I’m discovering that Sundays are special in Barcelona – everyone is out and about, the cafes are as full as can be, many shops are closed, the beaches showcase more people than sandy space, and the city’s vendors are well aware and prepared.
While taking a leisurely stroll down to the beach this past Sunday – the immediate goals being to (a) do a little shopping for Joe and (b) find a spot in one of those chic cafés and drink some cava while gazing out at the half turquoise, half azure sea – we walked past a long row of little white tents housing members of the Taste of Catalonia Artisan’s Association and their handcrafted wares.
I was too focused on the tasks at hand to do more than encourage Joe to grab a (basically) home-brewed amber from one of the stalls (hey, “walkin’ around beer!”) to sip on our way to the shore, and pick up a sturdy wooden spoon for our otherwise well-equipped kitchen, but we agreed to spend more time at this pop-up market on the way back to the apartment if we had time.
After a breezy and bright late lunch at sand’s edge with two hefty sandwiches and one lighter-than-air bottle of bubbles (the last glasses of which were finished on my sarong in the sand one meter in front of the restaurant – “it’s ok, no problem!” our waiter assured me when I asked if we could take our elegant wine glasses into said sand), we floated, skipped and wandered our way back to the street market.
I’m so glad we did. Our first stop was, naturally, the micro-brewery whose beer we had tasted on the way down. Joe made the fair point that we should try all of their four beers – the first was good, so why not? – and each (a pale ale, IPA – sampled from a Dane’s massive glass – and porter) was more tastebud-tingling than the last. We experienced the added bonus of making a few brief friends with other patrons who stopped by for a pint (or liter) and chatted while their beverages were poured.
We resisted many of the other temptations (massive table of pastries and empanadas, local honey, chocolates, and much more) and managed to escape with only a large hunk of semi-soft, ashy-rinded cheese (still don’t know what it was, but it’s tangy, nutty and delicious) and one 2 euro glass of local cava. Of course. We’ll definitely be returning this week for another round of browsing (and likely buying).