Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mercat de Mercats (Market of Markets)

Where is an excellent place to go to learn more about the culture of the area?  We have learned that frequenting the local markets are a great place to go.  On Oct 20th, we headed to a special event, the Market of Markets.  With the Barcelona Cathedral as the backdrop and the tents full of delicious food, it was a wonderful outing. 

We walked up to witness sardana dancing.  Sardana dancing is a type of circle dance typical of this area.  When danced in the streets, small circles of dancers can be seen to form and grow: often passers-by join in, leaving their bags in the center of the circle.  There was a live band consisting of 10 wind instruments playing music for the dancers.  A number of circles formed, some growing quite large, while we stood watching.  

Each tent contained specific tapas to be tried.  It was extremely busy.  I tend to get a little stressed in these types of environments as trying to navigate with a stroller and two small children who want to run and be free takes a lot of energy to keep contained while nudging people out of my way.  I found a little corner near the Fish tent where I waited while Bobby went from tent to tent to bring us back dishes to eat.  I pulled out an old trick that I used to use with Amelie when she was younger:  the iPhone as a babysitter.  I guess because we haven't had 3G in a while I just haven't been using my phone with them.  I have a couple of Apps on my phone that do not require wifi so I pulled out this pacifier to save my sanity. While Bobby and Amelie walked around the different vendors, I was able to people watch and snap some pictures of the Cathedral.  I was also able to de-stress and enjoy the atmosphere.  After we ate our lunch, we walked around the area.  We allowed Amelie and Liam to run around the square in front of the Cathedral which helped improve everyone's attitudes.

An old street sign carved into the stone on the building.  I love finding these old carvings around the city.
Amelie "flying!"  Amelie and Liam both enjoyed jumping off of the steps while we finished up our meal.
Into the Cathedral marched a drumming band.  Liam LOVES drumming.  He immediately ran to the front of the crowd to get a good view of the performance.  I didn't get any good pictures as I was stooped down, holding onto his shirt because he desperately wanted to join the band.  He and Amelie did dance to the beat.
"Oh no!  Where is his head?!"  Amelie figured it out, but I am not certain Liam ever did.  He did run up to drop change in his hat, but hurried away quickly so as not to be too near for too long.
As we were meandering in the nearby streets to the Cathedral, we happened upon the Museum of the History of Barcelona.  With it being Sunday (free museum day) and nap time for the kids, I thought a quiet dark museum would be just the thing to lure Liam to do his rest time while we could continue to be out.  However, this did not happen.  He did sit patiently in his stroller, but he did not sleep until we got onto the Metro to go home.   When we entered the museum, I allowed Amelie to have a turn with my phone.  She took the only pictures that we captured of this museum.  

We did not know much about this museum before entering, but we are glad we checked it out.  We were able to walk on top of ruins from 2000 years ago.  This excavation remains one of the largest  Roman settlements ever discovered in Europe: Barcino, as Barcelona was in Roman times.  We were able to see ancient ceramics and other items found in the excavation.  One of the more interesting visible areas to me was the ancient laundry and dying area.  There were a couple of the large clay pots that were still dyed blue.  It was fascinating to learn of their system with ramps and water flow and more.  I really felt like we were able to learn about the daily life of this time as we strolled through the ruins.
Amelie took over a 100 pictures on my phone.
You can see the pathway we walked on and how close we were to the ruins.  

It's interesting to me to scroll through the pictures and see what she decided was picture worthy.
I love seeing her legs reflection in this picture.
The exit of the museum led down stairs to a square.  We had been to this square a couple of times before and really enjoy it as it is a little tucked away and not as crowded.  Amelie and Liam spent a long time climbing up and down the stairs.
This is how life is with 2 kids...they are always going in opposite directions it seems. ;)

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