Thursday, July 31, 2014
We are on a mission today with sightseeing along the way. There is a special bottle of wine that we want that is unobtainable in the US. Rich has done his research and “thinks” he knows where we might be able to find it in Barcelona. We maneuver the streets to try and go a different path than yesterday (Rich is actually doing some navigation) and we wind up in Plaza Catalunya (the beginning of tourist central). Along the way we marvel at some of the architecture.
We start to enter Las Ramblas (the main tourist drag) when we spot a wine store that looks promising. We decide to go in and take a peek. Once again my Spanish is challenged. I do my best to ask for what we want. This clerk knows what we are talking about, but they don’t carry it. She tells us a couple of places that we might check (at least we think that is what she said!). Caffeine will be needed for this journey. And maybe also a little snack like a Bikini sandwich (melted cheese and ham).
Properly fortified, we now begin the hunt for Antonio’s Market somewhere in the Poble Sec neighborhood. Rich has a great internal compass and we find the store without too much trouble. It is closed… There is one side door that is partially opened so we go in. I think it is part of their warehouse. I bust out my Spanish and ask the worker for what we are looking for. He directs me “arriba” (upstairs). When we go up we find ourselves in the office with a couple of guys who appear to be owner/managers. They are very receptive and know exactly what we are looking for. But they don’t have it. Oh – they can get it “mañana.” “Tomorrow???” “Si.” The entire conversation was in Spanish, but we are pretty sure he told us to come back tomorrow and he would have it. Sounds promising.
All of our efforts have succeeded in making us hungry. Fortunately, there are many cafes/restaurants very near here. I remember the first cafe where I had lunch in the old city and we decide to try and find it again. When we are in the old part of the city all the little streets/alleyways start to look the same.
I had just about given up on finding my “perfect little shady square” when we turned a corner and there it was! The actual restaurant where I ate (the Salon) was not open, but Cafe Babel was serving outside on the square. Perfect.
We ended up sitting here for a couple of hours, just relaxing and people watching. This is a great spot.
On our way back home we pass by a plaza surrounded by buildings where a great singer is making great use of the natural acoustics. I drop a euro into his box and sit and listen for a while.
When we come upon the cathedral, Rich wants to take a “tourist” picture:
The walk back is kind of hot and long. A nice nap in a cool apartment sounds like just the thing. We pass out for an hour or so. Siesta time cannot be ignored.
When Janel returns from work she calls and we make arrangements to go to dinner at a place that she really likes – she tells us it is very typical “Catalan.” Dario is in Frankfurt for the day on business and won’t be joining us tonight.
A long-ish taxi ride takes us to Can Recasens in the Poble Nou area.
Can Recasens used to be a carniceria/market and retains some of that, but is also a fantastic Catalan restaurant. They have two seatings – 9:00 and 11:00. We have reservations for 9:00. People are lined up and when the doors open everyone with 9:00 reservations stream in and choose a table. As usual, we choose not to choose and stick with a set menu. It is absolutely fantastic!
We have a fantastic time picking and chatting. This is my favorite way to eat – sharing bits and pieces of deliciousness around the entire table. This restaurant is one of the few I have seen in Spain where they package your leftovers to take home (good thing, because there was no way we could finish it all).
What a great evening we had with our girl. She has made such a wonderful home for herself here in Spain and we are so proud of her. Love you, Nellie.