Tonight I’ve been busy tracking down information about places my daughter and I went in Barcelona, Spring 2014.
Turns out a friend is there and I’ve hunted down some details to send her. Thought I’d share with you too!
There were a few lesser known places of note.
Bosc del les Fades Cafe
The first was recommended to us by our tour guide, Fran. It’s called Bosc de les Fades Cafe. With Jessica’s interest in art and stories (Fran had noted how she carried her sketch/notebook everywhere), he believed this was a must see place for her.
Fran said it was one of his favorite places to go when he visits Barcelona.
“Really?” I asked. “Is the food good?”
“NO.” He replied flatly.
“So the drinks are good then?”
“Is it the Cola?”
“No,” he said. “But you must go, and when you do, you will see why I say you must go.”
So we went. And it was a fabulous experience. Even though the Sangria was not very tasty.
The reason to go is because of the atmosphere. It’s hard to explain and I don’t have photos processed ready for you, but the place is magical.
Click the link above to go to their website and see some photos, but I’ll have to revisit this with our own photos for you too. Honestly, I think mine are probably better.
La Pizza del Born
La Pizza del Born is a quaint little hole in the wall restaurant we found in the Born District, right across the street from an art market. I don’t know what the name of the art market is, but look for the area of town that the Picasso museum is in and head there.
We had their empanadas. Which were to die for. And while they call them empanadas, they don’t taste like anything I’ve had in Austin.
I. still. crave. them.
The reason this was such a find for us was simply this: I’m extremely allergic to pork. And my daughter has inherited this sensitivity. It’s not as bad for her as it is for me, but the last thing anyone wants to chance on a trip abroad is getting a hold of something that causes you to puke up your guts and worse for hours.
Needless to say, this made the trip difficult for us in many ways. Because in Spain, they celebrate their pork. And they don’t just use a handful of names for their pork dishes either. Many of the places we had our dinner were all pork, all the time, kind of places. Like the Museo del Jamon in Madrid for instance. Great for pork fans, but I was pretty hungry for the trip.
You know how here in the States, especially here in Texas, we have a ton of different names for every kind and cut of beef? We know that Angus is beef. As well as sirloin and top round. Brisket is a staple here, as is back strap and other pieces. They are all names for beef. Well, OK – back strap can be cut from any animal and we mostly eat venison back strap here, but that’s another story.
In Spain, they have the same sort of thing going on for names for pork. And with me not speaking a lick of the language, it didn’t help. They really just haven’t heard of someone allergic to pork. And it took forever to figure out how to ask someone if they cooked with lard.
Our tour guide, Fran, was funny though. “Lard?!” he’d exclaim. “We don’t cook with lard here – that’s Mexico. We only cook with olive oil!” It was like an insult to even suggest it. However, when we stopped in La Mancha, I found out they may not cook with it, but they do sometimes bake with it.
Oh man, but that’s a totally different adventure story.
The Born District
According to our guide, the Born District, aka the Gothic Quarter, is essentially the art district of Barcelona. He knew that my daughter and I were artists and that we were interested in finding something made locally to take home. So much of the stuff sold in touristy gift shops is made in China! And no matter what part of Spain we were in, it seems everyone carried the exact same stuff. 😛 And so Fran pointed us to the Gothic Quarter during our free time, so we would have the best chance of finding something made by a local artist that we could fit into our bags home. And he didn’t steer us wrong!
This is the part of town where you’ll find the Picasso Museum and a bunch of small shops that honestly remind me of the spirit of South Congress in Austin. Colorful, full of personality and flavor. It’s also the area where you can still see parts of ancient Roman walls and a gate for the original town of Barcino. Apparently there’s a tour you can take of an underground, sunken part of the ancient Roman city ruins that is underneath this area of Barcelona. They say it’s the largest in the world. However, we didn’t have time to do that too. Next time!
It’s in this district that we found a nice little pottery shop full of pieces made by local artists. We picked up a couple of colorful pieces, but unfortunately one got broken. I wish I could remember the name of the place. I picked up their business card because they had a sign stating they’ll ship around the world. But I have not since been able to find the card.
Best Yarn Store In Spain
However, it turns out that little pottery shop is just around the corner from the best yarn store I found in Spain during our trip, right there in the Born District. It’s a little place called “All You Knit Is Love” and it’s owned by Jennifer Callahan, a fabulous knit designer from Arizona!
Looking for yarn stores along our journey through Spain was interesting. Little locally owned yarn stores were certainly around in half the places we visited on our school tour. I didn’t always have time to leave the group to go visit one, but of the ones that I visited, there was something they distinctly had in common. All the yarn was kept in shelves behind the check out counter and under glass. It’s like walking into a jewelry store and I had to ask a clerk to see something, generally only one or two pieces at a time. (And this wasn’t easy without being able to speak the language either!)
It was a completely surreal experience! Our tour guide says the yarn is kept behind glass and away from buyers because they want to keep the yarn clean from people touching it. But I just don’t think that’s why it’s a trend there. I never got any vibe that someone was concerned with how clean my hands were.
Still, in either case, Jennifer’s shop is much different as you’ll see from my photo. When you walk in, the walls are colorful, there are baskets of yarn and fibers everywhere, lots of crochet hooks and knitting needles available – and most everything can be touched. Just like we’re used to in the States. It’s pretty sweet and she carries some gorgeous stuff. Here’s me and Jennifer after a really pleasant visit in her shop! No matter where you travel in the world, we yarn people are just – some of the coolest people around!
Well, that’s it for now.
More Spain stories later!