Barcelona Day 2: Mercat de la Boqueria, Park Guell, Sagrada Familia & Bar Casi


Oh Barcelona. This city is irresistible in its own old-world charms, appealing to all kinds of international visitors. As the capital of Catalonia, an autonomous state of Spain, this city houses one of the most impressive attractions in Europe - the Sagrada Familia. We begin the day early in the morning at Mercat de la Boqueria, a very vibrant and touristy grocery and foods market!


This indoor marketplace is an overwhelming stunning mix of colours and variety of goods. The general vibe is still fairly calm and orderly. Especially coming from Southeast Asia where wet markets are a crazy mess, this is a welcomed contrast. Not sure if we were too early - but the hawkers were still kinda zoned out and quiet.


The fresh produce are neat and organized; however, their prices are not competitive as the chain store supermarket Carrefour which was only a stone's throw away. It's a great place to interact with the hawkers and practise a bit of Spanish - hola (hello), me gustaría tener (I would like to have..), más barato (cheaper).

It is a trend to stock up on some ingredients (evidently, from several of our airbnb fellow tenants) for simple bites over breakfast or supper. The restaurants' opening hours are really erratic, and chances are you would be there for specific meals rather than popping in constantly to address hunger pangs.


We didn't get anything from the market because we were heading out for the entire day and didn't want to lug too much stuff along. Hopped onto a metro train at Liceu, we were headed to Vallcarca station to get to Park Guell.



The metro ride was thankfully, uneventful! Having heard many rumors about the dangers of Barcelona's metro filled with pickpockets, we were extra cautious. But the route of Liceu-Vallcarca was packed with tourists equally keen to go to Park Guell, so it was quite a chill ride.


You can choose either to stop at Vallcarca or Lesseps metro station and walk, either of which is quite a strenuous climb up Carrer de les Medes - at least a 15 mins walk before we reached the entrance of Park Guell. It is the most straight forward route as compared to others - more winding, though less steep. The satisfying part about climbing from Vallcarca is to quickly having a spectacular view of the apartments on the hilly northern Barcelona.




Spring was just bursting into bloom, and there were these yellow flowers everywhere! I just love the vibrancy of these - such sunshine and cheer! Walking along the paved pathways in the park was very relaxing too 😊





We made a stop at Turó de les Tres Creus, the highest point of Park Guell, from which there is a lovely 360 degree view of the surroundings. Nobody is allowed to climb onto the historic remains anymore, 


From the highest point, the view was slightly blocked by the shrubs and foliage that was growing really tall! We walked around to find an alternative vantage spot - and we even spot the Sagrada Familia in the distance!


Gorgeous view spotted when walking along the park paved pathways!


The "Monumental Zone", a colourful mosaic display area inside Park Guell, is one of the grandest masterpiece by Gaudi. There is a terrace area where you get to see the mosaic structures inside without actually entering the park.


The most iconic structure will be the Casa Del Guarda, which looks like a carrot cake with mascarpone frosting atop! Although the entrance fee is not super expensive (7.50 euros), personally I think there isn't a need to enter unless you're a big fan of architecture or if you want to touch them. That's because we could already see many structures from the outside.

From Carrer de Larrard, we walked to Bar Casi, the place I had the best meal in Barcelona! I highly recommend this unassuming little eatery - it doesn't have grand gestures nor beautiful plating, but I absolutely love the food and service there.


At Bar Casi, I got to understand what the locals really eat - there were no tourists in here at all, mostly older local folks that were just getting their lunch fix! Spanish food is not just about seafood tapas and paella... The menu at Bar Casi is straight forward, you can order an entree (premeiro), one main (segundos) and one beverage (soda, sangria, wine, water) for a standard menu del dia (menu of the day) price - 12.50 euros.

I would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else that offers such great value food in the whole of Barcelona. (Most menu del dias cost upwards of 18 euros, and they tend to be very touristy places)



Here at Bar Casi, we were introduced to Catalan food, which I was ignorant to what exactly it was. While I was painstakingly translating their menu one by one, the service staff came over and recommended to us Catalan soup with chicken and Escudella soup. There was a slight communication breakdown as they were very loosely translated. Seeing that the Grilled Lamb Chops are very popular with the other diners, we also ordered that, along with Grilled Hake Fish.

I was enthralled by the soups' flavours. I wouldn't say that I love them straightaway, to be honest, the first few spoonfuls were quite perturbing and an adventure... I cannot accurately depict what it tastes like, there were a mix of spices and chickpeas, and I know for the life of me I have never eaten anything like that before. It was very nourishing and nutritious, and to be honest I was quite full after I finished the soup - look at the generous portions!

But when the fish and grilled lamb chops arrived, my appetite was renewed once again. The fish was delicious and lightly flavoured with a citrusy mouthwatering sauce, while the lamb chops were very juicy and fragrant, not overly oily. It's fairly 'simple food' but I am sure it's not easy to make it taste so good! By the time we were done with our meal, the whole eatery was packed with folks!

The service is simply ace. From the first service staff that introduced the menu to us with earnest, to the staff that collected our payment (he prepared the change in advance to save us time), we felt super welcomed and happy even though we were just tourists who would probably never return.


I would go so far to say that it is a restaurant worth travelling to - it has the full heart to properly serve their diners with really good food! ♡ It is also very close by to Park Guell, which makes sense to stop by after for lunch (they open at 1pm).

Bar Casi
Carrer de Massens,
74, 08024 Barcelona, Spain

In between Bar Casi and Sagrada Familia, I decided to try out Cabify, aka the Uber of Spain! I was seeing it repeatedly on my Google Maps and finally caved in to give it a go. Depending on what's the promos for first-time users at the point you use, you can get a pretty good rate for a short distance ride. For me, it was 3 euros off for 3 rides. It was a pleasant ride, and we even managed to have a short conversation with the driver during the journey. He was learning English on the job while driving with Cabify, which is pretty cool (his English is good enough to sustain a conversation). Most of the locals cannot really speak English. He explained the history of Sagrada Familia a bit when he knew that's where we were headed.


He dropped us off at a corner of Sagrada Familia, a large unfinished Roman Catholic minor basilica in Barcelona, also the #1 highlight in the city. Wow, it is truly such a breathtaking sight with so much details. We did not know where to start looking so we took a slow walk around the entire structure that was still a work in progress, and soon it became clear to us. There were the original, weathered, towers in front, with the newer towers being constructed at the back. After 135 years of building it, it is slated to complete by 2026. It is the epitome of - "there is no perfection, only continuous work to make it more perfect".


This magnificent structure can be seen from afar, and when completed, it should be the tallest church in the world with its 18 spires. There are three main facades to the church, the Nativity façade to the East, the Passion façade to the West, and the Glory façade to the South. Each of the facade depicts a story in the Bible including the birth of Jesus Christ. (The historic significance of every part of it is just too much to absorb in one session to be honest)


Pug alert! Oh my god I love pugs ♡


The entire streets surrounding the Sagrada Familia were swarmed with tourists, and it's really hard to find an angle to take a photo with it! This was the best we could manage until we went to the garden slightly further away so we could see it in its entirety.





Tourists galore - case in point! Well, this IS the largest attraction in Barcelona, so there's no surprise here. From here, we made our way back to Gothic Quarters - what happens after will be written in another post, this is getting too long ♡ See ya in the next post!

Never miss a post again!

I share interesting episodes in life revolving around food, lifestyle, travel and inspirational ideas. If you would like to stay in touch, follow me on my Instagram on @amieishungry and Facebook page!

Amie

a travel and food blogger with a constant longing to be somewhere to makes her feel alive ☆ life's an adventure

No comments:

Post a comment

Join the discussion...