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Touring through Barcelona Part II Tapas Bars and Bookstores

During the short duration we were in Barcelona, people looked serene and appeared to be having fun, for there are lots of public parks and outside cafes where one can sit, eat, drink, or just enjoy life watching and petting the stray cats that beg for food around the cafés.Talking of food, I put on several pounds enjoying the immense spread of food on the tables. My favorites are the tapas, like appetizers.

In the evenings, one can go to a tapas bar and enjoy his drink and an unbelievable variety of food.Some of the evening wanderers top the tapas by going to a restaurant afterwards. No wonder dinnertime never finishes in Spain, because people start around six or seven in the evening with tapas and bar hopping, and finish at a restaurant with main courses and deserts, eating late until after midnight.A kind of sandwich they serve at tapas bars is called a montadito, which can be a slice of French bread with a gourmet topping of ham, tortilla, tunafish, anchovies, etc. The array of montaditos are served together with drinks and just the view of them are more than enough to fill any stomach.

The tapas bars are meeting places for poets, writers, painters, musicians and artists. This is where the real action is and where the heart of Barcelona really beats.The most popular multicultural meeting place is Plaza de Catalunya with the well-known El Corte Ingles department store, which reminded me of Macy's on 34th and Herald's Square in New York city, except this department store was a more sociable place for its clients than being shopping oriented.The most magnificent street equivalent to Park or Fifth Avenues is the Passeig de Gracia. On this street, several designers, such as Vincon and Cartier, as well as The Majestic Hotel are situated.Since I refused to go to the bullring, deflating some of my Spanish friends' egos, they refused the Picasso Museum to me.

They politely said the Museum was very close to the Monumental Bullring and it wouldn't be fair to go to one and leave the other.Instead, they took me on a tour to Gothic Quarter, the one where the Barrio Chino is. They even managed to get a Spaniard in costume with a scary base voice to guide us through the medieval streets of gray cobblestones, talking of true ghosts and old legends that remained to haunt the imagination and the folklore surrounding Barcelona. The Spanish are a very demonstrative sort.When we travel, we find out that the world is different. We can also travel without moving from where we are, by reading.

Reading is not just for passing time but it is also for breaking the iron bars of thought and dogma the society has enforced upon us. So when I travel I look for bookstores and libraries to get the feel of the intellectual capacity of the town I'm in.From that point of view, Barcelona really impressed me. Aside from being an artists' city, I also found Barcelona to be a readers' city.A book store named Laie had to be the haven or rather a heaven for a book lover, because compared to its small size, it had everything that would make a person not want to leave it. In Laie, everyday, they had an event, a jazz or a musical performance, a cultural meeting, a lecture, a debate.

The store even had a café upstairs, and of course, it had quite a few books.So did the others. Once I came across a small bookstore that sold all English books. Later I found out that there were many large or small bookstores that catered to the English speaking readers.

There were larger bookstores, also. One was borne from a church built in the seventeenth century and it had books in several languages.Each bookstore had a theme.

Where one was well stocked with travel and adventure books, another had all the current titles, yet another had lots of historical books on its shelves.Yet, all these stores had one thing in common. They carried art books or books about Barcelona and how this city fits into the art world.Barcelona had been a delight.

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Joy Cagil is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Creative Writing. Her education is in foreign languages and linguistics. She has trained in psychology, humanities, mental health, women's issues, and visual arts. She has also traveled to various places in and out of the country.

Her portfolio can be found at http://www.Writing.Com/authors/joycag.

By: Joy Cagil



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