Sunday, July 20, 2014
Not a bad sleep last night. I toss and turned this morning and finally managed to get up around 9:00. I called Janel and she invited me to come on over for breakfast (assuming I can find my way to her apartment – most of you know how awful I am at any sense of direction).
Without too much hesitation I find Janel’s apartment on a nice, quiet street. She already has breakfast in the works. This is my first glance at her new place and I can see why she loves it. It is really cute and she has it all to herself.
Janel has fixed us an awesome breakfast and has set it up beautifully. How did she learn to do this? I am so happy to be dining with her this morning.
After a great meal I open the bag I have brought with all sorts of goodies for Janel. Some things are items she had ordered and shipped to AZ and others are little presents from us. It’s always nice to have a few surprises.
Our big plans for the day are to wander down towards the ocean and see what we might find along the way. The day is already hot and humid, but as long as we remain in the shade there is a nice breeze and it isn’t too bad.
Since it is Sunday, many shops are closed but there are tons of people out and about – both locals and tourists alike. I am always fascinated with the beautiful buildings in Spain and Barcelona certainly is no exception.
We start to get close to La Ramblas – tourist mecca street. Take a look at this picture. Can you see the throngs of people just ahead? It is a wall of tourists! We only stay here for a few moments and then duck onto some side streets.
The shady streets of the Gothic Quarter are a welcome relief from the full on Barcelona sun. Strolling here is much less congested. We wind our way out to Barcelonetta and the sea.
It is well after noon and time to sit and have a beer. We have our eyes on a little spot that is right down on the sand. Janel manages to wrangle her way to a table where we sit, sip and people watch for a while. I think this was the first spot where we both said we wished Janet were here. “Sorry, Janet.”
We are getting hungry and although the food coming out of here looks pretty good, Janel has another spot in mind for Sunday lunch (which, by the way is eaten around 4 pm!). We leave our seaside perch and wind our way back into town ending up at a busy place called Bitacora. We wanted to sit outside so Janel gave the bartender her name to put on the board. The name “Janel” doesn’t exist in Spanish and the “J” sound is sometimes difficult for Spaniards. Janel explains it is “just like Chanel #5…”
We finally got our seat on the patio and had an awesome lunch of Pan con Tomate (crusty bread smeared with fresh tomato), Tuna belly with tomatoes:
and the most exquisite little sardines I have ever eaten. “Sorry, Janet.”
Perfect Sunday lunch. I forgot how much I love Spanish food.
A bit of walking around is in order and we pop into a little boutique that sells headbands and hats. Janel tries on a couple of cute headbands and a couple of purchases are made.
It is so nice to walk around here. You come across beautiful things everywhere if you take the time to stop and look:
Caffeine cravings begin and are satisfied:
Since we have walked fairly far from home we treat ourselves to a quick taxi ride back. We both intend on catching a little siesta and we both are successful. We get ourselves together and reconoiter for Cava Time. Janel knows a swanky hotel very close by that has a beautiful lounge – perfect for sipping cava. Casa Fuster Hotel is waiting. The lounge is gorgeous and we spend a while here sipping and people watching. “Sorry, Janet.”
Time for a little tapa and Janel knows just the place – la Xula (Chula).
La Xula is tiny and perfect. Janel has been in here before and she is recognized immediately. Our server is very friendly and I immediately feel comfortable here. The menu is absolutely enticing and it is difficult to make a choice. In the end we decided on the Bikini Sandwich (classic grilled ham/cheese sandwich – this one has shaved truffle):
We also go for the Tuna Tataki:
Our final choice of the night was a standout – Carpaccio of Pig’s Foot. I know. I know. It was the hands down favorite. “Sorry, Janet” Janel says it is “photographically challenged” because it really does not look all that interesting so no pics. Trust me – you want this. We washed it all down with a glass of a beautiful, soft red from Cadiz. Does it get any better?
My first full day in Barcelona certainly was full. I loved spending the day with Janel and wandering wherever our feet took us. Tomorrow I am invited to see her workplace and have lunch with some of her co-workers. Sounds like a plan to me.