One year ago today, C + I were burning out the soles of our shoes in Barcelona, the first stop in a five-city trip around Spain. Had we not left the city a few days before it suffered its worst snowstorm in 25 years, today’s post might’ve featured something other than food. But we did, and it won’t. In fond remembrance, here’s a brief survey of the more-photogenic morning repasts we had during our snow-free adventure.
As you may know, European breakfasts aren’t an extravagant affair. Most natives grab café con leche (espresso with milk), maybe a doughy snack (churros, rolls), and hold out for a big gastronomic blowout at lunch. My delicate machine required surprisingly more fuel than that for our lengthy expeditions around town. Fortunately, I was usually able to make do with savory bocadillos (baguette sandwiches filled with omelet, sausage, cheese, etc.), sweet hot chocolate so thick it needed to be eaten with a spoon, or flaky powdered pastries. Sometimes I had them all in one sitting.
We ventured into Barcelona’s Mercat de la Boqueria one morning, hoping to remedy the dearth of fresh (that is, not fried or drenched in oil) fruits and vegetables in our Spanish diet. I bought strawberry-coconut juice from the first stand I saw, partly because the technicolor straws and signage screamed “Photograph me!” and partly because I thought the mean-looking vendor might yell at me if I took a photo of her goods without buying anything. I thought I sensed an unspoken agreement between us when money exchanged hands–hey, she smiled!–and felt free to snap a photo shortly after. She yelled at me anyway and I scampered off, fearing reprisal from her broom.
I quickly discovered that hers was not the only juice stand at the market, and she was not the only one flaunting colorful straws. In fact, since she was situated right at the entrance, she charged more than the others for juice that was probably out of a can. I guess the lesson here is to not be enchanted by the first set of flashy doodads you see. Oh, and, if you’re in a non-English-speaking destination, beware anything signed in English. These are things I’ve know for a long time but, for some reason, juice caught me off guard. Can I blame it on jetlag?