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Archive for March, 2014

thousands of people every year visit barcelona and keep this bright memories for the whole life. for many of them along with the architectural masterpieces, world-known monuments and cultural amusements, goes the food tradition of catalonia.

it is impossible to avoid visiting one of the numerous croussanterias, pastelerias or churrerias while walking from one touristic site of the city to another. the smell of fresh bakery and sweets fulfills antic streets in the mornings and wakes up this amazing city.

what to start from when looking for gourmet experience?

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all over the city there are plenty of cafeterias, panaderias, creperias, croisanterias and other places worth to visit for a small brunch or a cup of tea with pastry.

but let’s look for places where you can enjoy the most delicious, exquisite and sophisticated culinary delights that deliever the best chocolate experience:

-pastelerias – pastery, confectionery  and cake shops places.

-chocolaterias – providing a revealing insight into the spanish chocolate food culture.

-cremerias/turronerias/horchata – places with more narrow specialization on famour catalan turros, horchata drink(popular spanish drink of milky nut juice -specially good in hot summer!) and ice-creams.

to make a comparison of the best traditional  “sweet” places, good step will be to visit famous and recommended ”escriba” and “baixas” pastelerias, located not far from each other.
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walking along lively rambla street you will not miss colorfully decorated entrance to “escriba”, but fisrts you will feel the delicious smell.   “escriba” attracts with the rich decoration of facade and shopfront with amazing giant cakes.

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you can enjoy best masterpieces of local sweet makers in the cozy hall of the cafe or outside at the narrow street that meets la rambla.

other famous pasteleria – “baixas” is located in the gotic quarter of raval, just few minutes from rambla.

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it is less spacious but can surprise with its unique products and atmosphere. the family business started 1958 as a simple bakery, now  with more than 50 years of experience presents quality and appetizing confectionary and catering.

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in this place you can see how fresh bakery and candies are brought to you just from the oven.

and do not forget to find time and make a walk along the carrer petritxol – best known and most historic street to drink thick and tasty “xocolata desfeta”(hot melted chocolate).

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choose especial catalan breakfast: “xocolata desfeta”(usual cup of chocolate), “suis”(chocolate with whipped cream on the top), chocolate with “churros”(fried pastries – more spanish way) and chocolate with “melindros”(another typical catalan pastries).
enjoy the broadless world of barcelona’s sweets-cafes and find your favorite ones!

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the time of the year has come again. weather is getting warmer, day is getting bigger, one by one the adventure parks in spain open their gates. choose the ones that suite you best!
huge relaxing pools, rides full of adrenaline, safari experiences and more.
here we introduce 5 worth visiting parks all over spain!

1)   portaventura – barcelona
only 1 hour distance from the beautiful city center, portaventura is a park offering six different worlds (mediterrania, polynesia, china, mexico, far west, sesamoaventura), each one of them containing different rides, themed performances, shops and restaurants.

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2)   warner park – madrid

easily reached by bus, one hour from the capitals center, warner park is a place full of attractions for all ages. you can relax on the cartoon carrousel, or test your limits on batmans ride!

are you ready for lex luthors latest invention?

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3)   terra mitica – valencia

150 km from valencias city center

here you can discover all that is hidden on the mediterranean, egypt, greece and rome, thousands of years converted into moments of fun, emotion and adrenaline.

enjoy street animation, gladiators, acrobats and amazing rides for a full adrenaline rush.

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4)   siam park – tenerife

along with other buses that reach the park, there is the free siam park bus service option for you to choose!

try the amazing, full of adrenaline slides

relax in the worlds biggest lazy rives

surf  on the worlds biggest artificial waves

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5)   cabarceno – cantabria
15 km from santander city center
a huge park, containing animals from all five continents in a semi-freedom situation. large fenced spaces are made in a suitable way, mimicking the original habitat of the animals. this is a big opportunity to enjoy a safari in europe!

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while spending amazing holidays in the world-famous capital of catalonia, that combines ancient historical remains, the latest innovations of the new millennium, unique cultural heritage and spirit, there is a number of “must” things to be discovered and experienced. one of this “must” things to do – is to travel across the markets of barcelona, to feel their buzzing atmosphere and life, trade there with the local sellers, try fresh traditional food and get some souvenirs or local products along with the unforgettable experiences.

the newest, most impressive and first covered market in barcelona is santa caterina market.

final renovation of santa caterina was performed in 2005 by the architects enric miralles and benedetta tagliabue. unique architectural idea of the market – multicolored ceramic roof in the shape of wave(the structure of the building is wooden), impresses the visitors from outside and invites them to check what is hidden underneath.

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santa caterina market originally was built in 1845 on the former site of the convent of santa caterina – here was the name taken from. spacious market was the main food supplier for the citizens and people from barcelona´s outskirts during the post-civil war period.

at santa caterina you will find the freshest seafood of hundred spieces – do not leave the market without buying some!

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santa caterina is a bright place with numerous stalls along with good restaurants and tapas-bars. do not miss the lunch in cuines santa-catarina restaurant – they are worthy to taste!

address :             francesc cambó, 16

working hours:   mon 7.30am-2pm; tue/wed 7.30am-3.30pm;

thu/fri  7.30am-8.30pm; sat 7.30am -3.30pm

(may be other timings in summer time).

the other market in bacelona, that is known worldwide, is la boqueria. la boqueria is located in the gothic district, on the famous las ramblas street. obviously, it is a great attraction for all the visitors of the city, but la boqueria still a place with many locals who come for shopping. la boqueria has retained her authentic traits and charm, together with the traditional way of things to be done and sold.

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la boqueria is the oldest operating market in europe. the official name is “mercat de sant josep” given by the carmelite convent, that once occupied this place. “la boqueria” from another hand, came from the name of medieval goat meat (“boc” in catalan) market, which was formed  here in the late 19th century.

very popular and highly reccomended bars at la boqueria are “pinotxo de la boqueria” na “el quim de la boqueria”, that present authencity and good spirit. though bars are often crowded, difficult to hesitate one-two drinks with traditional tapas.

stalls full of delicious sweets and chocolate masterpieces, as well as various ”turron” (have you already tried it?). here you will welcome you to try and buy their products.

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nowadays at la boqueria can be taken culinary courses, taught by the best chefs and sommeliers, that combine theory and practice.

la boqueria market performs as an informational center referent to all the food and cooking concerns.

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enjoy the walk around the market, and if you are a bit tired, is a good idea to get a portion of vitamins – in the market are many fruit stalls selling plastic glass with fruits or freshly made natural juices and cocktails!

address:             la rambla de sant josep

working hours:   every day from 8am to 8:30pm.

closed on sundays.

another big and really nice market in barcelona, that preserves its magnificent architecture and tradition style,  is sant antoni. this market is located in raval quarter and it is much bigger than boqueria. moreover it differs with the less amount of tourists.  this market is always very live, fresh and full of locals.

building was designed by antoni rovira i trias in 1882. just above the entrance to the market you can see the barcelona coat of arms with the bat on the top, and the year the market was built.

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on sundays around the market there are plenty of stalls with books and coins, here you will find assortment of various old collections of stamps, magazines, postcards and etc.

at the moment due to renovation, market is moved to the part-time premised located nearby.

 adress:                ronda sant pau/carrer comte d’urgell

working hours:   mon-thu 7am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-8.30pm;

fri-sat, 7am-8.30pm;

sun 8 am -15 pm – book and coin market.

walking around the markets do not forget to watch your bag and trade for the best quality and price!

 

 

 

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fallas in valencia is a traditional celebration held in commemoration of saint joseph , and a way of waving goodbye to the winter, while welcoming spring.

this is how it goes:

each neighborhood of the city has an organized group of people, the casal faller, that all year long works by holding fundraising parties and dinners, usually featuring  the famous valencia’s dish  “paella”. goal is to construct what is known as falla, in order to eventually burn it!
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fallas:
the fallas, giant papier-mâché figures, often 20 feet tall and more, parade through the city for the 5 day event until the climax on the fifth day. their theme is usually satirical. either political figures, sope stars or movie exotic creatures, the mood is colorful and playful.

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mascletas:

every afternoon at 2pm in plaza del ayuntamiento, an audio firework display takes place.
you already know that spanish people are known to be loud, here you can feel it to the fullest. just imagine that the fireworks and with the terremoto, which means earthquake.

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la desperta.
this is the waking alarm during the fallas. brass bands appear from the casals and begin to march down every street playing lively music . meanwhile,  the valencians offer people free of charge  firecrackers outside their windows at 8am in the morning! So oversleeping after a night out is not an issue.

ofrenda de flores a la virgin de los desamparados:  (the flower offering)
meanwhile with all the firework parade thing going on, another really important event takes place to honour valencia’s patron virgin.
thousands of falleros and falleras arrive to the city from all around the valencian state, wearing traditional costumes and dancing while they wend their way towards plaza de la virgen, to offer bouquets to the giant image of the virgin.
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each of the five fallas days is full of party and celebration, while around the city you can witness the giant figures.

the fourth night, “the night of fire” is when the celebrations draw to an end with an amazing firework display in the paseo de la alameda.

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the fifth night, the climax of the whole fallas event is when the crema (burning) takes place. all around the city, the giant figures are lit up. first the fireworks on them and afterwards the whole falla burns up. traditionally the falla in plaza del ayuntamiento in the one to burn last.

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only the best of all the fallas is left unharmed, winning a place in the fallas museum for all eternity.

fallas 2014
15-19 of march

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