Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Flowers at Hotel Arts Barcelona

At 44-storeys high, the Hotel Arts Barcelona is one of the tallest buildings in Barcelona. The hotel is right by the mediterranean shore.

The two tallest buildings in Barcelona: Hotel Arts Barcelona and the MAPFRE building.

The view we had from the room was stunning.

When we first arrived early the morning, our room was not yet ready so the girls spent a good part of the morning enjoying the garden. It also had the spectacular view of Frank Gehry's fish sculpture

The room had enough space for the four of us. 

And as always, I spend the first few minutes taking pictures of all the interior details of the hotel room.

A short taxi ride brought us to the Ramblas and the old town, but we also enjoyed being by the water.

What really caught my attention though, day after day, were the fresh flower arrangements scattered all over the hotel.

We were here only for four nights but the arrangements seemed to be changing often.

Only after we left did I realize that the hotel is quite known for its celebrity florist, the Australian Donna Stain.

Had I been more clued in, I might've had a chat (and a selfie!) with her. I would've also taken pictures of each and every arrangement I saw.

I only took these pictures of the lobby on our last day.

If you happen to stay at the Hotel Arts Barcelona, stop and smell the flowers!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Cooking Lessons at the Boqueria in Barcelona

One of the things I like to do on a trip is to find a class or a workshop that fits into my schedule. If I can learn something in only half a day, so much the better.

Here is something fun to do in Barcelona.  This is a cooking class that takes place on the second floor of La Boqueria, the public market of Barcelona, located right along the Ramblas.

The class starts with a quick orientation and then a visit to the market downstairs to buy the main ingredients.

The Boqueria has some of the chicest-looking tinderas.

On the menu were tapas--small dishes of bite-sized portions. There was octopus, torta de patata, padron peppers, patatas bravas, spanish meatballs.

Back in the studio, the other ingredients are already prepared and organized so all we had to do was dump things together.

We were a fairly big group so it was a bit chaotic. One little group was prepping and another was cooking.  

Like every cooking class, the chefs explain in detail why we are using certain ingredients, and also the reason for some procedures. I noticed we were grating the tomatoes and not chopping them but I don't remember the reason.

And one of the most interesting part of the afternoon was when they decided to make sangrias. There was no recipe or measurements written down for us, and the chef did everything by approximating--  "Now pour 7 seconds of vodka..(pouring starts) 1..2..3..4..5..6..7..."

A lot of the women abandoned the cooking stations to watch the sangria prep (which was just a bonus part, so that we could have something with the food!)

Patatas bravas and patron peppers

The torta de patata is coming along nicely. We just have to turn it over, which for me is the hardest part of preparing it. Imagine doing all the steps only for the whole thing to splat on the floor?

I don't have a photo of the flipped omelet but it was successful..and delicious!

Here's our spread. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon!

With the chefs. Guapos no?

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is one place where I got my senses assaulted.  I was so overwhelmed I left empty-handed. 

Jess, if you are reading this, which you should be doing when you wake up today--there is one photo here which shows the necklace I want.

Actually I would be ordering a rug from you too, but since Maya came into the house, I've had to remove all my rugs! Having a dog is such a hassle, and detrimental to interior design. But she is so cute so the rugs remain rolled in the laundry room.

Okay, where is that necklace...

It's simple lang, and many of the bazaar jewellers here have copied it. Or maybe they just buy their stash from there and re-sell here.

The only thing I ever bought from the Grand Bazaar, almost 10 years ago, were turkish outfits for the girls who were 2 and 3 years old then. They looked so cute in those outfits and were able to wear it to many costume parties.

I didn't find any turkish outfit shop this time.

Since I wasn't on the look out to buy anything,  I also avoided chatting with the shopkeepers. I'm such a sucker for home decor that I would've ended up buying a light fixture if I started a conversation. Then it will just end up in storage.

Wait, I don't see the necklace is any of these pictures.

Bahala ka na, I trust your good taste! Just buy me something... (but not an evil-eye pendant k?)

Have fun, remember to FOCUS, and don't get overwhelmed!

I'll see if I can google you some other pegs.

This is the guy who showed us around when we were there.


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