Trip Start Apr 22, 2011
11Trip End May 08, 2011
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First night in Barcelona – Sangria (huge glass!! forgot to say small :)) on Las Ramblas and oh the people watching!! Busiest street in Barca. Then onto the Barri Gotic area – and dinner at Safra 18 – small place near our hotel – there are thousands of these delightful little tapas bars and the food just amazing. Had prawns so fresh they must have just come out of the water and the freshest asparagus – tasted like no asparagus I’ve had before!
First day in Barcelona – Had a great time on the hop on/hop off open topped bus on a brilliantly sunny day. Saw the Olympic site, usual stuff around about – particularly enjoyed the Pablo Espanol – a small village on edge of Barcelona – full of tiny workshops with artisans from all over Spainhttp://sonko.hereitis.es. Stopped for pizza and wine in the Grand Plaza before getting back on bus to head home with a stroll through Barri Gotic to end up at port edge where our hotel was located. Dinner again was another treat; this time in the Ribera district – another short walk from our hotel . The youngest people are chefs/running these fab restaurants. Here we had a plate of 3 carpaccio’s as well as filo pastry stuffed in 3 different ways – then an 'entree’ Moroccon chicken dish – lightest pastry coating with amazing spices – completed with 2 small scoops of dark chocolate gelato with hot pepper – spicy but so unique!! Drooling yet? I’m writing all this so I can remember and repeat some day!!
Second day – overload!! But one tends to just keep going when there are NO lineups at the key sites! Perfect time of year to travel about. First today was Picasso’s Museum – Absolutely Loved it!! Super layout for the museo in that each room depicted a different stage of his painting beginning with his early years and what a genius he was from like 12/13 years old – recreating Master’s!! Learned about his re-interpretation of Velazquez’s Las Meninas – Picasso took this Master’s work and reconstructed it 50 different times. "Artistic soul mates".
Onto the Cathedral – pausing a moment or ten to refresh, regroup and see a great old structure. Could reach the roof so pix from the roof are below. Found a lunch spot on top of a building – eating lunch about 2 or 3 pm these days as we don’t eat dinner until 9 - 10 pm or so!
And just to top it off – hiked up to Gaudi’s Casa Mila – now this architect did some really crazy stuff. We only had time for one so chose this Casa, right in the heart of an extremely wealthy neighbourhood. Glad we did because they had video of the other things he built. Loved to learn that he took most of his ideas from nature, so from tree roots, even corn cobs, from bones, like hip bones and other joint bones and created structures in his still unfinished church and in 2 houses/a park for all to see.
Dinner? Yup, another gourmet find!! The Bodega la Tinaja – again in Ribera area – became favourite area of ours. Ohhhh the authenticity and beauty of this meal! So what you do with huge slices of homemade bread is rub it with a cut garlic clove and then slice a whole small fresh tomato on top and drizzle with incredible olive oil, touch of salt and yummmyyy. We had ordered the assortment of pate’s – omg!! more wild asparagus - Plus Rich’s very favourite wee spicy sausages, plus the next favourite – grilled veggies topped with slices of goat cheese – how can it taste so different and divine?? Enjoyed cheering on Barca with the waiters throughout the nite
Slow day-“tad” grumpy but that’s life/travel; packed and hopped the AVE speediest train to Madrid – topped 300 km/hour at times – only took 3 ½ hours. Once there -how do we get so lucky at Westin’s?? Must be R’s Starwood status level or sumthin? At the Westin Palace (and it looks like a palace for sure – see pic’s over next day or so) Allvaro behind the Recepcion desk upgraded us 2 X over our upgrade “because you look like friendly people and you are on vacation” so that we had a king bed in a room with a balcony overlooking the square right in front of the Prado Museum. Phenomenal!!!