Thursday, April 21, 2011

Barcelona 2

On Friday we planed and executed a full day of sightseeing. After a full breakfast buffet at the hotel, it's included in the room price, we walked the short block to"Que" up for the "Bus Turistic".
We had gotten our all day tickets at the hotel (2 Euro savings) and so only had to wait till a bus came with some room( no standing) so that we could begin our adventure. Each major bus stop has red vested ticket sellers and info person who speak 5 languages. We were on the bus by 10 AM and on our way. We transferred from the Red Route to the Blue as that touched most of the famous Gaudi spots.

Arriving at the first major attraction, "Sagrada Familia', Gaudi's iconic church ( not completely finished) we were told that the wait was over 3 hours. I mentioned in the last Blog there were about half a million tourists. We decide to "stay on the bus"and try our luck at "Park Guadi" several stops later.
Off we went, and exited at that stop, which turned out to be six steep blocks from the actual Park. The climb was especially hard on Marilyn and she, wisely, decided, to sit near the entrance and visit with two ladies from Israel while I climbed higher and saw a bit of his architectural work.
A wise decision put us in a cab till we could hook back up with the Red line and continue our travels. The bus climbed "Montjuic"( Jewish mountain) named to commemorate the site of one of the first Jewish cemeteries. The ride was impressive through beautiful green areas and past churches, monuments, museums and the site of the Olympic games and all their sports venues.

We excited, next at the Miro Museum where we spent several hours viewing a video, which included scenes of his work at the "Terrace Plaza Hotel"( Cincinnati) in the Gourmet room, his first mural commision in the United States. Lunch was typical museum fair, Tuna Salad on white and a lemonade. The works in the museum made me a Miro enthusiast, but that's for an art report. The view, over the valley and Barcelona, from the roof terrace was impressive. Back on the bus, two more stops and back to the Hotel at 5.

Mark Gibson's( mentioned in the previous posting) ex wife picked us up at 5:30 and after a half hour get acquainted session we were off again. This time we strolled thru more nearby streets(small) the most interesting of which was one with over a dozen Chocolate shops serving anything from chocolate slabs and candies to hot liquid and, of course, cake and pastries. She explained the chocolate sculptures, in several shops, from Pirate ships to Cathedrals, are given as Easter presents. Cost's, of those we saw, seemed to be in the hundreds or thousands, either Euros or Dollars, take your pick.
The women, with me in tow, ended at "Zara's", the Spanish equivalent of H&M. Luckily nothing fit Marilyn.
A cab ride to her neighborhood, with an attractive Gaudi house( green, white and yellow tiles), along the way, and an introduction to Mark's attractive 13 year old daughter and a short visit in their bright and cheerful apartment.

By now we are semi- Spanish and so we walked to a neighborhood restaurant, "La Bodega", Plaza Molina, 2 Tel 93 237 8434 arriving a little after 9 PM.
The restaurant was wonderful with my biggest shock, the servers are all Filipino's and all speak English. The staff are more interested in the "LA Lakers" and Kobe Bryan than the Barcelona soccer team.
Second biggest surprise, all the specials and dessert are presented, as prepared by the kitchen, to ones table at the appropriate time for personal viewing and decision.

We shared a large order of Fried Artichokes( babies) and a small plate of beautifully cured Smoked Sliced Salmon.
With the help of our hostess I asked for a received an excellent Seafood Paella, created by the kitchen for the visiting American. It was terrific, I have never had a better, although I don't get a chance to order this often and am by no means an expert. Besides, shrimp, clams, octopus and mussels there were small strips of 2 or 3 other fish. The rice, seasoning and consistency and light crust was perfect.
I tasted part of Marilyn's beautiful mixed salad and a bite of her main course.
A half bottle of white wine, I shared with Georgiana, our guide and hostess, and 2 dessert, a pastry similar to "doughnut holes" and an outstanding Apple Tart with Ice Cream over filled us.

Midnight hailed a cab back to the hotel for a much needed rest.

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