Thursday, March 29, 2012

Can Majo , Barcelona

Tomato bread - we ate many at different restaurants, but this was quite exceptional

Steam, succulent mussels with lemon

Fideua, the Catalan version of paella.

a seafood casserole of prawns, mussels and fish

Grilled razor clams

Cream Catalan with a wafer biscuit that looked and tasted alot like our love letters

Orange custard with chocolate sauce

There are many restaurants specialising in seafood near the beach in Barcelona but thanks to my gourmet friend who insisted only on recommended places, we made our way to Can Majo. It was our second choice as our original first choice was closed ( two days in a row ) which made us a little upset initially. How Singaporean is that when it comes to food ! Maybe it was the cold we had to endure walking from one end of the beach to the another. We were fortunate to have a very warm and personable waitress who made us feel a lot better after the cold blistery wind outside.

Decided on the fideua, a noodle version of paella which turned out to be an excellent choice. It had a nice savoury taste with a fragrant crust just like that of a paella but with a different texture. The seafood casserole had a nice rich broth but what I loved were the grilled razor clams and sweet steam mussels which tasted wonderful just with a drizzle of lemon. I will definitely try this back in Singapore though I'm not sure if I could find good quality mussels like these.

The desserts were OK but the seafood was definitely good.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Park Guell, Barcelona

The wavy, serpentine seats at Park Guell

A mosaic covered dragon at the entrance to Park Guell

The dragon has since been restored after an act of vandalism in Feb 2007

The tiles have been intentional cracked to blend with the overall mosaic patterns

A unique ceiling mosaic tile

Doesn't this look like a Gingerbread house with smarties adorning its windows ?

Gaudi's whimsical style makes Park Guell a truly unique and iconic landmark

The park was originally part of a commercially unsuccessful housing site. Named after Count Eusebi Guell, Gaudi's long time friend and patron, it lies on the site of a rocky hill overlooking Barcelona. It became a public park in 1922 and is the best and most famous example of Art Nouveau landscape-architecture. Designated as a  UNESO World Heritage Site, its shapes and colours were inspired by natural forms which Gaudi, a devout catholic, saw as instances of divine craftsmanship. The park is beautiful for its serpentine terraces, seats, galleries decorated with mosaics of broken ceramics, a unique Gaudi trademark.

La Pedrera Apartments (Part 2)

The apartment of a bourgeois family in the early twentieth century has been recreated on the fourth floor of La Pedrera. It is entirely refitted with the original elements from door knobs to handles with each of the rooms decorated with period furniture, works of art, ornaments , fabrics and household accessories from that era. Being a vintage lover, I enjoyed this part of the visit very much though I must say the sight of one or two severe looking long black dresses hanging on display freaked me out.

La Pedrera (Part 1)

At the height of his career, Antoni Gaudi designed the La Pedrera, his last secular work before going on to Sagrada Familia. It was at the turn of the twentieth century when Gaudi was commissioned by the industrialist Pere Mila and his wife to build an apartment house on the boundary separating Barcelona from the former town of Gracia. Mila planned to live on the first two levels while leasing out the rest of the dwellings.

Gaudi built 2 blocks of flats with separate entrances, arranged around two large interlinked patios, which facilitated the entry of light into the building . The flowy, undulating lines of its facade are echoed within and on the roof terrace with its amazing set of architectural-sculptures. These sculptures fulfill a functional role : stairways, ventilation towers and chimneys. Some are covered with trencadis(ceramic fragments) while those less visible from the streets are roughcast rendered and painted.

I loved how the different sculptures evoke the feeling of a huge battlefield of kings, knights and horses, all poised for the ultimate showdown.