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Showing posts with label Barcelona. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Barcelona. Show all posts

Barcelona – A Trip between Books, Coffee and Sweets

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

I started planning my trip to Barcelona a few months back and after I had finished adding all the things I wanted to visit, I was already bored. Don’t get me wrong, the trip was amazing, way more than I expected, but pinning every landmark, bookshop, coffee shop and anything in between was a daunting process. I had the feeling that once I’ll get there I will be strolling the streets without a map or GPS. Well, it wasn’t like that because I did manage to get lost. It’s a gift, what can I saysome have it, some don’t.

On my first day, I woke up really early, ready to explore the city. I hopped on in the Metro with one thing in mind – to get a coffee. Nearby the Diagonal Metro station, Starbucks was waiting for me with a fresh, hot coffee, the perfect way to start the day. I took my cappuccino with chocolate (for which I paid extra – like you pay at McDonald’s for a slice of baconbecause I was silly enough to think that they were giving it to me for free) to go because I didn’t want to waste any minute. After a couple of “turn right, turn left,” “that’s not the wayandhmm, I think I’m lost,” I finally found my first bookshop – La Central.

La Central is a bookshop with a wide selection of books in Spanish and a smaller, but eclectic selection of books in English and other languages. It’s also thought to be the best bookstore in Barcelona with five locations from which one is a café. Unfortunately, it was close, but I did make a couple of pictures from outside, as a reminder that not everyone gets up early as I do.

Inside the La Central Bookshop
I continued my way throughout the beautiful streets of Barcelona, passing by and taking pictures of important landmarks such as Fundacio Antoni Tapies or Casa Batllo – one of the most iconic monuments built by Gaudi. On my way to the famous La Rambla, I found another library, which obviously was closed, Llibraria Antiquaria Farre. I was sad to find it closed because they have a selection of rare and out of print books in a wide variety of topics, including first editions, hunting, law, cooking, magazines and vanguards.

Llibraria Antiquaria Farre
After an hour or two, I finally got to Placa de Catalunya, an enormous plaza located in the heart of Barcelona at the junction of Eixample districts and Las Ramblas. This magical square it’s not only an important transportation center, but it’s also home of a plethora of monuments, fountains, shopping centers and coffee shops.

Dazzled by the architecture and the smell of lime, I nearly passed by Happy Books, a bookshop located in Bari Gotic, on Portal de l'Àngel, a busy shopping street. The bookshop is one of the oldest in Barcelona, being founded in 1885 and it resembles a huge labyrinth split by arches leading to a new room with a new theme

Outside the Happy Books Bookshop

I found many interesting books, both in Spanish and English, but the most interesting things that caught my attention were the post-its with various quotations of famous people such as Aristotle, Cicero, Confucius and many others.
Post-it Panel with famous quotes
It was time to leave behind the bookshop and head back to La Rambla. I was eager to visit La Boqueria, Europe’s best markets, born somewhere in 1200. As years passed, La Boqueria became an important commercial supply for many restaurants as well as tourists and locals. It was praised by renowned chefs around the world like Ferran Adria from El Bulli Restaurant in Roses, Spain or Thomasina Miersfrom the Wahaka Restaurant in London or even writers like Manuel Vazquez Montalban. The market it’s like a gastronomic temple where you can eat and shop. There’s an abundance of seafood, fresh or salty fish, vegetables, fruits, herbs, sweets and wine. After drooling at every show-window, I left from there with sushi and spring rolls. I honestly couldn’t decide what to buy and even if I did, the lines were a bit long. It’s very hard to stop and look at something without being pushed by someone.

La Boqueria chocolate stand
Overall it was a great day. I enjoyed everything from the nicest people on the world to the cleanest streets I have ever seen. Don’t miss the part two of my Barcelona – A Trip between Books, Coffee and Sweets.

Bookshops Mentioned

La Central Bookshop
Carrer de Mallorca, 237
Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 09.30 to 21.30
Saturday 10.00 to 21.00

La Central del Raval Bookshop
Carrer de Elisabets, 6
Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 10.00 to 21.30
Saturdays 10.00 to 21.00

Monday to Friday 10.00 to 21.30
Saturdays 10.00 to 21.00

La Central del Lliure
Passeig de Santa Madrona, 40-46

La Central del MACBA
Plaça dels Àngels, 1

Llibraria Antiquaria Farre Bookshop
Canuda, 24
Happy Books
Av Portal de l'Àngel, 5
Ciutat Vella, El Barri Gòtic

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