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Day Three of My Great Viking Adventure Part 2: Eating my way through Barcelona

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My kind of town. Even the Medieval City pictured in this mosaic featured
food stalls outside the city walls.

Choose whatever Tapas you fancy.
Then count the toothpicks.
Five toothpicks at Sagardi rang up a tab of
14 Euros with a glass of Rioja.

La Boqueria is Barcelona’s central
food market…
Barcelona is one of the most food-centric cities I’ve ever visited. Amazing pastry shops, candy stores, cafes and markets seem to be on every corner.  There are a staggering number of restaurants of every description and nationality.  And surprisingly, Barcelona is not an expensive place to eat. Lunch is a Catalan obsession and Prix Fixe menus of about 12 Euros abound.  And of course, there are Tapas and Tapas and more Tapas.  With a glass of Copa, Spain’s champagne, or Rioja, these morsels of food serve a purpose.   Spain still lives on its own schedule.  Even major business shuts down between 1:30 and 4:30 ostensibly so that workers can go home and partake of the main meal of the day.  But commuting times have made that a difficult thing to do.  So tapas are served at lunch and then later in the day to tide the populace over until their very late dinners.  Fortunately, you won’t be alone dining at, say, 8:00 pm, because Barcelona is such a huge tourist draw that hungry nationals from the rest of Europe and beyond will surround you. 
But if you really want to see the food and
avoid the crowds head to
neighboring Santa Catherina Market
in El Born where the locals shop.
         Bang in the center of Las Ramblas, the Broadway and Times Square of Barcelona all rolled up into one, is La Boqueria.  This market is one the great tourist attractions of the city.  Its stalls are an astonishing display of every food stuff imaginable.   While full of tourists packed into tiny food counters, locals still beat their way through the crowds to shop for their groceries.  A hint:  Just a couple of blocks away is Santa Catherina market in the fascinating El Born neighborhood.  Here you can actually see the food without the crowds. And all around the market are shops specializing in coffees, teas, olive oils, pastries, nuts and spices, and of course “Jamon”, Ham even more prized than Italy’s prosciutto. Any food lover can lose themselves in these welcoming places.  Sampling food is not only encouraged here but expected.  My work for the Daily Meal will offer any number of suggestions for food lovers to visit but in the interest of time, I’ll ask you to wait because after a long and wonderful food day in Barcelona, there was only one thought on my mind:  Boarding Viking Star.

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