Past Monday we had a Tapas Tour with a group of really nice clients. The group was here in Barcelona for the annual medical nutrition congress, which is celebrated every year in a different city around the world.
We met at the hall of the impressive Rey Juan Carlos I hotel were the bus picked us up and took us to the city. Next stop was the busy city center of Barcelona.
As buses are not allowed to drive down the famous Las Ramblas, we stopped in front of the Hard Rock Cafe and walked down Las Ramblas until our first stop: Mercat de la Boqueria. The Mercat de la Boqueria is one of the most visited sights in all Barcelona and definitely a great starting point for a tour around the old town.
We continued walking down Las Ramblas and visited the Gran Teatre del Liceu, one of the most important Opera Houses in the world. Then we headed towards the Gotic Quarter, where we planned to discover some of the hidden treasures of ancient Barcelona.
Before our first break at Orio tapas bar, we visited the impressive Plaça Reial, a famous square located in the Gotic Quarter and also known for its many outdoor venues. Although built in the 19 th century, the Plaça Reial reminds to the Plaza Mayor of Madrid (17th century) and the Plaza Mayor of Salamanca (18th century).
During our first break at the Orio tapas bar we enjoyed drinks and some traditional tapas from the north of Spain, or to be more precise: from the Basc Country. These kind of tapas are called “pintxos” and consist of a small slices of bread upon which an ingredient or mixture of ingredients is placed and fastened with a toothpick.
Once in the heart of the Gotic Quarter we had the chance to discover the old Barcelona, where everything began. We traveled from the Carthaginian Barcino trough the Roman colony Julius Augustus built on Mons Taber (the current Plaça Sant Jaume). We also explored the narrow streets in order to enjoy the Catalan Gotic Arquitecture (13th-15th centuries) at its best, mixed in some cases with neoclassical and even modernist arquitecture. We admired the Cathedral of Santa Cruz and Santa Eulalia and heard some mythological stories we chose to believe.
In Plaça del Rey, we found sound serenity to imagine the day the Catholic Monarchs (Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile) received Christopher Columbus, just arrived from his expedition to America, in the Salón del Tinell.
Finally, we visited the literally and amazing Cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar, an outstanding example of Catalan Gothic architecture with a purity and unity of style that is very unusual in large mediaeval buildings.
And then, we were ready to enjoy more pintxos and drinks at the bar Sagardi, next to the Cathedral. The rest is history, because as you may know: “what happens in Barcelona, stays in Barcelona“.