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Feb 19, 2010 - Iberian excursion, day 8am - Barcelona

Our walking tour starts on Las Ramblas, the large 'Champs Elysses'-esque boulevard in the heart of Barcelona.

The street quickly turns from an open walk to a series of street performers, flower carts, and...

some of the most random street shops anywhere.

Ella's lovin' looking around!

We find a bird stand...

Hey, there's a canary for Jere.

Actually, there are a bunch of canaries!

The street performers here bring it!
(We don't always know what it is, but they bring it...)

Ella's not scared at all. Maybe she just trusts dad.
To me, this guy looks like if James Hetfield (of Metallica) was raised on the streets of Spain.

Jill takes her to a couple of prettier street performers.

Also all up and down Las Ramblas are restaurants and cool buildings.

Las Ramblas is also flanked by winding alleyways, which usually lead to a whole bunch of other alleys...

...but some lead to churches like Santa Maria del Pi.

The market in front of the church is Plaša Sant Josep Oriol.

Back on Las Ramblas, next up is Palau de la Virreina, formerly the residence of a Peruvian official, now it is a Spanish government building.

Ah - our main destination this morning - Mercat de Sant Josep.

Perhaps the most common type of stall in the market is the butcher shop, which comes in all sorts of varieties...

There are the 'normal' and non-scary shops selling hams - the less expensive serranos and the much more expensive ibericos.
(So yummy!)

Ther are the bizarre ones with various sizes of sheep heads, massive cow tounge, and other unmentionables.

There are feet/tripe/other-nastiness stores.

I think this 'bowl o hearts' is a first for me.

This isn't, but it is always interesting.

Then there was this place with a sense of humor. They

It isn't all meat. There are patry shops, where, like any good Mulcay, even if not in Amsterdam, I will take picture of phallic pastries.

The seafood booths are always fascinating!

The produce is not only pretty,

It can be unusual. This "pitihaya" is something we hadn't encountered.
When mom asked me what it tastes like, I said "like a pink kiwi" (meaning the fruit, not the New Zealander).
She didn't understand how something could taste pink, but she tried it and agreed.

We hadn't seen such a pretty display of cherry tomatoes before.

Oh - the cheese shop looked so good. I'm still kicking myself for not finding a time to get some cheese and wine and relax somewhere.
The pace of the trip was interesting with Ella. It was relaxed in that we weren't rushing everywhere and trying to enjoy the culture, but it wasn't exactly perfectly laid back because it always took longer to do thing and get to places with the baby and stroller and such.
Totally worth bringing her! We'll just have to go back!

The spice shop was intimidating to me, but I bet Palak and Carey would have loved this.
OK, we're hungry - so we're going to sit ourselves down at a hot spot in the market and get some lunch!

original Barcelona itinerary