, a subject close to my heart! That market is stupendous - how I would love a day just to explore its bounty.

    Loved your hotel choice, too. But I think the Ohla should be renamed the Oh La La, as it certainly qualifies. I'll bet DS enjoyed the roof-top pool. I can't get over how long and lean he's become. He's making Mom look quite petite!

    Thank you for another lovely trip,

  18. Looks like you had the best located room in the hotel - centre top-most windows below the rooftop terrace? You are truly the most gracious blogger around, love your posts! :-) Emily

  19. Très chère Maitai
    Merci pour toutes ces adresses qui me serviront lors de notre voyage vers Barcelone en septembre
    Merci aussi pour la diversité de ce post de la culture de la beauté de la gastronomie tout est dans se post Bravo!
    Des achats chez Massimo?
    Bises ma chère

  20. Might I ask what type of camera you use? Love your pictures x

  21. Have loved your Barcelona series. Such a stunning city. But T I really can't believe how much DS has grown. When I started reading your blog all those years ago he was just a boy. And a young man for sure. Time goes so fast. Axx

  22. Dear Mai Tai,
    I saw the room's picture of your hotel. Is it possible that you add a bed for DS?
    Fanny from Paris

  23. Thank you MT, a lovely tour of Barca, will note for my next visit, so helpful. My son too, now aged 17 towers above me! How time flies, and how lovely to capture moments with photographs to bring back joyful memories. Enjoy your week. s