Voyag March 2011
Finest Wines of Spain
The Hidden Gems
of Spring Break
Price: $4.99 Issue No. 1
Travel Tip of the Month: Packing Light
Voyager March 2011
Dazzle Your Friends With a Taste of the International The Glowing Nightlife of
The Hidden Gems
of Spring Break Travel
Price: $4.99 Issue No. 1
Travel Tip of the Month
Packing Light Keeping to the bare essentials can make all the difference between a spectacular vacation and an exhausting one.
Cosmetics &Toiletries Keep cosmetics and toiletries to a minimum. Youâ€™ll be out in the sun during the day, so heavy make-up is not ideal, and you can buy most toiletries like shampoo and soap when you get there for pretty inexpensive prices.
Moleskin Journal and Travel Guide All-in-One The Moleskin Barcelona City Notebook helps you organize names and addresses of restaurants, shops, friends, hotels, or tourist sites. It also contains maps of the city and the metro system. There are also blank pages to write, jot down useful information and record your thoughts, stories and memories. Find them on moleskin.com or in your local Barnes & Noble. ($12)
European sockets donâ€™t look like their American counterparts, so an adapter is necessary for recharging electronics or using your own hairdryer or straightener. Find them in many convenience stores, even your local Walmart. ($3-5)
Important Documents - passport - local currency - credit/debit cards - ID cards Summer Clothing - shirts - light jacket - shorts/skirts - lightweight pants - flip flops/sandals - swimsuit/swimming trunks - underwear - socks Misc. - digital camera - cosmetics - toiletries - a bag or small backpack for the day - sunglasses
From hotels and dining to nightlife, this gorgeous Spanish city can be the site of a vacation-of-a-lifetime, no matter your budget. 31
A Bed For Any Budget
Try any of these Barcelona hotels for a vacation that’s comfortable, and perfectly suited to your price range. Two Stars Paral.lel “Central without being in a tourist area. The place can make you feel at home in at least five languages.”—Matthew Tree, Anglo-Catalan writer. The 66 rooms are small but much more comfortable than its two-star designation would suggest. Banys Orientals Hardwood floors, billowy white curtains, some rooms with black four-poster beds; 56 rooms. Two nearby buildings exclusively for suites, some with lofts. The Picasso Museum is only steps away.
Three Stars Hostal L’Antic Espai “Impeccably run B&B…completely unlike the minimalist style you usually
associate Barcelona with.”—Sarah Andrews, author, City Walks: Barcelona. High ceilings and chandeliers, Louis XIV-style brocaded chairs, bedsteads, and armoires; 10 rooms. Charming little glassed-in terrace for breakfasts. Hotel 54 Barceloneta Boutique hotel (28 rooms) opened in 2007 in the newly hip working-class barrio adjoining the port. Two minutes from the beach. Best rooms have ocean view. Suite Royal, the hotel’s elegant little bar, plays blues and soul from the 1960s and ’70s. Colón Joan Miró would stay here exclusively when he came to Barcelona; in the 1960s and ’70s the grande dame of the city’s
hotels—across the square from the cathedral—also hosted Hemingway, Sartre, Somerset Maugham. Room decor in comfy floral prints, spot-on service; 145 rooms.
Best Value El Jardí “A great value, just off Las Ramblas, with a terrace café—just don’t expect anything fancy.”—George Semler, author, Barcelonawalks. In one of the Barri Gòtic’s most picturesque locations, opposite the church of Santa Maria del Pi. About40clean, simply furnished rooms; ask for one with a balcony overlooking the square.
Best Luxury Hotel Miramar Barcelona “Fits the definition of ‘urban retreat’—away from the buzz of the city yet only a few minutes by cab from the center.”—Sarah Andrews. Built for the 1929 World’s Fair in private gardens on Montjuïc, reopened in 2006. Seventy-five huge rooms with walk-in showers, balconies— some with hot tubs—with great views of the city and the port. Swim at night in the heated and fiber opticlighted pool. 33
Exploring Barcelona On The Cover The Parc de la Ciutadella For decades this park was the only green area in the city. It is located at the northeastern edge of the old town, and hosts within its 70 acres the city’s substantial zoo a lake, some museums, and a fountain of considerable size designed by Gaudi (as seen on the cover.) The park’s paths’ have both sinuous and rather natural trails and direct and refined ones surrounded by vegetation. Barri Gòtic, or Gothic Quarter This area dates back to Roman times, and is home to Barcelona’s most famous street, La Ramblas. This former riverbed, cuts through the Old City offering a tree-lined boulevard made up of a series of shorter streets. Walking along La Ramblas is a great way to get an orientation of the city and along the way pop into small shops, and enjoy the cafe culture and street performers. You can also visit the Museu d’Història de la Ciutat and descend 2,000 years to the sprawling remains of the Roman settlement and exit at the Saló de Tinel—the audience hall of the Royal Palace, where Columbus reported his discoveries to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1493. Sagrada Familia This monumental church is Gaudi’s most exemplary work and the most famous. It is as symbolic of Barcelona as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. Gaudi started work on it in 1883 after replacing another architect and dedicated his life to it to the point of actually taking up residence on-site. Sadly he never lived to finish it. The church is still being constructed and the finished part is open to visitors. Visitors can climb the towers and offer amazing panoramic views over Barcelona.
Mercat de la Boqueria Barcelona’s biggest, oldest, and best market. Present building dates to 1840, but the open-air markets on this site date to the Middle Ages. Fish, meat, fresh produce, and preserves; 265 stalls selling over 20,000 different products.
Santa Maria Del Mar “The most elegant of all Barcelona’s churches.”—George Semler, author, Barcelonawalks. A 14th-century Catalan Gothic masterpiece of stunning, elegant simplicity. Choral or orchestral performances here are breathtaking. 34
Featured Festivals La Mercè September 24 is the day of the Holy Mercè, Holy patron of Barcelona. This week the city festival is celebrated with many free concerts, parades of giant figures, and fireworks. Sonar Spain’s biggest and best music festival which has exploded in popularity in recent years with streams of overseas visitors ditching the often wet and miserable UK festivals like Glastonbury in favour of the guaranteed sun and increasingly excellent musical line-up every June.
Barcelona FC Museum Soccer fans must visit for wall to wall photographs, memorabilia, statues and trophies. Buy a dual ticket and you get to do the Camp Nou Tour and see the museum, Barça stadium, the changing rooms and VIP lounge as well as other behind-the-scenes areas. See a home game at Futbol Club de Barcelona’s 98,772-seat soccer stadium. The season runs September-June, and showdowns with Real Madrid unloose the passions of local patriotism. FCB’s museum draws over a million visitors a year. Park Guell The Barcelona City Council bought the property in 1922 and converted it to a municipal park. Gaudi designed the park and he chose to develop it as a network of twisted roads following the contours of the rocky hill on which it was to be developed. The entire park gives off a picturesque ambiance with its mosaics, bird nests in the terrace walls, roadways that resemble pine trees and colonnades. La Pedrera or Casa Milà is a masterpiece of architecture by Gaudi that looks fabulous with its wavy brick work that looks like cliff walls. Made from limestone the building undulates with curves and concaves with dark iron balconies contrasting beautifully on the pale stone. The building was once the home of Pere Milà and his wife, Casa Milà but today it is used as a cultural centre for temporary exhibitions. The Picasso Museum A young Picasso spent 5 years in Barcelona from 1901 to 1906 and if you are a fan of art, you must include a visit to the Picasso Museum. The building was once two 16th century palaces that have been turned into one structure. The walls display work of arts that show off the genius of Picasso in his formative years. There are more than 3,500 works on display permanently and include childhood portraits, paintings and artworks from his Blue and Rose periods. The Magic Fountain of Montjuc This beautiful fountain was designed by Carles Buigas and created by 3000 workers for the Great Univeral Exhibition on 19 May 1929. It offers spectacular choreography of classical music favorites, dancing sprays and floodlights in the huge fountain at the foot of the steps leading up to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. 35
A Taste of
These memorable signature dishes are easy to find and an essential part of any trip to the capital city. Tapas Tapas are a wide variety of appetizers that are traditional to Spanish cuisine. They may be cold, such as mixed olives and cheese, or warm, such as chopitos, which are battered, fried baby squid. In some areas, tapas have evolved into an entire, and sometimes sophisticated, cuisine. In Spain, patrons can order many different kinds of tapas and combine them to make a full meal. The servings are designed to encourage conversation because people are not so focused upon eating an entire meal that is set before them.
Orxata Orxata is a sweet drink made from tigernuts, water, and sugar. It is served as an ice cold, refreshing beverage in the summer. The refreshment even has a regulating council in Spain to ensure the quality of the product and the villages where it can come from. Tigernut horchata is also used in place of milk by the lactose intolerant.
Churros con Chocolate Churros, sometimes referred to as the Spanish doughnut, are fried-dough pastries. There are two types of churros in Spain. The surface of a churro is ridged due to having been piped from a churrera, a syringe with a star-shaped nozzle. The can be filled in the center, and dipped as these are, in chocolate, or served with thick hot chocolate. They are eaten for breakfast or as snacks and are often sold by street vendors, who will fry them freshly at their stand and sell them hot.
Paella Paella is a traditional Spanish rice dish that comes in 3 varieties: Valencian paella, seafood paella and mixed paella. Valencian paella is made of white rice, green vegetables, a meat like chicken or rabbit, snails, beans, saffron and olive oil. Seafood paella replaces the meat and snails with a variety of seafood like shrimp and clams. Mixed paella is a free-style combination of different proteins. 37
A Meal Worth theTrip
Your guide to the best places to eat on your trip to Barcelona. Best Fine Dining Torre d’Alta Mar “Fine dining at the top of the teleferic tower with a view of the whole city. You can sometimes feel the building sway,” said Juan Montenegro, editor in chief, b-guided lifestyle and fashion quarterly. Glassed-in restaurant 245 feet above the sea in an old watchtower. Classic Mediterranean menu, with items like baby goat with foie gras and truffled potatoes, filet of John Dory with hummus and eggplant.
Eat Like A Local Can Majó Catalans put their own spin on paella. Called fideuá, their variation is made with vermicelli noodles instead of rice. The place to get it is at this 40-year-old family-run beachfront restaurant. Order the “regular” with shrimp and mussels, or a fishier variety cooked in squid ink. Prices start at $18. Cuines Santa Caterina The soaring space has an open kitchen, chunky wood tables, and a tapas bar where specials are scrawled on chalkboards. Locals crowd in at lunchtime for tempura, curry, and terrific vegetarian dishes like grilled asparagus with a zippy romesco sauce. Entrées start at $6. 38
Bar Mut This is a bustling joint where local people go to feast on a casual lunch of cañas (small beers) and no-fuss tapas like toast topped with luscious duck liver and caramelized onion, herb-infused steamed mussels, and a hearty fourcheese risotto. The seemingly endless menu is written on the blackboard at the bar, and the easygoing servers never seem to be fazed no matter how many times you call them back to order something else. Gresca The menú del día is a great way to sample Chef Rafael Peña’s culinary genius, which he honed under the tutelage of Spain’s culinary god, Ferran Adrià. The prix fixe lunch starts with a Parmesan-walnut crisp, best complemented by a glass of cava, Spain’s sparkling wine. Menu items change weekly but could include housemarinated anchovies and tender beef cheeks braised in rioja wine. Prices start as $23. Tapioles 53 Australia native Sarah Stothart’s almosttwo-year-old labor of love is small (only six tables), secret (no sign), and exclusive (dinner only, one seating per night). Expect Stothart, the former personal chef of Rupert Murdoch, to describe each of the day’s Mediterranean- and Asian-inspired dishes in great detail tableside. Prices for three courses start at $36.
Caelum The confections sold at this candlelit café are baked by Spanish nuns. Many of their creations--flaky almond ‘moons’ and honey-soaked tuiles with sesame seeds--are on display in the corner picture window. Prices start at $2. Tomo II Teresa Vázquez de la Cueva’s ice-cream shop in El Born--the original location is in Gracia--is anchored by a circular high-tech freezer that keeps her ice creams and sorbets cold. She makes them by hand, so there’s always a fresh batch. Prices start at $1.30. Inopia This tapas bar is standing room only, but you’ll feel like part of the club, surrounded by hipsters sharing plates of patatas bravas (home fries in hot sauce and aioli) and garlic chicken wings. Tapas start at $2.
Spanish Night Out Opium Mar This is a luxurious lounge to along the Barceloneta seafront. Enjoy a high quality meal in the afternoon or evening on the extensive open air terrace. At night, it transforms into a full-fledged dance club with resident DJs Gigi El Amoros, Al Muñoz and Frank Morin. Special theme parties are also a regular attraction.
IceBarcelona This is one of the first bars made completely out of ice. It gets quite chilly, so patrons should dress warmly in parkas, hats, gloves and boots. It has a menu of both tapas and drinks, which are served in glasses made of ice. The benches and bar are also ice, with ice sculptures as art. There is also a terrace overlooking the beach where you can warm up between drinks.
For a taste of nightlife, visit one of these clubs and try anything from Barcelona’s signature Sangria to a bar made completely out of ice. Shoko This club is located right on the beach next to the two towers of Vila Olimpica. It is a fash ionable Japanese restaurant with a terrace on the beach and three bars. The menu has an extensive Japanese-Asian fusion selection as well as sushi. At night, it converts into a modern and club atmosphere featuring anything from R&B, Hip Hop, Soul and Techno music. Shoko also frequently hosts nternationally famous DJs.
Espirit Chupito This Barcelona shots bar outside the city center is a great place to start a crazy night out. They serve over 200 shots here including “the General” and the favorite shot “the Monica Lewinsky.” They put on a show for most of the shots to fit the theme of what you order. They go as far as too light the bar on fire and dress you up in costumes with props. Be ready for a youthful crowd and a rowdy good time. 39
Gaudi Seven distinct properties built in and around Barcelona offer many different delights but represent the singular vision of one man— architect Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí’s creative genius—and the curves, shapes, and ornamentations it produced—literally changed the face of architecture and building technology during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Gaudí recognized the formal order inherent in most architecture before his time—and deliberately turned it upside down. As a result his buildings seem strikingly unique and almost surreal even after a century. Gaudí’s efforts included not only building design but also decorative style and overall settings; his touch was applied to everything from sculpture to gardens. As UNESCO noted in its criteria for listing the sites: “Gaudí’s work exhibits an important interchange of values closely associated with the cultural and artistic currents of his time, as represented in Catalonian Modernism (a contemporary movement akin to Art Nouveau). It anticipated and influenced many of the forms and techniques that were relevant to the development of modern construction in the 20th century.” The Casa Batlló is a renovation, not an original construction, yet one accomplished with such style and skill that it has become one of Gaudí’s best known projects. Notable here is how the shapely, strange building was washed in color with an extensive facade of ceramics cont. page 98 and mosaics. 40
Inside the Cathedral of Barcelona, or La Seu. Iconic locations like this are benefiting from increased tourism. 42
Spainâ€™s Tourism Will Profit from Egyptâ€™s Unrest The demand for Egypt falls 30 percent as tourists head to Spain and the Canary Islands.
Flight search engine, WhichBudget.com, reports a 30 percent nosedive in overall flight searches to Egypt due to the present political unrest in the country. The situation in Egypt follows on from recent conflicts in Tunisia, also a popular tourist destination. According to WhichBudget.com, overall flight searches to Tunisia plunged 50 percent since the crisis began. Martino Matijevic, CEO and Founder at WhichBudget.com comments: "With further protests planned to take place on the streets of Cairo, and with so much uncertainty about what will happen next in the country, it is understandable that holidaymakers are choosing to cancel or change their holiday plans. The impact of this instability on Egypt's tourism industry could be huge if the situation escalates and will almost certainly result in a decrease on the number of flight searches for summer 2011. However, as a perennial favourite, Egypt is well placed to bounce back quickly once stability returns." WhichBudget.com has noticed a significant increase in the number of flights searches for the Canary Islands and Spanish destinations during January 2011. Matijevic confirms that "Malaga, Alicante and Faro in particular have all experienced a surge in the number of searches since the protests in Tunisia and Egypt began. However, Barcelona saw the largest rise in January flight searches at 22% followed by Tenerife with an increase of 12 percent."
Your Guide to Barcelona
Barcelona is a port, the second largest city in Spain, and the capital of Catalonia. It is in Catelonia, Spain, in the Iberian Peninsula of Spain on the Mediterranean coast between the Llobregat and Besos rivers. Spanish is the official currency, but many use Catalan. Many street signs and museum descriptions are only in Catalan. The city uses the Metric system for measurements, and the Euro is their official currency, but currency exchange stations are common. Follow these tips for a successful trip. Weather:
Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate with mild, humid winters and warm, dry summers. January and February are the coldest months when temperatures are around 50 °F. July and August are the hottest with temperatues averaging 86 °F.
When to Go: Spring time in Barcelona is best for pleasant temperatures of 86 °F and the summer crowds are yet to come. Summer gets really hot and crowded especially in September when a number of cultural events take place in the city.
Airport: Barcelona International Airport also known as El Prat. It is located in the town of El Prat de llobregat 2 miles from Barcelona.
Getting Around: Barcelona’s network comprises a metro, bus, two spearate tram networks and several funiculars and aerial cable cars. Useful website: The Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona
Tipping: “You can, but you don’t have to,” explains Richard Schweid, senior editor at Barcelona Metropolitan magazine. The cabbie from the airport, who might have had to wait an hour to get to the head of the line, will appreciate 10 percent; local people usually round up bar and restaurant tabs and such to the nearest euro—or not, as they feel like—but at upscale eateries you need to be a bit more generous.
Identity Issues: Never suggest to a native of Barcelona that he lives in a “region” of Spain or that he speaks a derivative of Spanish. Relatively few Catalans are ardent separatists, but they’re all fiercely proud of their distinctly different history, culture, and language.
Greetings: Two kisses (besos), or light touches cheek-to-cheek, one on each side, are the normal way of greeting people, even people you don’t know. This is usually between women, or men and women; men can greet each other this way, but it’s more unusual.
Meals: “You’re on the Mediterranean clock here,” advises Richard Schweid. Don’t expect a restaurant to be open much before 1:30 p.m. for lunch, or 9:30 p.m. for dinner. If you’re meeting local people for a meal out, count on them to be reasonably (but not obsessively) punctual. Unless you’ve been invited, the normal expectation is that everyone pays his/her share of the bill.
Speak Like A Native Spanish is understood everywhere in Barcelona, but people will appreciate your willingness to try Catalan. A few useful phrases, with their Spanish equivalents:
Barça: Futbol Club de Barcelona—the city’s soccer team, its pride and joy. Pronounced BAR-sa. Cigaló (Sp. carajillo): Small cup of thick coffee (a cortado) with a shot of brandy in it; blue-collar morning kick starter, but good anytime. Pronounced see-ga-LOW. Seny: Common sense, practicality. This, and its opposite, rauxa (rau-sha: chaos, creative madness) are said to be the twin pillars of the Catalan national character. Pronounced senh. Si us plau (Sp. por favor): Please—used both for requests and getting attention. Pronounced cease plow. Tancat (Sp. cerrado): Closed. Stores and offices—with some exceptions for the tourist trade—are tancat from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m., on Sundays, and for most of August. Pronounced tan-KAHT.
Bring Barcelona Home
These classic local dishes are suprisingly easy to make, and will give you a taste of the city without the trip. Roast Duck and Prunes
Crema Catalana 2 cups whole milk 1 cinnamon stick Zest of half a lemon 4 fresh egg yolks 3/4 cup caster sugar 4 teaspoons brown sugar Heat (don’t boil) milk with cinnamon stick and lemon zest. Beat together egg yolks and caster sugar until creamy. Remove cinnamon stick and slowly add eggs to the pan of milk to form a thick, creamy custard. Remove from heat immediately and pour the custard into four ramekins or small terra-cotta dishes. After cooking, refrigerate for two to three hours. Just before serving, sprinkle a teaspoonful of brown sugar over the top of each and broil until sugar bubbles and caramelizes. Serves four.
2 large duck breasts Salt and pepper 1 medium onion 1 carrot 2 garlic cloves Butter 1 bay leaf Sprig of thyme Handful of pine nuts 1 cinnamon stick 1 cup chicken stock 1 cup red wine 1/2 cup Spanish brandy 12 whole dried prunes (unpitted) Prick the skin of duck breasts, season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven 450ºF (230ºC) skin side up for 30 to 45 minutes. Finely chop onion, carrot, and garlic cloves. Sauté in a large pan in butter or duck fat, with bay leaf, thyme, pine nuts, and cinnamon stick until golden and melted. Add chicken stock, red wine, and Spanish brandy. Bring to simmer, add dried prunes, and reduce liquid by half, seasoning to taste. Add duck breasts and juices (but not the fat) to the pan, and simmer gently for ten minutes. Remove and cut into quarter-inch slices for serving. Distribute prunes over duck, pour liquid on top, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and torn parsley. Serves four.
A travel magazine concept that I designed for a class.