barcelona: la ribera & esglesia de santa maria del mar

Saturday, June 29:  I get off the Barcelona Bus Turista back in the heart of the city to explore a bit of La Ribera, cut off from the Gothic Quarter, Barri Gòtic , by Via Laietana, which was constructed in 1908.  La Ribera was once the commercial center of medieval Barcelona.  I’m headed for the Esglesia de Santa Maria del Mar, which opens onto Passeig del Born, a plaza that once was home to medieval jousting tournaments.  The Gothic church was built in the 14th century.  It was always a simple church, lacking the ornate decoration of most Gothic churches, and when the anarchists gutted it in 1909 and 1936, it was simplified further.  I love its lofty open spaces, fine proportions and simple interior design.

esglesia de santa maria del mar
esglesia de santa maria del mar
esglesia de santa maria del mar
esglesia de santa maria del mar
esglesia de santa maria del mar
esglesia de santa maria del mar
esglesia de santa maria del mar
esglesia de santa maria del mar
esglesia de santa maria del mar
esglesia de santa maria del mar
esglesia de santa maria del mar
esglesia de santa maria del mar
esglesia de santa maria del mar
esglesia de santa maria del mar

I love labyrinthine streets like these in any European city.  I enjoy looking up at the wrought iron balconies, hung with laundry, brimming with plants, or occupied by elderly ladies in flowered house dresses holding fluffy dogs.  I always like to imagine myself living in one of these flats.🙂

Balconies in La Ribera
Balconies in La Ribera
La Ribera
La Ribera
La Ribera
La Ribera
Supermarket in La Ribera
Supermarket in La Ribera
Street art in La Ribera
Street art in La Ribera
Gelato in La Ribera
Gelato in La Ribera
the daily news in Spain
the daily news in Spain
Spanish dancer wax figure
Spanish dancer wax figure
Spanish fans
Spanish fans

I stop for una cerveza  in a colorful little cafe reminiscent of Gaudi.

cafe reminiscent of Gaudi
cafe reminiscent of Gaudi
una cerveza, por favor
una cerveza, por favor
in the cafe in La Ribera
in the cafe in La Ribera
the bar
the bar
love the colors in this place
love the colors in this place

While seated at the cafe, I look out at the little square and I see some extra-large people proceeding down the street with no fanfare at all.

procession to some Medieval event?
procession to some Medieval event?
procession
procession

And of course, more intriguing balconies.  I wonder what life is like in those flats with their romantic balconies?

balconies in the square in La Ribera
balconies in the square in La Ribera
a church on the way to Plaza de Catalunya
a church on the way to Plaza de Catalunya
a monument at Plaza de Catalunya
a monument at Plaza de Catalunya
Fountains & gardens at Plaza de Catalunya
Fountains & gardens at Plaza de Catalunya
Fountains at Plaza de Catalunya
Fountains at Plaza de Catalunya
Fountains at Plaza de Catalunya
Fountains at Plaza de Catalunya

When I return to bcn fashion house, I find Matt ensconced on the patio working away at his computer.  He says he spent all day here because his paper about the conference he attended is due when he returns to work on Monday.  He apologizes for not showing up for breakfast; he tells me he went back out after we came back and ended up getting lost and unable to find the hotel for 1 ½ hours.  Then he slept in this morning.  Oh dear.   There’s that bit of wild streak I talked about earlier.  Anyway, he gives me his card and I promise to put Adam in touch with him regarding his institute and his work as a food scientist.

I relax for a bit in my room, drinking an Estrella beer and looking through my pictures.  Then I put on a clean skirt and top and head out to Casa Alfonso, a couple of blocks away, for a glass of wine and a light dinner.  While I wait for my dinner, the waiter brings me fresh bread with some kind of red sauce drizzled on top.  I ask the waiter what it is, and he tells me it is tomato juice mixed with olive oil.  It’s delicious.  I also order a light appetizer of jacket potatoes with green asparagus and Romesco sauce.  I delve right into the food, destroying the artistic presentation, before I remember that I should have taken a picture.   Ah!  Food is so ephemeral for a foodie such as myself.  I need to remember to pause and enjoy the art of it all before I start stuffing it into my mouth.

at Casa Alfonso
at Casa Alfonso
Ham is served in nearly every meal in Spain; it was forbidden in Oman!
Ham is served in nearly every meal in Spain; it was forbidden in Oman!

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bread with tomato juice and olive oil drizzled over it
bread with tomato juice and olive oil drizzled over it

10 thoughts on “barcelona: la ribera & esglesia de santa maria del mar

  1. I also love the balconies. I suspect living in a large crowded city any private outside space would be special. The Gelataria – could spend the day there, happily sampling!

    1. I would love to see the flats behind those balconies, Carol. I wish I could meet someone who would invite me into their home! And yes, I always love Gelatarias in Europe. Delicious!!🙂

  2. That bread is called Pa Amb Tomaquet and I adored it! Just not able to replicate it quite like the ones we had in Barcelona. Loving your reports Cathy🙂

  3. It was just toast for breakfast this morning, but I’m meeting my friend Ann (from Polish classes) for lunch in our marina. She’s treating me for my birthday, but then I have to come home and feed Dad and the lads. 😦 Roll on next week 🙂

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