1. La Boqueria – Our guidebook described this outdoor food market as one of the most spectacular in Europe. Incredibly, La Boqueria surpassed our expectations. The endless displays of perfectly stacked fresh fruit and fruit juices were so enticing that we came back the next day for more. A clever merchant gave us a free sample of some highly addictive chocolate covered nuts. Of course, we had to buy half a kilo ‘for our friends,’ but I felt guilty. If we buy chocolates in Spain, are we cheating on our new home, Switzerland, the land of chocolate?
5. Cava – Cava is Spanish champagne. We brought four bottles home. Need I say more?
6. The Caves – The caves at Arta (not to be confused with cava) make you feel like you’re in a Nancy Drew mystery. They’re wet, dark, deep and totally cool if you are a fourth grade boy or anyone else. The guided tour failed to answer any of my questions about the geological formation and history of the cave, but featured a musical light show resembling something I saw during the holiday season at the zoo in Toledo, Ohio.
7. Paella – There is no paella in this picture; it’s another picture of La Boqueria, but it was too cute to leave out. We ate paella twice during our week in Spain at what our guidebook hails as two of the best restaurants for this most famous Spanish seafood dish. Unlike the paella in the states which features shellfish and meat, the paella in Barcelona included only seafood. Perhaps this is the more authentic way, but I think a little chorizo makes everything tastier. Nonetheless, the paella was delicious.
8. Modernisme Art and Architecture – I know next to nothing about art and architecture and even I could tell that Gaudi’s work is one of a kind. The unusual curves on the buildings and extraordinary use of color give Barcelona its distinct character. We bought a small ceramic gecko, a miniature of Gaudi’s gecko with multicolored mosaic tiles in the Parc Guell, to hang on our Christmas tree and remember this trip.
1. 9. Chocolate de la Taza – I’ve heard it called European or Mexican hot chocolate in the states. It tastes like a melted, high-quality chocolate bar mixed with rich creamy goodness and the result is thicker than chocolate fondue. In