I had forgotten just how beautiful and stylish Spanish Women can be. Their long hair and feminine way of dressing reminded me of a time when I didn't own a pair of jeans (until first year university). They don't have processed hair and wear enough makeup to accent their eyes. No bleached blonds or artificial tans here. Their skin tans beautifully naturally. Everything just seems so effortless.
Barcelona has a young feel, lots of life. The different quarters are distinctive. We hung around the Gothic quarter last time. This time I stayed in Eixample. No new pictures of Gaudi architecture this time around and my old pictures are on my computer out west.
Hands down Barcelona wins the award for efficient airport transportation. The buses are modern and run every 5 minutes for only 5.65 Euro (one way)! It takes around 35 min to get to Placa de Catalunya. The best part is they only fill the buses 2/3rd full so everyone can get a seat and stow their luggage. Why can't Paris' Air France bus system do the same? You pay about 30 Euros for a round trip and have to more often than not, wait 45 min+.
Well you cannot go to Spain without coming in contact with their Jamon (ham) -- Serrano vs Iberico.
I was walking around La Boqueria one night, drinking my papaya coconut juice (1 Euro! vs 6 Euro in Munich...) around 9 pm (too early for dinner there), which by the way is The time of day to get the best fruit deals...I bought a container of fresh mango and strawberries that lasted 2 days for 1 Euro! Another lady was trying to get me to buy 2 containers of watermelon for again 1 Euro.
Back to jamon. I was nosing around one of the many cured meat stalls and decided to accept an offer of free salami tasting. The gentleman began teaching me about what all went into his meats and what the 'reserva' stamp/sticker meant (means longer curing time not better cut of meat). That led to me deciding to buy some Jamon Serrano reserva from him.
Some time later, I exited the market and saw many people standing by a cured meat stall just outside the market (picture yesterday). There were 2 men with very sharp knives cutting thin meat off various ham legs. It turns out they had a good selection of Jamon Iberico. After observing for a few moments, I decided I wanted in on the action.
They had legs of ham that cost 298 Euro/Kg. Five slices of it cost me 10 Euro. The meat just melted in your mouth. It almost tastes like the density of a good rare steak, very rich, not very salty. The fat on the meat was almost wanting to turn liquid in room temperature.
Should the opportunity arises, I would highly recommend tasting some for yourself. It's very difficult to describe. There is almost a nutty flavour (which I guess makes sense as the pigs are fed acorns), whereas Serrano ham is pretty similar to prosciutto and also as salty. The google links above does a great job of explaining the different grades of ham. I enjoyed it so much I bought some of the Bellota grade to take home.