once we got up and running, we walked down towards placa catalunya for a breakfast (brunch?) of coffee and pastries. we stepped into el corte ingles (a popular department store chain with everything you could possibly imagine) and were immediately overwhelmed and overstimulated. the number of people and the number of things to look at was staggering. we made a mental note for later of where the grocery store was, and then we made a hasty retreat.
from the corte ingles we wandered down to la rambla, which is a completely different scene during the day than it is at night. one entire section of the rambla is lined with vendors selling the most beautiful and colorful flowers, of every imaginable variety, big and small. the colors and smells were so powerful and just absolutely enchanting. the next section of the rambla was filled with vendors selling all sorts of apartment-sized pets: birds, ferrets, bunnies, turtles, ducks, hamsters, etc. lots of them were babies, and they were so adorable and so much fun to watch.
a little farther down, we came to the mercat de sant josep de la boqueria, an open-air market with endless aisles of booths where you could buy just about any type of food you could ever even think of - fresh fruits and veggies, fresh fish and meats, nuts and candies and chocolates - and they were all arranged so artfully and thoughtfully. i could see why this place was packed with people - it was such a treat to just admire the displays, and to be surrounded by all of the different colors and smells. we paid a euro for a cup of fresh blended fruit juice (strawberry and some other fruit we'd never heard of) and it was delicious, of course.
we continued down the rambla, past our friend christopher columbus, to the port. we crossed the rambla del mar (a fancy pedestrian bridge that looks like waves) to get to the maremagnum mall. lunch was fish and chips (and cava and cerveza) out on the boardwalk, where we could sit in the sun and watch the boats out in the harbor for a little while. after we did a little shopping in the mall, we went to the aquarium, because we can never resist an aquarium. i have to say that the aquarium was a little...disappointing. there was not even one otter there! we did see a fish that we'd never seen or heard of before, but aside from that, i wasn't impressed (plus, the photo booth ate our euros!).