We had one full day left in Barcelona, so we packed it to the gills with cultural experiences. We started the day by arriving to the Cook & Taste building for an expedition to La Boqueria (the market) and a half day cooking class. The building was located in the Gothic Quarter, just off La Rambla and a short walk to La Boqueria, where we went to get supplies for our tasty Catalan meal.
Our teacher was absolutely adorable, and everyone in our cooking class was highly entertaining and enjoyable. There were only about 12 of us, and by the end of the day and copious amounts of wine, we all felt like family.
Since the class size was fairly small, we each got lots of hands-on time behind the stove, as well as plenty of time to have fun, drink, and take photos. And is that not one of the most beautiful meals you've ever seen? As well as the seafood paella, we had a squash soup, potato pancakes (peeled and sauteed in part by yours truly!), and a creme de catalan for dessert.
The class ended up going until late in the afternoon, and though we half wanted to go home and sleep off our wine and food buzz, we sucked in our food guts and pressed on with the tourist experience, heading to the Barcelona City Museum where an entire Roman town had been excavated and was on display in the basement. We then scooted over to the Barcelona Cathedral, dedicated to St. Eulalie, with its impressive flying buttresses, Gothic spires, and guard swans... yes, guard swans.
And still, our day was not complete! After a quick stop at the hotel for freshening up, we headed out once more into the cold night for a Spanish guitar concert at the Palau de la Musica Catalana. Manuel Gonzalez played a beautiful assortment of classical and original music, all with a Spanish flair. It was absolutely amazing what that man could do with those strings.
The next morning, we waved a sad goodbye to Barcelona as we boarded the Brilliance of the Seas for the beginning of our 12 day Mediterranean adventure. And an adventure it was. But first we had a day at sea to get to know our floating home away from home, and more importantly...