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Saturday, May 12, 2012

Spain,more than Football.

The moment we land in Barcelona one night, we weren't sure if we liked the city. It was boisterous, with people banging fists on the table, at the edge of their seats watching football in pubs. Best of all, we couldn't understand a word of Spanish!

As soon as day broke, light shone on a city so vibrant I've never seen before.

The below images are taken from Tarragona, outskirts of the Barcelona city. It's my favourite place!

Located next to the Mediterranean sea (sounds exotic, but my European friends say diving isn't fantastic), it's a nice day trip out of the bustling city.

What i like about this neighborhood is you can see some remain ants of Rome which you don't see in the city, it's like killing 2 birds with 1 stone!

Anfiteatro Romano de Tarragona.
Use a little imagination and think of the gladiators below!
This is the fighting arena.
Every architecture in Spain is an artwork. I am not a big fan of things that don't move but i pretend that i am interested and intellectual.

Other than buildings, their cakes are marveling elaborate pieces of art too.
Everything edible, SGD 180.
Buying ham is a must-do in Spain. Although it's difficult to buy ham when you're not a connoisseur. As Asians, the ham we know are the square pieces in the supermarket and my favourite is honey baked whilst my mum always buys the healthier choice, chicken ham.

In Spain, you'll find many shops hanging an entire severed pig's thigh. They look waxy and fake, but they're not.
You can either buy the whole leg for more than 100 euros or blocks like below. Most of Spain don't speak English, especially on the outskirts so unless you're a connoisseur, you can go to a local supermarket and buy ham from the butcher 20% cheaper than the tourist areas.

We chanced upon a market in an alley near La Rambla in Barcelona city. The market was packed with tourists, it was a money making mine although i didn't think things were overly priced. You can get fresh fruits to munch on for 1 Euro a cup, buy pretty chocolates or sample ham before buying (you can't sample in supermarkets).

Here, the sellers all can speak English so you can get some explanations about ham. I must sound like a bimbo asking silly questions like "why is this ham more expensive than that ham?" or "does the ham needs to be refrigerated? Singapore is hot! Have you been to Singapore?" or "which part of the ham is this?" or "why does this taste different than that one? (ok, let me take another one & taste some more. Nom nom nom)"

So i learnt, the 16 euro ham is the most expensive around because its blood pork. Blood pork?? Immediately i think of blood cake, solidified pig's blood in cubes you find in Asia. I'm not sure if i heard correctly amidst the yelling of tourists and hawkers, but blood pork is the purest and elite of pigs because it is black in color, lives in the forrest and eats acorns.

Wait a minute, maybe he meant black pork! Not blood pork.
SGD 25 for very very thin and little strips of ham that melts on your tongue.
I think i was cheated on the above though, i don't think it should have cost that much.
The below seemed to be a better buy as a souvenir. It's a thick block of ham, heavy enough to cause hurt to the head. You can slice it thinly or in cubes as you please. Eat it on its own or with bread or melon! The shoulder of the pig is the best part to eat, i was told.
My food experience in Spain wasn't a terrific one. Friends told me they ate to-die-for tapas but my tapas experience was bad through and through. We gave up trying tapas after a second time of bad choice.

It really was a hit-and-miss as we walked in randomly. Try not to only find food when you're really hungry because you tend to just walk into ANY.

It was also being adventurous as we couldn't read Spanish on the menu.
This was a hit! Raw octopus with sea salt and olive oil as a starter.
This was a miss. The escargots were too salty, sandy.
It was a pain finishing up because there were 40 of them!
It wasn't appetizer sized as i thought it would be.
Look! That's how a full snail looks without a shell.
You see Gaudi influences all over Spain. From his art, i think he's a little eccentric with fantasies. Reminds me of the Crazy House in Dalat but of course not, Gaudi is a much acclaimed artist of modern history.
Monsterrat is the prettiest church i've seen in Europe. It is an hour drive away from Barcelona city and could be a half day trip. It is free to enter and roam around, 10 euros for the train up. Unforuntately when i arrived, it was raining so it was so gloomy i took no pictures.

The flamenco shows were overrated. Go into a flamenco bar on your own (without booking a tour) if you want to watch. It's must cheaper like this. It's complicating navigating around in Barcelona as its not easy understanding addresses. There's a huge square somewhere and flamenco bars are aplenty.

I gate crashed a school trip's photo.
I pretended to be Japanese so they wouldn't think badly of Chinese. Haha!
Something very amusing were the shows on Spanish TV. Nothing was in English. At 10pm, the dramas came on, it's not porn but the actresses are SUPER hot, baring cleavages and asses in micro minis. And ALL actresses will have a scene bending over a table, cleavage bearing talking to the male characters in a very serious tone.
His eyes drawn to her boobs.

WTF, holiday's over?!

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