Serendipitous Moment at La Boqueria Market in Barcelona

On the second day of my solo trip to Barcelona last May I walked over to La Boqueria Market via the Gothic Quarter. It was a beautiful blue sky spring day in Barcelona. I enjoyed wandering from my Airbnb apartment on Via Laietana through the Gothic Quarter and walking along the narrow streets. I visited the old Jewish quarter and snapped photos of doors, buildings, shop windows, and graffiti along the way.

Walking along Las Ramblas I was surrounded by tourists and I remembering feeling pleased that I had opted to stay in La Ribera neighborhood instead. I had been forewarned that Las Ramblas was a tourist haven so it was no big surprise to me, still I felt a little disappointment at seeing so many tourists. I spotted the umbrellas and the dragon decorating Casa Bruno Quadras, a former umbrella factory.

 

Las Ramblas Barcelona - Dragon  - old umbrella factory - saw this on my way to La Boqueria Market

Barcelona Las Ramblas dragon at the old umbrella factory

 

Facade of former umbrella shop along Las Ramblas in Barcelona

Barcelona Las Ramblas former umbrella shop – Casa Bruno Quadras building

 

Ready to escape I noticed La Boqueria food market, took a deep breath and embraced the moment, following the sea of people into the entrance way of Barcelona’s iconic market.

 

La Boqueria Market Barcelona - vegetables, fruit, sweets, huge fish market, food and drink for all tastes

Barcelona La Boqueria sign – Las Ramblas neighborhood

 

There is a map of the vendors and locations near the entrance and you can also get a paper map so you can find your way around, or just wander up and down the aisles as I did. If you would like to plan out your trip visit La Boqueria website here.

 

Plenty of fruits to choose from at La Boqueria Market.

 

La Boqueria Market in Barcelona features a huge selection of fresh fruits and veggies

Barcelona La Boqueria Market fresh fruit selection is amazing

 

La Boqeria Market Barcelona features beautiful fresh fruit in an abundance of choices

Barcelona La Boqueria fruit vendor and array of fruits

 

Lots of sweets and dried fruit and nuts to choose from at La Boqueria Market in Barcelona

 

La Boqueria Market in Barcelona Las Ramblas district - huge assortment of fruit, vegetables, nuts, sweets, olives, fish market, etc

Barcelona La Boqueria sweets for your sweetheart or your sweet tooth

 

Avocados and more at La Boqueria Market

 

La Boqueria Market in Barcelona  - Las Ramblas district  - fruits, veggies, and more

Barcelona La Boqueria avocado & more

 

Fresh tomatoes on the vine at La Boqueria Market Barcelona Las Ramblas district

Barcelona La Boqueria Market – tomatoes on the vine

 

The fish market was most interesting to me, as there were many types of fish and seafood that I had never seen before.

 

La Boqueria Market in Barcelona boasts a huge selection of fresh fish and seafood

Barcelona La Boqueria – escorpora (scorpion fish)

 

La Boqueria Market Barcelona - fish market features a huge array of seafood to choose from - Las Ramblas neighborhood

Barcelona La Boqueria fish market – navalles (razor fish)

 

Some familiar seafood as well.

 

La Boqueria Market Barcelona Las Ramblas neighborhood - crab on display at the fish market

Barcelona La Boqueria fish market – crab

 

A large selection of olives are available at La Boqueria – I am not sure why I skipped by the olive vendor without purchasing anything – highly uncharacteristic!

 

La Boqueria Market - olive vendor

Barcelona La Boqueria olive vendor

 

I had purchased a vegetarian sandwich but opted for the fresh seafood when I saw an open seat at Bar Clemen’s.

 

Bar Clemen's at La Boqueria Market in Barcelona

Barcelona La Boqueria – Bar Clemen’s

 

I chatted with my seatmates at Bar Clemen’s – a couple from Germany. They were enjoying a selection of seafood and I asked about the razor fish (navalles) and they said it was delicious. I made a mental note to try it while in Barcelona.

 

La Boqueria Market - Bar Clemen's seafood and beer in Barcelona's biggest market

Barcelona La Boqueria – Bar Clemen’s menu

 

I opted for something familiar as I was quite famished and wanted to be sure to enjoy my meal. Calamari and a beer satisfied my hunger.

 

Enjoy seafood and beer at Bar Clemen's in La Boqueria Market Barcelona's largest food market

Barcelona La Boqueria – Bar Clemen’s – calamares and beer

 

I was about ready to leave when someone sat down next to me. Naturally I started a conversation. The bartender was preparing coffees in front of me – que es esto? I inquired. Cortado he told me. I ordered a cortado (espresso with a little steamed milk) and continued my conversation with my new neighbor.

Turns out my neighbor was from Austin Texas and had been living in Barcelona for a couple of years. He did robotics work, primarily in the oilfield industry, and he was waiting for word about his next job. We chatted while I sipped my cortado and John lunched on a steak. He offered to show me around via a walking tour of the nearby area if I didn’t have any plans for the afternoon. Sure, why not!

Okay maybe some of you are thinking I was a little careless, or crazy. Or both. Wandering around with some guy I just met in a foreign city?! The thing is I have been to more than one rodeo so do I have some street sense, and good judgement. And great intuition. John was a perfect gentleman. He was a kind, friendly soul.

We walked and talked for the rest of the afternoon – from La Boqueria to Monjuic Park via El Poble Sec district. Walking back towards Las Ramblas we stopped for some tapas. In the evening I had a Flamenco concert to attend at the Palau de la Musica concert hall. John showed me the way via the subway and walked me to my apartment. A handshake and goodbyes, and he was on his way.

 


Practical Information:

Address: Rambla 91, Barcelona
Phone Number: +34 93 318 25 84
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 8AM – 8:30PM, closed Sundays
Admission Cost: FREE
Tours: Foodie tours offered by City Bites Barcelona
How to Get There: Metro: Liceu (on line L3); Buses: lines 15, 59 and 91


About the Author

Susan Moore's first solo travel experience was traveling around SE Asia for 7 months in 1993. It was life changing and extraordinary. Currently Susan is living a nomadic life, working and roadtripping around the USA and Canada. You can reach Susan Moore at Facebook or Twitter

22 Comments

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  1. What a fun day! I think we need to leave room in our hearts for serendipity and trust our instincts instead of our fears. Lovely post; makes me excited to visit Barcelona this spring.

    • Susan Moore says:

      Thanks Betsy, yes we can get a little too hung up on “what ifs” when we need to just go with our instincts and enjoy! I am so excited to be going back to Barcelona in April! I will only have a couple of days there but I will enjoy it immensely. There is so much to do and see in Barcelona.

  2. We are great believers in serendipity. We were wondering around the back streets of Ankara, and stopped to talk to a man gardening. In very broken English, it turned out his daughter lives in our home town, Wollongong. The day sounds lovely and your photos are so beautiful, they made me feel happy

    • Susan Moore says:

      Thank you Paula! It is so interesting talking with people that you never would have guessed you have some sort of connection with – a nice excuse to stop and chat with people more I think!

  3. Donna Janke says:

    Your pictures brought back fond memories of my trip to Barcelona a couple of years ago. I loved the place. Unfortunately, I walked past La Boqueria on a day it was closed (an excuse to go back?). As to meeting people from your home town, my husband used to joke that we couldn’t go anywhere without running into someone who somehow had a connection to the small town of less than 2000 people I grew up in, proving it can be a small world. That hasn’t been so much the case recently.

  4. I’ve lost count of the serendipitous moments I have experienced when travelling. It is so important to follow your intuition and embrace these moments. I believe that if it feels right, do it – because it is meant to be.

  5. I’m planning to fly into Barcelona to attend TBEX in April/May . I’ve already been there twice, so I was thinking of just spending enough time to check on the progress at La Sagrada Familia since my last visit in 2008, but this post has convinced me that perhaps more time would be a good idea.

    • Susan Moore says:

      Suzanne I look forward to meeting you at TBEX Lloret de Mar! Sagrada Familia was my least favorite of Gaudi’s architecture – I recommend that people with only a short stay in Barcelona visit Basilica Santa Maria del Mar instead of Sagrada Familia. Maybe you will get to see both!
      See you in Costa Brava!

  6. The Boqueria is one of the most beautiful markets in the world! Thanks for taking me back there with your wonderful pictures. I’m also crazy about the Gothic Quarter. So nice you hooked up with an informal tour guide:-)

    • Susan Moore says:

      Irene I loved the Gothic Quarter too! I stayed nearby in La Ribera. I actually had another impromptu walking tour while visiting Santa Maria del Mar – Luis, a retired local took me around the various historic sites nearby. I practiced my Spanish and he practiced his English – a wonderful afternoon. I had the most amazing time Barcelona!

  7. Shelley says:

    What a lovely day! I do find travel makes me way more open to starting conversations with strangers! I love your photos, especially the colourful market.

    • Susan Moore says:

      Hi Shelley, thank you! Yes I am the same, travel makes me talk to strangers more so than when I’m in my hometown. Part of it is just my curiosity and also the fact that I do not have to keep a schedule and I am more relaxed about time so I will stop and make conversations.

  8. I’ve visited Barcelona several times but never made it to the La Boqueria market. I did enjoy your spectacular images. And yes, I’ve run into someone I know many times on faraway trips. Most recently it was in the hinterlands of Iceland, in a tiny restaurant. My husband heard someone call his name and it turned out to be someone he’d once worked with who was sitting two people away from him! Quite amazing.

    • Susan Moore says:

      Carole, that is quite a coincidence meeting someone you know while in Iceland! It’s so fun to meet people you know while traveling in faraway places. I remember in 1988 when my sister and I traveled to Europe we were waiting for the ferry in Dover – and one of my former classmates from Alberta College of Art was there!

  9. Barcelona is one of my very favorite cities. I loved how you said ” I took a deep breath and embraced the moment, following the sea of people into the entrance way of Barcelona’s iconic market.” Sometimes you just have to go with it! Lovely, vibrant photos!

    • Susan Moore says:

      Thank you Suzanne! After visiting Barcelona last year I was ready to move there I loved it so much! Crowds are not my thing – especially crowds of tourists – but I survived just fine :)

  10. The market is quite crowded and chaotic, but so worth a visit, as you showed so well.

    • Susan Moore says:

      I am glad I visited La Boqueria Market but I was pleased to have the wonderful Santa Caterina Market in La Ribera district, just a few blocks from my apartment in Barcelona – a much more relaxed pace and a great selection of produce, meats, cheeses, etc.

  11. Sue Reddel says:

    What a wonderful photo essay! It brought me right back to La Boqueria. I just love Barcelona and although that area is very touristy I still recommend it for every one to see. Just watch your purse and wallet ;)

    • Susan Moore says:

      Good advice Sue – busy tourist sites are pickpocket havens! Fortunately I had only good luck while in Barcelona :)
      Glad you enjoyed Barcelona, it is one of my favorite cities in the world!

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