My blog has been on a pretty long hiatus in the past few months. Having a baby definitely changes ones life completely. We have not gone out to any places worth blogging about for over 2 months. In all honesty, even if we do end up going somewhere worth blogging about, it would be a challenge finding time to blog!
Anyhow, this month I was invited by Cocoa Kelly from Chocolate Tales to attend a classic chocolate making workshop. Chocolate Tales provides chocolate making workshops in the GTA for people to get some hands-on experience in making chocolate. They also host entertaining chocolate making events – from bridal showers, kids parties, to professional corporate team building events. I was so excited to attend the workshop. Charles stayed home to watch the baby while I attended the class with my chocolate-lover friend, Amanda. It was sure nice to have some baby-free time and spending it with loads of chocolate definitely made the day even better.
Before going to Spain, I spent a significant amount of time researching for good places to have fresh seafood in Barcelona. La Paradeta came up in my search multiple times and has excellent reviews from travellers. We went to the Sagrada Familia location for lunch after visiting this world famous Gaudi masterpiece in the morning.
The dining concept of La Paradeta is simple – choose the seafood you like, determine the quantity/weight, select a method of cooking (fried, steamed, sauce), pay for your food, and then wait until your number is called to pick up your freshly cooked seafood.
We basically had nothing but seafood when we were in Barcelona. It was difficult to resist all that fresh and amazing seafood!
I found Paco Meralgo when I was searching for seafood restaurants before going to Barcelona. We had an “early dinner” reservation at 7 pm but I was glad that we ate early, because late comers had to wait for tables.
One of the things we were most excited about going to Spain, was to have authentic tapas. Knowing that Barcelona has access to fresh seafood made us really look forward to trying some seafood tapas during our stay there.
Our first tapas experience in Barcelona (and also Spain), took place at Cervecería Catalana. We arrived around 6 pm on a Saturday and the place was packed! We chose to sit at the bar so that we could see what others were eating and what kind of tapas were brought to the bar.
The Spanish Steps, another famous Roman spot, are a set of steep steps spamming from the Piazza di Spagna at the base and the Trinita dei Monti Church at the top. Thousands of tourists and locals walked the Spanish Steps every day At any given time of the day, these steps seemed to be packed with tourists sitting on them resting their sore legs, enjoying a quick bite, or just simply people watching.
The area near the Spanish Steps is also the luxury centre of the city where one can find designer stores like Bottega Veneta, Gucci, and Hermès within steps from each other. After doing some shopping at Gucci, Charles and I headed to Ristorante alla Rampa for some lunch on the patio.
As the capital of Italy, Rome is a highly revered tourist destination for many reasons. The Roman Forum, the ruins of ancient Rome, and the vast timeless architecture of the Colosseum, are just two reasons why millions of tourists from around the world go there to admire the treasures and masterpieces of Roman art, architecture, and history.
Charles and I dedicated a lot of time visiting the Forum and Colosseum. We even visited the Forum twice, first time without Rick Steve’s audio guide (felt kind of lost and not sure what we were looking at) and the second time with it. Our second visit was a lot more in depth and we spent significantly more time walking under a very hot Roman sun. We were famished by lunch. Luckily for us, La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali was just steps away.
Near the Plaza Mayor, Mercado de San Miguel is praised by Fodor’s Travel as a “gourmet nirvana” and by Lonely Planet as a “culinary cultural centre.” We had high expectations of this old market and were really looking forward to sampling different tapas during our visit.
It is almost impossible not to spot the market. The modern glass structure stands in the centre of Old Madrid. You can actually see stalls of vendors through the glass walls from the outside.