Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Sleep, glorious sleep, last night. I awaken to a “ping” from Janel letting me know that Isam might want to meet me for coffee to go over some of my Barcelona options for the day. Perfect. I “ping” him and we set up a rendezvous for the civilized hour of 10:00am.
There is indeed “good coffee” at Cafe Syra. We indulge and Isam helps me to set up my Spanish cheapo (read “crap-o”) cell phone so that I can stay in touch with Janel when I am without Wi-Fi. We also discuss several of the many options available to me in this lovely city. Isam is so kind as to mark places on a map to help me navigate. Now that I am properly caffeinated and mapped, I bid Isam adios and strike out on my own to seek what Barcelona has to offer.
Thankfully Janel has shown me how I can use the map function on my iPhone even if I do not have WiFi (and certainly no cell coverage). I have decided to tour Gaudi’s masterpiece – Casa Batlló and easily make my way there using the map on my phone. (Ha! See – I can navigate…). On my way I pass by La Pedrera (Casa Mila) – another awesome example of Gaudi’s architecture.
In my past visits to Barcelona I have seen Casa Batlló many times, but have never entered. Today is the day. Casa Batlló was built by Gaudi in 1877 and is a remarkable building both in it’s style and many innovative elements. (Loyal blog readers might remember in my last visit to Barcelona we visited Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece – La Sagrada Familia and were completely blown away). While Casa Batlló is on a much, much smaller scale, it is no less fascinating. I wanted to live in it…
It is so beautiful and almost like stepping into a life sized Dr. Seuss book. I loved it!
Upon leaving the site, I wandered along the large “Passeig de Gracia” street where all the huge designer shops are settled. I believe I found a few items that I might need:
It was a gorgeous day and I ended up settling in for a coffee on a sidewalk cafe to do a little people watching. Good idea. Right after I sat down the gorgeous day turned and this was the scene on the sidewalk:
By the time I was finished so was the rain. I continued my wandering and decided to head to the El Born district where we were last night for dinner.
At this point I put away my “map” and let myself get a bit lost. I now trust that I can get to where I am going from just about anywhere if I have my iPhone. Just as it starts to sprinkle again I duck into the Santa Caterina Mercado in El Born.
Hunger has started to set in. I noticed two restaurants inside the market and choose the one that looks most promising – La Torna. Great choice. I saddle up to the bar and order the Veal Stew and a cerveza.
La Torna seems to be a healthy mixture of locals and tourists alike. The stew was wonderful and a great choice for what turned out to be a drizzly afternoon. This was also a perfect perch from which to people watch. Right as I am ready to leave a young British couple sits down next to me. When approached by the server the girl shyly asks for “white wine..?” The server does not understand and I pipe in with “Vino Blanco.” She completely understands and the girl is so happy. I turn to her and say in my best Spanish accent “VEENO BLAANCO!” Haha -who’s the native speaker, now?
After a completeIy satifsying lunch, the lengthy walk home does me a lot of good. It is then that I remember Janel and I are supposed to work out with her trainer at her gym tonight. Oh man, what have I gotten myself into?
We actually end up having a great workout. Her trainer, Mark, is wonderful (don’t worry, Levi – I still love you) and he puts us through our paces. It feels good to do some upper body work. We end up tired and yet revitalized.
Dinner tonight will be at a place that Janel and Isam have chosen for its relaxed atmosphere and authentic Catalan cooking. But first we make a stop at a cute little bar they have never visited – Le Journal – for a vermut and a tapa.
Dinner is calling our names and La Ceba is waiting. Turns out to be a wonderful spot for tonight. It is very warm, friendly and pure Catalan. Once again I let the other two do the ordering and sit back to see what shows up.
We end up with fried artichokes, red peppers with anchovies, two kinds of omelets (house specialty) and a bottle of house red wine. All awesome choices! The dinner is perfect with many conversational topics – the US election always being at the top of the list…
Another night in Barcelona has come to an end. It feels like I am just scratching at the surface of what this incredible city has to offer. The time with Janel is so precious and I am sincerely thankful for every moment.