It’s never an easy task deciding where to go and what to see when you’re a tourist in a new city, but after 4 days of non stop touring, I narrowed it down to 3 essential “do not miss or you’ll regret it stops.” One involves the heart and soul. Another speaks to the basic human need for sustenance, but with beauty, and lastly, but certainly not least speaks to our need for rest and relaxation.
Today, I give you my 3rd place choice,The Mercado de La Boqueria or La Boqueria for short. An amazing out-door Marketplace that rivals any other in Europe and can stand its own against Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market. Located in the Ciutat Vella area of the city, an area bustling with activity and full of people, it’s easily accessible from the Underground Metro. You exit the subway, pop up to the top and it’s right in front of you!
The Market has been around for a while, a few hundred years in fact! It was first documented in the year 1217 and it has continued to exist in some fashion since that time. The first modern structure was completed in 1853 and the current metal roof has been in place since 1914. La Boqueria is open 6 days a week and there are not too many times that it’s not full of shoppers and tourists alike.
The street the Market is located on is in the old city where narrow lanes are the norm and shoppers can find some ahem….unique stores and well…other things. For instance this Ham Museum. That’s right, a museum devoted to the infamous delicacy, Iberian Ham!
And then if you look to the left of the Ham Museum there is this rather umm….different museum that I’m sure attracts a few takers as well. Europe has a much more relaxed take on “things of this nature,” than Americans do.
But what to my wondering eyes should appear than this absolutely wonderful, amazing site that is located to the immediate left of the Market. YES!!! A vision of loveliness from home. Dunkin!
Now that I’ve given you all these visual landmarks, let’s take a deep breath and plunge into the incredibly fun, exciting and mouth watering La Boqueria!
Vendor after vendor showing the world famous Iberian Hams and spicy sausages. These hams are dry cured and very pricey indeed! They bear no resemblance to ham as Americans know it. Paper thin slices are shaved off the ham and served alone or with bread, cheese and olive. One of these hanging hams would probably have 300 hundred servings.The aromas from the hams and sausages fill the Market air. There must be 20 Ham vendors in the La Boqueria. Those little packages for sale contain mere ounces of ham.
And it is the Easter season all over the world and Spain is no exception. Easter is widely celebrated as the most Holy Day of the year in Spain. And just like in the USA, candy and sweets are a big part of the celebration. Chocolate bunnies, eggs and chicks are very popular. And apparently shoes are too!
If there are 20 Ham vendors at the Market then there are 30 Fish Mongers selling a huge variety of fish and seafood. Some of which…well, may be a lot of which, I had never entertained eating before. This vendor sells a huge variety of Mollusks. I adore clams, mussels and oysters and wish I could have bought a bunch to take home and cook.
Then this vendor had the largest and freshest looking Langostinos! Such mouth watering delight! A staple in Paella, but not so commonly known in the USA, they are marvelous.
In the “I never thought of eating that” category, are the live Barnacles. Huh…and I thought barnacles were just something you scrapped off the hull of your boat!
Dorado is a type of fish very commonly eaten in Spain. Also know as Sea Bream, they are often grilled and served whole.
Welllll….after a quick photo of these guys, I just kept walking! Just look at those teeth, will ya?
And then there is the ever popular no matter where you are in the world, Salt Fish! In Spain, it is Bacalao.
But Fish and ham are not the only wares for sale. Fresh vegetables so wonderful looking that I just wanted to snatch one up and take a bite. Look at these gorgeous shiny peppers!
Did I mention the Funky Chicken? Well, here they are, 2 darling dancing chicks holding court over Ostrich and Emu eggs! Duck, Goose and Chicken are also available. And no, I was not tempted to buy an Emu egg!
The Meat Butchers are also well represented. Cut to order beef, lamb and goat. Lots of goat. Skewered meats like kabobs are popular in Spain.
Strawberries are in Season in Spain and they are shipped all over Europe. Huge, sweet, juicy and full of flavor. Dan and I went through a whole box. Fruit vendors are also present and several had fresh juices by the glass. My strawberry coconut was delicious and thirst quenching.
Several vendors had paper cups full of Iberian Ham or Sausages for sale that shoppers could snack on while walking the aisles. I can vouch for how wonderful they were!
And Tapas bars were very well represented! Simple counters with bar stools for seating, you pulled up a seat and ordered your small plates until your appetite was sated. There were very few empty seats anywhere. These photo shows a Seadfood/ Fish Tapas Bar menu. It all looked good until I saw the “Fried White Bait.” I think something was missing in the translation. I hope………….
Dried peppers or “Paprika,”Garlic, Onions, Olives of all kinds, Wines and Olive Oil. Plus a bakery or 4 completed this awesome La Boqueria Market!
I hope you enjoyed our visit to the Market today. I sure enjoyed sharing this wonderful grand experience with you my friends! Can’t wait to share my #2 choice of things not to miss in Barcelona with you.
If you enjoyed this visit, please go to my website, www.thejourneygirl.com and leave me a comment. I’d love to hear from you!
Thanks for stopping by today. Journey on!