July 2011 Barcelona la Barri Gottica
I have fallen profoundly in love with Northern Spain – well at least the Northernmost parts. It is not at all povo like the South of Spain which has lots of farmers and itinerants and wheatfields. This Northern part supports the rest of Spain – so they claim. No wonder the Basques and the Catalans want to secede. The Catalan Spaniards here all live in apartments and wander the streets chatting and eating. Barcelona has a long Summer like Australia and if it rains much it is nearly always late at night when the Spaniards finally go to bed. They are not a race who sleeps much….I have never suffered so much from sleep deprivation. We are up at 7 am each day and don’t hit the sack till at least midnight here. Food and drink is so cheap.
Today we went to la Boqueria which is Barcelona’s big fresh food market which has been there since the middle ages and is like our Vic Market only more dense and far more picturesque. The food is sublime. Even down to the bulls’ heads, balls and penises that you will be pleased to know I got a great shot of. I am intending to make the photos into interesting place mats for our dining room table.
The Spanish like to eat fresh and cheap here and everyone schleps a little food trolley behind them buying food each day. Upon my return we shall now be living in the same manner – I shall have my little trolley and my fresh tapas each day from the market. And our family shall eat little snacks on toothpicks from now on made from organs and entrails.
So much more sensible. And fresh.
After the market we went to the most amazing place on earth. This is what I love about the Catalans (Barcelonans) their expenditure on architecture and whimsy is limitless so they have this beautiful scenic artistic city. We had a private visit with a world famous patissier who made the wedding cake for Adrian Ferria (number one chef in the world) a few years back. The average wedding cake costs about $20,000 but hey – WORTH EVERY CENT!
He makes cakes that explode when you blow the candles out. He made a chocolate replica of the spanish actor with the world’s biggest male member (you can request the exploding variety) – and I’m here to tell you it is rather large. I got to hold a chocolate version of it and got a photo of that too which will also become in time a place mat for our table. Spaniards are Umpaloompas in stature – I normally tower over them – so this appendage is quite a piece of art………
This pastry chef makes cakes which are enormous and are gardens you walk through – or they fly away or they replicate whole cities, or they are edible walls, or chocolate aeroplanes or once he made a cake for 12,000 people and it was a replica of the bank La Caixa and it was brought in by Roman Centurions on horseback. He is the most talented and amazing mind I have ever seen. Omigod what a wonderful job he has!
He did one for an airline and it was an aerial shot of Toulouse.
Incredible – and edible.
Then we went to Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. When I entered I felt my soul lift heavenwards. I do not know why the Pope has not beatified Gaudi posthumously. His work is truly stupendous and shows what the human mind can achieve if unfettered by the narrow provincialism and economic parsimony of most countries (ie Australia). You have to admire the Catalans’ love of all things extravagant and spectacular. I am jealous of them having such a beautiful city. Melbourne architecture can be so bland and boring in comparison. We have sacrificed grace and beauty for maximum profit and utilitarianism in our modern-day architecture and it is such a shame.
We are off to a Flamenco Concert tonight in the most whimsical and beautiful palace of music on this earth. The Palais de la Musica Catalan. What a masterpiece.
I am sure I shall cry.