As predicted, it poured again in Barcelona. We had managed to see so many things yesterday, though, that we felt really good about taking a leisurely, rainy-day approach to today. We slept in really late and then headed over to La Rambla.
We returned to the Mercat de La Boqueria - the food hall/market that we had checked out briefly the day before. This time, we were ready to feast our way through! We started off by getting a paper cone filled with freshly sliced Iberico ham. We had been seeing the aged legs hanging all over the place in Portugal and Spain, but this was the first time we had it in its most pure, fresh form. We decided that we actually liked some of the other Iberican sausages that we have had better, but we were happy to try this out and have something to snack on as we scoped out the other kiosks.
After a bit of wandering around, we got lucky and came across two open seats in front of one of the kiosks. (Most of the places don't have any seats, and the ones that do only have a few barstools.) Here, we ordered some fried squids, patatas bravas and padron peppers, and we ate them while some of the other seafood stared back at us. The food was delicious, and the lady running the kiosk really liked us because we ate pretty quickly and turned the seats over for other customers.
After eating, I got a picture of the raw version of the little squids that we had just eaten. (The stall next door was selling them fresh to take home.) I've had my fair share of calamari before, but never whole, little fried squids like this before. They were more fishy tasting, but they went really well with the potatoes and peppers.
We were pretty full at this point, but we managed to find room to try the garlic/pesto octopus that a different kiosk was selling. I never thought that I would be such an octopus fan before traveling to Portugal and Spain!
After eating, we did a little more wandering around the Gothic Quarter, but we ultimately ended up back in our hotel for a little reading time before we braved the rain again to head to La Sagrada Familia.
About a half hour before our scheduled ticket time, we took the metro to a stop near the church (as much as we love walking, even we didn't feel like walking 35 minutes in the rain). When we got there, though, we discovered a giant line of people. Just about everyone in line seemed confused as to why there was such a big line when we all already had tickets, but our initial attempts to ask if we were in the right place weren't so successful. As we were waiting in the giant line with everyone else, though, I noticed two people who actually spoke Catalan leave their partners in line to check about an alternative entrance. After a few minutes, the partners holding their spots in line received a phone call and then left the line - never to return. This convinced us that there must be something better. Dylan went exploring and found a really short line right at the entrance that we jumped in. We still don't know what the giant line was for - other than confused tourists, but we were very happy not to have to wait in it!
We also ended up being glad that we made the effort to get tickets and see the inside of the church. The photos don't really do justice to the size of the building. It was massive inside!
The stained glass wasn't as ornate as what you find in more conventional churches, but it was still beautiful. Different sections had different colors. I figure that on a sunny day, it's even more impressive inside.
After exploring the inside, we were able to get a close-up look at the doors and parts of the facade, as well as tour a side chapel with benches and pulpits that Gaudi had also designed.
We noticed that this part had lizards on the outside.
Right next to it, there were snakes!
As we exited the church, we got a couple more photos of the facade (really noticing the color difference between the really old and more recently built sections) and then headed back towards our hotel.
On the way, we stopped at an empanada place since we had seen people with some the day before, and they looked good. And they were quite good!
Reflecting back on our food here in Barcelona, we realized that we didn't end up having a conventional meal at a sit down restaurant the entire time we were here (although we did get close with our kiosk seats). Cheap Barcelona take-away food for the win!