I thought I’d ticked Spain off the bucket list years ago… but, my daughter and friends kept insisting “Go to Barcelona! It’s different; you’ll love it!”
So finally, we stopped for a visit…
Oh, what a delight!
What a colourful, creative, delicious and easy city to graze in for a week!
Day 1 – We proudly put our tourist on and did the usual suspects… ogled a museum full of Picasso and his pigeons,
then wandered the paved backstreets becoming lost in the old Gothic area. Finally, we sat silently inside a towering cathedral; grateful for the pew to rest our weary feet… before taking the long winding road home to tapas.
Day 2– My Catalonian friend had given me an itinerary for hanging out with a few locals. A restaurant in Poble Sec was listed to try calçots. These are a famous Catalonian food found at this time of the year; a type of scallion or tender green onion dipped in Romesco sauce. We savoured each one charred, smokey and sweet… then smothered them in buckets of the deliciously, nutty special sauce. Yummo!! I can’t wait to try my adapted version using small leeks all fired up on our barbie back home. Yes, so many ways this will probably go wrong 😂🤣😁
Day 3 – As advised “…there are two conditions to eat paella. Never eat a paella for dinner, NEVER, and neither eat paella in Ramblas Street. The restaurants in Ramblas street don’t offer good paellas. Please, don’t eat there. Go to Barceloneta, the old fishing area”. Ok, so we found his suggested Salamanca restaurant and enjoyed a looooong lunch wading our way through all the seafood in the best paella ever
(Yes, even the Masterchef gods would love it!) We enjoyed ample red wine to wash everything down, and grapa complements of our host Sylvestre… before happily staggering to our current balcony we call home; also with complementary sunset.
Day 4 – This will be called a catch up day. However, reflecting on the grapa and the staggering… possibly… surely, no… it was just a jetlagged catch up day of watching people on the street below. Yes, a rest day with water, panadol, pastries and more water.
Day 5 – When visiting Barcelona one must make the expected pilgrimage to the manmade mountain that is La Sagrada Familia and worship at the altar of Gaudi. So, along with all the other lemmings we trod the well worn path and I found myself… gazing upward in absolute awe at the staggering height and beauty of this man’s vision. The surprise is… that I was truly impressed!
Rainbow sunlight filtered through colourwheel windows while the walls stretched higher than seemed possible. There was an elegance in the simplicity inside which contrasted with the intensity and busyness of the embellishments and life outside. This place was all-encompassing, warm and embracing of anyone who chose to step inside. It seemed appropriate… perfect, in fact!
Day 6 – ‘Disfrutar’ means ‘enjoy… and so we did. I’d read so much about the three chefs who had developed their skills at El Bulli but were now creating their own history by gaining 2 Michelin stars in such a short time.
Their Gran Classic menu was the biggest gastronomic thrill of my life to date. Each course was a fantasy that guided us beyond all expectations of what we considered creative and delicious. I highly recommend that you make a booking and do all your senses a flavour!
Day 7 – I was introduced to Miro by my old friend Len during another lifetime. I’d studied the artist at school but it was never as interesting as when my art teaching mate and mentor explained the philosophies of this brilliant young Catalan painter over one of our renown long lunches. Miro challenged traditional painting and the bourgeoisie that perpetuated it… and I’m pretty sure which part appealed the most to my socialist friend and lit the fire inside as he spoke. So today, along with my memories, I wandered the Fundacion Miro and delighted in the simple line, colours and symbols of traditional-challenging works on the walls. In some ways it felt quite surreal.
Barcelona, you’ve amazed, inspired and refreshed.
Yes, we loved you!