About JR Hammond

Hello everyone my name is JR Hammond and I am currently on an international exchange at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona Spain. I would have been entering my third year in the Rotman Commerce Program at the University of Toronto St. George campus but I decided to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to explore Europe. I will be living in Barcelona for the entire year and I will be posting and blogging about all the adventures that a student of my interests could have in this incredible city. I am a social and sporty person so my blogs will be vary from everything from volleyball, bars and parties, traveling, to as simple as which bakery sells the best bread! I hope you enjoy my adventures of the September 2012 to June 2013 school year!

Deutschland: Berlin, Heidelberg & Frankfurt


Well what an incredible German experience this trip was! I had the fortunate opportunity to meet my best friend Constantino, who studied with me in Barcelona during the first six months, in his beautiful country of Germany!

There was no better way I could have imagined touring around Germany rather then having a local who had spent a significant amount of time in each city! We began our adventure by meeting at Berlin Tegel Airport, and from that point on I sat back and let my ‘incredibly knowledgeable’ guide lead me through eras of history, development, and the current economic political powerhouse of Europe. From Berlin Mitte, the Reichstag, Brandenburger Tor, Charlottenberg and many Curry Würste, Berlin treated us so well that I am already itching to go back!

From there, we caught a quick German Wings flight from Tegel to Stuttgart where Constantino got us quickly and ‘efficiently’ up to Heidelberg. It was a perfect day touring around Heidelberg before my ‘ Erste WG Party diese nacht’ (first German House Party) with our friends ‘Moritz, Öetinger und Wahrscheiner’. After speaking German all night long, a good rest was needed before we were off to Frankfurt.

We met Constantino’s incredible family in Frankfurt the next day where they showed us around the financial centre of continental Europe and their lives in that incredible city! After a quick view from Maintower and then a visit to Bad Homberg, we settled for a great dinner at ‘Mon Amie Maxie’!

On Top of Main Tower Frankfurt! Flying Home over Lake Geneva and the Alps Ebbelwoi! Römer, Frankfurt ECB European Central Bank Frankfurt Stock Exchange Commerz Bank from Maintower Deutshce Bank World Headquarters Frankfurt Old Opera House Heidelberg Heidelberg From Barcelona to Heidelberg! Berlin Berlin Dom and Fernsehturm Bradenburger Tor DSC02445 Original Berlin Wall War Time Building Brandenburger Tor Berlin Wall inbetween Brandenburger Tor and Reichstag Reichstag Building from Republik Square Reichstag Brandenburger Tor from the Reichstag Reichstag Building Ritter Sport Store! Best Curry Wurst in Berlin! Berliner Dom and History Berliner Dom Only in Germany…. Berlin by Night!

¡Calçotada!

Well what an experience this was! I was fortunate enough to be invited through my local Catalàn friends in Barcelona to a well known ‘fiesta’ here in Catalunya…La Calçotada! On a sunny, 20 degree Saturday afternoon we all piled into my friend’s car and headed off to Manresa, a small town west of Barcelona near Montserrat for the party. Now, the reason these Calçotadas are so famous in Catalunya is due to the tradition behind the always tasty Calçots (in Catalàn) eaten throughout the entire day and late into the night as well. The Calçots are similar to our Green Onions in English however, they are massive here compared to the little ones we have back home. What you do to cook them is you string all of the Calçots together on a piece of wire and then you place them over an open fire to burn the outside of them. Then in the typical Catalàn style, you are to shuck the burnt outer shell which leaves you with the sweet cooked inside of the onion. Then you smother the inside bit in an incredibly made homemade tomato garlic sauce followed by the absolute must…tilting you head back and swallowing the salsa covered Calçot whole!

 

We were instantly surprised as we showed up to the mansion of Milio who’s father, we quickly realized, owned one of the largest shipping companies in Spain! His house(s) were incredible! They lived on a beautiful ranch with horses overlooking some of the best country side in Spain! Also we found out that this Calçotada was going to be a feast! It was not only the over 350 Calçots that he had purchased for us, but there was unlimited tapas of all the best meats and cheeses in Spain, unlimited Spanish wine, cervezas and of course some special liquors as well! We all decided to pitch in 5€ by the end of the night. Just as a thanks for an incredible evening.

 

After filling my stomach up to the max, and having an incredible Saturday spent with friends in the Spanish countryside, I now know that the next time anyone mentions the word Calçotada, I will be there in a heartbeat!

Calçot Preparation! Calçots Preparation! Calçots…the Beginning! DSC02082 The Best Way the Catalans Drink! Cervezas y Tapas…. Let the Feast Begin! Saturday Afternoon Caçotada! The Group! Montserrat Casa Emilio with Montserrat in the Distance Horse Stables on the Ranch Casa Emilio Cooking Process! Tons of Great Food! The Team! The Calçot Team Calçots! Calçot Preparation! Casa Emilo Manresa Almond Trees! En Route to Manresa Road Trip! Montserrat Montserrat in the Distance Road Trip! Road Trip!

A Canadian, Castellano & Barcelona, Catalunya!

 

If you manage to spend the entire evening out, or have Jetlag, this is a view you can no miss from any of the beaches in Barcelona!

If you manage to spend the entire evening out, or have jet lag, this is a view you cannot miss from any of the beaches in Barcelona!

Hello everyone! This post is going to be a little window into the incredible experiences and adventures I have had in the unforgettable city of Barcelona as an Erasmus student thanks to the amazing team of Míriam and the SpainBcn Language Program!

I have to begin with saying that I showed up in Spain on the first of September 2012 as a fish out of water; with hindered Spanish skills, exposed to a foreign culture, friendless, houseless, ‘school-less’ and a whole other list of ‘-less’s” as well!  However, little did I know that I had made the best decision to begin my transition into my new Barcelona experience with the assistance of Míriam and her incredible SpainBcn Program.

http://www.erasmusinbarcelona.com (Website Associated with the Míriam’s Program)

I can’t even begin to explain the incredible time that I had during my two week experience with Míriam and the SpainBcn Program. Although I will attempt to give you a tid-bit of my experience over those beginning weeks!

Míriam’s course was recommended via a Facebook group page that had been started for all incoming exchange students to the Universitat Pompeu Fabra shortly after my acceptance and sponsorship by my home university, the Rotman Commerce School of Business at the University of Toronto. Their program offered an intensive Spanish review and immersion class at extremely competitive prices and was centrally situated in the heart of Barcelona. With that said, I registered myself for a two week course beginning the first Monday in September which led me to the commencement of my university courses come the end of September. Instantly from day one, I was welcomed into a group of incredible people that made my exchange in Barcelona unforgettable!

After a long day of Spanish, we all headed to a Rooftop Pool Party across from Torre Agbar

After a long day of Spanish, we all headed to a Rooftop Pool Party across from Torre Agbar

“Hombre…¿Qué pasa?”

-Míriam

The above was a daily quote from the notoriously hilarious Míriam!  We all began with our placement exams on the first day and without missing a beat,  Míriam’s bubbly and ‘open armed’ attitude instantly welcomed us into her Spanish teaching classroom where we all felt more then happily at ease! Throughout the weeks with our more then fair share of laughs, stories, Spanish history and the hammering out of “El Subjuntivo”, the castellano juices began flowing again and Barcelona was actually beginning to sink in!

One item though that I must tell everyone that I guarantee I will not forget for the rest of my life is this; the friends you meet through this program will become your family here in Barcelona and will be your guiding base to experience every incredible hidden gem that this city has to offer. Enjoy it, meet new people, make mistakes, and never say ‘no’ to something new here!

There is always a good time to have with friends in Spain!

There is always a good time to have with friends in Spain!

I was incredibly fortunate enough to have had met my best friend through this program and still to this day I wonder about the likelihood of meeting unforgettable people like that around the globe in the most unexpected of situations. Through the last 7 months, I have had an incredible ‘Wingman’ who has experienced the incredible Spanish and Catalan cuisine with me, the world renowned nightlife of Barcelona,  many adventures around the country and continent and many evenings chatting the night away with locals in Barcelona!  However, with an open mind and a constant willingness to “Break Out of the English Box” and speak castellano, Barcelona, Catalunya and España will not fail you in surpassing your expectations and providing you with a life-learning and never to be forgotten experience that you will have for the rest of your life!

Costa Brava Beautiful Barcelona!

The Catalunya National Holiday.

The Catalunya National Holiday.

Incredible Parks around Barcelona

Incredible Parks around Barcelona

Common Meetup for the Spanish Class!

Common Meetup for the Spanish Class!

Gas Natural Fenosa Mercado de Santa Maria Morning Time in La Barceloneta!

Bocadillo and Café con Leche

Bocadillo and Café con Leche

La Boqueria

 

Caitlin visits Barcelona!

Well Reading Week 2013 for U of T was a day that I had been waiting for for a very long time, this was the time when my best friend Caitlin from U of T was going to be flying over to come and visit me! What a trip it was! We did all of Barcelona in 8 days and managed to get up to Montserrat to get some hiking done as well! With some incredible stories to remember and some great evening adventures on the beach, it was great to have my best Torontonian friend out to visit and see a bit of my life here in Barcelona! Take a look at the photos for a bit of what Barcelona had in store for us! 12512768 DSC01887 DSC01901 DSC01905 DSC01907 DSC01909 DSC01936 DSC01937 DSC01946 DSC01958 DSC01966 DSC01987 DSC02010 DSC02019 IMG_4251 IMG_4259 IMG_4261 IMG_4263 IMG_4264 IMG_4284 IMG_4482 IMG_4532 IMG_4546 IMG_4576 IMG_4674 IMG_4703 IMG_4708 IMG_4720

Carnaval de Sitges

Well this was one interesting adventure! Carnaval 2013 in Europe! We were told that there are three places in Europe that you must be during Carnaval and they rank as follows; #1.) Venezia, Italia #2.) Köln, Deutschland #3.) Sitges, España.

Fortunate for us we were only a 30 minute train ride away from Sitges! After getting all dressed up and jumping on the train from Barcelona, we made our way to this beach side town for one of the most incredible adventures (Halloween during February) that I have ever experienced!

Here is a little bit about the trip!

The Carnival

For over a century, Sitges has been celebrating nonstop — between the months of February and March, according to the liturgical calendar — Carnestoltes, or Carnival.

The festivities begin on Dijous Gras, or Fat Thursday, with the arribo, King Carnestoltes’ spectacular arrival. From the moment this character appears until the burial of the sardine — late afternoon on Ash Wednesday — you could well say that life in Sitges moves to a new beat.

Folk dances and xatonades (traditional local salad served with assorted omelets) are also characteristic carnival elements. The two most important moments are the Rua de la Disbauxa, or the Debauchery Parade, on Sunday night and the Rua de l’Extermini, or Extermination Parade, on Tuesday night. Some forty-odd floats with more than 2,000 participants fill Sitges.SDC12219 SDC12220 SDC12221 SDC12237 SDC12246 SDC12251

Portugal, Porto & Coimbra

Porto was a quick dash through the Caves where I got to taste all the fresh Port from Cálem! Then it was on the train later that evening to Coimbra!

In Coimbra

I stayed with Carlos and his family as he showed me around the great city of Coimbra! I had a good time seeing the oldest university in Europe, the local markets, and the Portuguese famous Fado singers on my last evening!

Vilafranca de Penèdes, Espanya

What a great trip this was! As all the new university students showed up for the new semester at UPF, the university organized a lot of trips around the Catalunya region for students to become acquainted with the Spanish lifesyle.

This trip was to the the Wine and Cava region of Catalunya! We hopped on the 45 minute train from the centre of Barce

lona to Vilafranca de Penèdes, located just southwest of Barcelona. We had a great day sightseeing around and getting a superb tour of one of the wineries/cava-eries (La Bodega) and also a great tour of the old city.

Highly recommend for anyone within the region and with a taste for some good wines or cavas!

Liverpool & Manchester

This was our Football Weekend! Martín and I decided back in November that we were going to head to England to catch a football match and that through rain or shine, we were going to pull it off. Well…we got what we asked for, a snowy record breaking weekend it was in Liverpool and Manchester for the two guys arriving on Ryanair from sunny Barcelona! But things worked out and we had a great time laughing with the Brits and enjoying a few pints before enjoying the football magic of England!

We had a great start as we landed late evening at John Lennon International Airport in Liverpool. We caught our first double decker bus heading to central Liverpool and the Albert Docks where we fortunately got the “Penthouse Suite” overlooking the docks and Liverpool. Of course on night one, we headed out for our “cultural experiences” in Liverpool and met a great guy named Dave from Dublin who showed us around the town. We began the evening at ‘The Liverpool’ with some ‘incredibly good’ Tom Jones karaoke before heading out to the local Irish Pubs in the clubbing district and meeting what seemed like all of Dave’s friends along the way. After a few pints of Guinness and surprisingly Coor’s Light as well, we made our way back home for an early wakeup for the Anfield Tour.

And boy was it an early wake up indeed trying to get ourselves to Anfield for our 9:20am tour. But it was worth it. We got the match-day tour of the infamous Anfield Road and The Kop section, renown for the best Football songs in the league. Then it was an English Breakfast for Martín some coffee and ‘Toasties’ for me before heading off with the crowds to the local British Pub to ‘warm ourselves up’ before the game. There we found our favourite machine playing Monopoly, Jewel Buster and British Pub quizzes before cashing out with a grand total of 2 Pounds! But we finally got into the game in time for the famous “You Will Never Walk Alone” sung by the entire stadium and then all the best Football songs for the entire 90+minute match. A whopping 5-0 slaughtering given by Liverpool FC against Norwich made the game even more exciting to watch as every goal was joined by more screams and songs! Then it was off for the evening where we were introduced to “Pub Golf” from some interesting british characters!

The next day was Manchester! We had a great tour of Old Trafford and saw the locker room of the Manchester United team as they were out in London playing against Tottenham that evening. But with Tony as our guide, we had a great time enjoying his stories about how ‘Liverpool has no need for long corridors because they have no Premier League Trophies to display’! But after a good dinner and a train ride home to Liverpool we decided to pay one more visit out that evening on the town!

The last day was spent touring around snowy Liverpool as we watched the BBC tell us that airports around the UK were shutting down because of weather concerns. Fortunately, Ryanair got us out safe and sound and we had a smooth ride back to sunny Barcelona where we were greeted by the Spanish Sunshine that we both missed!

All in all, great weekend with great Football and ‘British’ memories!

El País Vasco: Bilbao & San Sebastián

Well yet another great trip to another great destination! Our goal for this voyage was centred more locally where we decided on “Destination España!”. This trip however, I was extremely fortunate to have my good buddy Martin join me as we headed off from Barcelona to the cities of Bilbao and San Sebastián in the País Vasco region in Northern Spain.
Martin was in my spanish class during my first week in Barcelona and over the past two and half months, I have been lucky to have him as a wingman for the all to fun Barcelona nightlife, a beach volleyball match and as of now, a travel buddy! Him and I both are here to increase our fluency in spanish and with that, we naturally decided that we were only going to speak spanish between each other to avoid falling into the english norm that is so often present. So since I have known him, it is been an invaluable opportunity to constantly speak spanish and get to know a great friend at the same time!
We both decided a while back that we were interested in exploring around this incredible country and the we had to take advantage with our location here in Barcelona. We fortunately stumbled upon our “Mejor Amigo” (Best Friend) Ryanair who allowed us to fly from Barcelona to Bilbao for a whopping price of 12€ each way!
We explored around the city and then decided to take a quick day trip to the coastal city of San Sebastián before returning to Bilbao for a night out on the town!
Enjoy the photos, the stories and hopefully the incredible sights of this País Vasco Viaje!

Well it was Ryanair flight 7333 that got Martin and I up bright and early for our 6:00am meeting in Plaza España before heading off to Barcelona’s El Prat International Airport for our 7:45 am departure direct to Bilbao. As accustomed for the spanish, when we arrived at the gate there was already a massive line waiting for the pre-boarding to begin. Often with Ryanair’s first come first serve seating system, people begin lining up one hour before flight time just to ensure they have a good seat. However Martin and I decided to wait on the bank of chairs before boarding and fortunate enough, the Ryanair hostess opened up one of the blocked aisles just as we were entering and we got our own row! Although not incredible for Ryanair standards, it did us a bit of justice for the quick morning nap! Ryanair 7333 with a flight time of 1h10m took us direct from BCN–>BIO (Barcelona El Prat to Bilbao Airport) with an incredible landing over the lush green Pyrenee Mountain dominated region of El País Vasco!

Well we jumped on the Bizkaibus that took us from the modernly designed airport of Bilbao in the region of Loiu, Biscay 9km south to the city of Bilbao. However we quickly realized the immense difference between the locally spoken language Euskera (Basque) and pretty much every language on the globe. Euskera is known as one of the Pre-Indo-European languages that is considered a language isolate due to the Basque Region’s location in Northern Spain.

However, with our spanish we managed to work our way downtown following the river Nervión from the airport until our arrival in Bilbao.

We hopped off the bus at a stop on the Puente Euskalduna (Bridge of Euskalduna) where we were instantly stunned by the modern architecture of this bridge as well as the impeccably designed Guggenheim Museum just off to the right of the bridge. We were instantly gratified with our first sights of this modern city.

Stumbling through the morning commuters to get up north, we arrived at our Hostel Surf Backpackers, with its location along a small road with some small bars and restaurants. Upon checking in, we met Flor from Argentina who greeted us with open arms and her bubbly attitude and who gave us the low down on what to see and do in Bilbao!

Our morning began with a (aka:many, many) cups of coffee to get us through the sightseeing day ahead. We began by heading along the Rio Nervión to the west side of Bilbao where we encountered the famous “University of Deutso”. Then after crossing the river getting closer to ‘Casco Viejo’ we were stunned to see the world headquarters of BBVA ( Bank of Biscay) and the headquarters for Iberdrola with its 40 floor glass tower looming above the city.

We then made a quick visit to the highly recommended Museum of Fine Arts (Museo de Bellas Artes). Famous Columbian figurative artist Fernando Botero had his exposition on display. The most impressive piece of art was a 2m high black acrylic concave dish. With a reflective surface and its seemingly “depth insensitive” optical design, the closer you stand to the optical point, the more it feels like you are looking into a black abyss. So of course we spent a while there teasing our brains and getting in trouble for whistling and making great echo sounds in the museum!

We then settled down for an incredible lunch where Martin tried a great seafood dish with squid ink sauce. I as well had heard great reviews of this type of sauce, so I had to give it a try myself. At first, I was surprised when my “Pimientos Rellenos” (Stuffed Peppers) came covered in a sauce blacker then I have ever seen before. But with a mix of great cilantro and parsley spices and the incredibly tasting cheese within the peppers, I was delightfully surprised at how good the dish was!

The Funicular was our next stop as we headed up to the “Mirardor de Bilbao” the lookout of Bilbao. Upon the top of Mount Artxanda we were fortunate enough to get a stunning view of the surrounding Cantabrian Mountains along with the distant sea and airport in the background. With the sun’s rays peaking through the clouds, we had a great time just chilling at the top.

We topped off our day with a tour of the Guggenheim Museum where upon entering we met some…very nice… ladies from Madrid who were in town for a national gymnastics tournament! But after spending some time in the museum and realizing that we either to…ahem “sober”…to appreciate some of the “Extreme Modern Art” pieces, we just ended up having a great time making up our own stories of the artwork! I will remember the famous “Mälm Ikea Section”, the “Epilepsy Causing Word Screens”, the oddly scary “Electric Kitchen” and the “El Gato Encerrado” Metal Disk that we were wondering if we could escape from had the circumstances been necessary!

But it was off to the supermarket that evening for a quick dinner purchase before realizing that everyone (aka: las chicas) were not in the Hostel that night and were out and about. We however, had a great “makeshift” dinner in the Hostel before making our way just down the street to a local bar where we were in for a bit of a surprise. We walked in and saw a group of locals sitting and intently watching this unknown “Sport” that Martin and I had seen a version of earlier in the day. It resembled a Squash game along a massive court with only one wall on the left and along the front of the court. We later found out that the sport is called “Pelota Vasca” and it is quite a popular sport in the north of Spain. We began chatting with the locals and introduced ourselves in Spanish being content that they responded and continued to speak with us in Castellano instead of Euskera! However, neither Martin nor I could remember one of there names because of how different they were in the language of Euskera, all we know of the language is that there are a lot of “Z’s” “TX’s” and a whole bunch of letters in between! But we watched the doubles match  sharing a beer with them and then the singles match where the “Red Jersey” either older or champion holder played against the “Blue Jersey” player who was the younger or challenging player.

After an early night out, we headed back to the hostel for a good nights sleep…..which we then realized was not going to happen when there was 12 people in the same room coming in and out every hour of the night and then the electricity going on and off causing the emergency lights to go on and off throughout the evening! ¡Bienvenidos a España! A short sleep it was indeed!

A bright and early start it was for this adventure off to San Sebastián or Donostia in Euskera, however we began they day with an interesting start! With a completely whacko night in regards to our neighbours coming in and out at every single hour, then the lights flicking on and off due to power issues, we finally awoke to our alarm at 7:30 to where we then realized that there was no electricity at all! That I have to say was an interesting experience, we both had to use our flashlights on our phones to shower, eat and brush our teeth in the pitch black hostel before finally someone came down and reset the fuse box! But we managed the morning by getting ourselves to the bus station on time for our 1.5 hour bus ride to San Sebastián.

After a quick nap and a scenic bus ride on our way to San Sebastián we arrived in the centre along the Rio Urumea where we were fortunate enough to catch the morning rowers out and about practicing.

Then the touring began of this beautiful ocean side town. We began with a quick walk along the river to the “Boca” (mouth) of the ocean where we first saw the stunning views of ‘La Concha’ (The Shell Beach). After a quick tour around the beach, we were desperately in need of some caffeine, so we decided to settle down at a little café with a great view of Bahía de la Concha (Bay of the Shell).

Quick note: This is where the official “Dichos” began! Ones to remember: El Gato Encerrado, Un pájarito me dijo, Es ist etwas im Busch, Wer dem Pfennig nicht erht, its den Taler nich wert and many more over the course of the day! And somehow our day was filled with “Calcetines, Cinturones, cajones, palizas” and other seemingly easily forgettable words!

After the great start to the day and a stomach full of caffeine, we headed out to walk along the Paseo de la Concha ( the Beach Walkway). It was stunning to have such great weather for this day as we passed all the locals touring around the city. We ran into some incredible houses overlooking the ocean that we couldn’t even imagine how expensive they would be!

We then stopped off at the Miramar Palace which is a “Harvard Like” House (aka. Mansion) perched on the banks of San Sebastián overlooking the bay and the Island of Santa Clara. This building now houses the famous music school Musikene.

Then it was up the Funicular to get some views of the city from atop and to have a quick lunch. After touring through the amusement park, and watching Martin attempt to beat the “Kids Soccer Kick” game high score of 920, we made our way back down the mountain for our continuing tour.

We headed over to the east side of the bay where we relaxed to the sound and sights of the waves crashing against the sea barriers and providing incredible sights of the green and white water in the sea.

We then made our way over to the centre for some shopping. Martin was interested in buying an “American Filled” jacket from a high end store but…. he was advised otherwise by me! It was a quick snack, Empanadas and Bocadillos, and then we headed to the bus station to catch our bus back to Bilbao.

While waiting for the bus, it began “Lloviendo a Cántaros” (Raining cats and dogs) as the bus showed up a wee bit late. But Martin became friends with some lovely Spanish Grandmas that helped us pass the time!

A quick trip back and then the fun began for the evening!

We met a group of Erasmus students studying in Madrid from the UK and we had a great time chit chatting and sharing some wine at the Hostel. Turns out one of the girls had done an exchange in Banff of all places and the other had family in Calgary! Small world indeed!

After a bottle or two of wine, we finally convinced the girls to come out with us to Casco Viejo where the discos were! We stumbled around the town where we bar hopped first, meeting our friends from the local bar from the last evening, and then off for some Chupitos and Cuba Libres. We then made our way to a disco in the old town where we met a group of guys who we assume (aka. hoped) they were on there Bachelor party, because one was dressed quite interestingly for a night out in Bilbao! But we did meet the first Spaniard that was taller then both Martin and I, he seemed to take to us quite well and was always trying to introduce us to everyone in the club!

The night seemed to slip away like nothing because we found ourselves at 5:00am wandering the streets, singing, chanting but more like yelling great english soccer songs! Never will forget, “I want to go home” and Martin’s debut singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” in the middle of Bilbao where we was given the best “Self Clap” applause in appreciation of his work! JAJAJA, good times!

Then after some running, waiting, bridge crossing, story telling, sandwich eating, snack tasting, we realized that it actually was 6:30am and we had to get at least 3 hours before the alarm clock woke us up at 9:30am!

After a hiccup in the morning regarding Un Ladrón, we made our way to the airport unfortunately seeing all the locals preparing themselves for the days football match which we so eagerly wanted to attend. It was a quick Ryanair flight with our hangovers where we tested our geographical skills on our iPhones and then before we knew it we were landing in Barcelona.

An incredible trip overall, too many laughs to recall, too many memories to remember but I was happy to have a wingman along with me and can not wait for the next adventures to come!

A Tasteful Barcelona: The Truth About Paella!

Image

Paella: The Dish of Barcelona!

Well welcome to Barcelona and welcome to the location with some of the best dishes in all of Europe. As Spain’s cuisine rises higher and higher among consumers each year, slowly inching up along the world famous Italians and Parisians, Barcelona leads the way with their incredible local Catalàn and Castellano cuisine. To choose one dish is nigh impossible, however one must never miss an impressive dish of the Spanish Paella when in Barcelona!

This dish is a mixture of incredible fresh Spanish ingredients such as rice, an array of local seafood and the most intricate spices that will leave you crawling back for more where ever you see it throughout the city.

Famously served in the typical Paellera dish, this plate is often split between two or more people for a dinner occasion and it can be made in a variety of different ways.

Novedad Xiringuito serves up some of the best Paellas in town! Some of their most popular dishes are the Paella de Pescado (with Fish), Paella de Arroz Negro (Paella with Blackened Rice from Squid Ink) and the most popular Paella del Mar (Mix of Sea Food).

http://www.escriba.es

Recipe for Local Paella:

> 1 onion,
> 5 cloves of garlic,
> 6 small squid tubes cut in rings,
> 2 or 3 chicken legs,
> 1 red pepper,
> 12 shrimps,
> 12 mussels,
> green peas,
> 3 tomatoes,
> 2 cups of rice,
> 1 bay leave,
> real saffron

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cook the chopped onions, 2 red peppers, the garlic cloves. Add the tomatoes, the squid tubes and the chicken. Add 4 cups of water, salt, saffron, the bay leave, and let this stock cook for 15 minutes.
Add the mussles and the shrimps a few minutes to give taste to the stock, take them out of the stock.

Put the 2 cups of rice in a pan and add 4 cups of the stock. Let it cook slowly, add some more stock if necessary.

When the rice is almost cooked, add the shrimps, the mussels and the green peas… It is ready to eat …

Buen provecho !