Saturday, July 31

Indian Earth in London

One of the things I really love about blogging is the capacity to make new friends, people who you would never had a chance to meet otherwise. One of my reasons for stopping over in London on my way back from a conference in Spain was not only to have some time to do some galleries that I have always wanted to explore but to catch up with Emma who some of you may remember from Indian Earth.  Emma and her family were in London visiting family from her usual home in Goa, India where she and her partner decided to make their home and leave the madness of London behind.
We had a glorious, full day with her beautiful daughter and gorgeous new baby boy, enjoying the best of the English summer in Hyde Park. Then I spent the following days pounding the pavement around London, beating off the swarms but enjoying the sights and the fantastic offerings of galleries and museums! My feet were very happy to finally get home.

Sunday, July 18

Mercat la Boqueria

This place was my No.1 must do in Barcelona. The very old, very famoud Mercat la Bouqueria. A city market in operation since 1214! It certinly lived up to all expectations.
I entered from a side way not the main arch(coz i kept getting a bit lost in this tumbling town) a beautiful corrodor flanked by ancient pillars.

Now not alot here is local or organic but the quality and sheer variety, volume and quality is quite impressive.You can find anything in this market! Eggs? No problem. What sort would you like? Emu, goose, duck, quail, chicken. Every ova you can think of!

Pintxos- a Catalanian tapa, served on sticks ready to be cooked on the spot and eaten and so healthy. These aregreen  pimiento and potato and straight pimiento.

These strange beasts that look like chicken feet are known as goose barnacles. Sadly I never tried any.

Im amazed at the lack of destruction of public property, there is very little graffiti and public goods and ancient public artifacts seem to remain intact.

This stall sells only offal and organs, the English translates into the 'inside bits' stall. Tongue, stomach, trachea, whatever you fancy you can find it here.

My favourite peaches - the donut peach- abound here at this time of year. The many varietals of produce here is quite incredible, not just one melon, or one or two peaches, ype of prawn or fig. There are many varieties of each kind of produce. The wealth is staggering.

These melons are similar to a honeydew but appear more favoursome, sweeter and are shaped like an Aussie rules ball. These melons are good.

Berries..plenty! hey look so stunning. I did wander around with my jaw hanging and just wished i had a few days to think, shop and cook here using some of this amazing produce. So many people I sure did piss alot of people off getting these snaps. Tourists getting in the way of people doing their daily shopping. I cant imagine having to fight the hordes whn Im shopping.

So many varieties of dried funghi- morels, browns, chanterelles , the list goes on. Additionally they are not sold in 50g stingy plastic envelopes.

Mushroom pintxos

I visited la Bouqueria at about 3pm with no breakfast or lunch under my belt. I couldnt resist some of the donut peaches followed by one of these pintxos- prawn and baby squid plunged into hot oil for 10 seconds and handed straight over.

Note the tomatoes in the picture below. They are HUGE! Never seen anything like them.
 There were stalls devoted to only tomatoes of every variety. It was certainly summer heaven.

The seafood variety was dead impressive and I wanted to try the razorfish below but wil have to wait until I get home and go razorfish 'hunting' In Australia we waste these delicious molluscs as fish bait.

My favourite pic is below- it sums up the markets and eating style here. You can find anything and everything is eaten. Sheeps head anyone? No problem

Thursday, July 15

aching feet

My Spansih girlfriend and I walked the old quarter of Barcelona last night. We walked and walked and walked. We walked for so long and far and got lost and didnt care for so long that the bars shut around us, chairs were packed on cobbled lanes and all that was left were the late night revelers and the street dweller stucked up in stone corners below medieval turrets and gargoyles. Our aimless , spellbound, fantasising wandering through these ancient buckled streets lit with lamps, their high stone walls arching above and hiding centuries of stories hidden within  came to an end when the grey-blue slivers of the night sky, ribboning above, faded and we failed to' find an open bar anywhere in this medieval gridsquare of  Barcelona. This the Land of the 'up very late'! What the? We finally found a well earned Mojito  in the old harbour, at the base of the glorious and ancient Santa Maria del Mar on a moored woodent boat, floating on the waters edgea and  alight with candles.

Both Ana and I are huge fans of the magnificent book by the name of 'Cathedral by the Sea' of which medieval Barcelona is another larger than life character in the story. We spent a while sipping and reflecting from our harbour moorings and both acknowledged that we felt like a friend of ours had lived amongst this ancient place during hard times of the reformation and both felt quite personally connected to the history of the Cathedral. Gotta love a good book for that! The Barri Gothi and the seedy, dark Ravel where men passed comment and drugs were offerred and small kids were still up eating icecream at 1 am, and it stole my heart with its living sense of history, gritty and real and yet brimming with life contemporary. Its a masterpiece in modern managment of culture what they have managed here.

Tuesday, July 13

Mediterranean Glory

arrived. ate. slept. swam
such a contrast to the winter left behind.
I have been staying south of Barcelona in a cape called Salou for these past few days before the conference begins with a girlfriend and her family. Glorious location. Imagine waking up to this everyday? The view from the bedroom Im in is just captivating. Not sure Im ready to hit the city.
We have been swimming, eating and taking siesta. Gazpacho, jamon ( oh my god the jamon!) glorious acorn grazing forest run wild pig ! superb. The fun of  being here for the experience of Spain winning the World Cup was priceless and couldnt have been planned any better if Id tried! .The roar echoing around the cape was impressive when that goal was scored.

Off to Barcelon today and conferncing starts tomorrow. sigh. Totally enjoying Spain and my friends and hope to get to the famous food markets in Barcelona today and meeting up with my friens for tapas tonight somewhere in the city. Glory days.