Our first full day in Barcelona starts with making sure everything is re-packed into our suitcases. Not that we had unpacked that much as we knew there would be a change in accommodations. A big change and one we had hoped to avoid, but as luck would have it, the room we wanted for the entire stay was pre-booked so we couldn’t get to it immediately. No biggie as there was no real cost to us…all done with loyalty points so all we pay for is the city tax. 🙂
The staff here at the Best Western Hotel Dante are very good and more than helpful. They are going to move us up as soon as the room is ready, no hassle for us at all. Down to breakfast (included) and by the time we’re finished, our new room is ready and our luggage moved. Fantastic!! And…this Is a room with a view!
A quick check with reception and we were happily provided with a map and notes showing us how to get to where we wanted. Shopping and Les Rambles. (9,300 steps later and we’re taking a taxi back!)
The day was originally going to be rainy, so sayeth the weather man. But…he changed his tune which is just one more little bit of thoughtfulness on behalf of the Spaniards wanting to take care of us. 🙂 Now it is just very warm and humid with a slight breeze to make it very bearable in short sleeves. (BTW…not ONE snowflake to be seen…nudge nudge…)
The walk was long as their blocks here are not short whatsoever. We were surprised at how many people there are walking around everywhere. And bicycles, mopeds, electric scooters, cars of medium to very small stature. Busy busy busy. In fact, the day time is similar to the night time…just a little more so. Stores open later in the day (rarely before 10) and close later. Some close mid-afternoon for siesta, but not all.
The architecture all around keeps ones head on a swivel. Every building has something unique and statuesque. Gargoyles on this one, ornate balconies on that, towers on those… New buildings are noticeable because they just appear so…new.
And….just in case you REALLY need something from back home…although for the life of me I just can’t imagine Why…
So a Lot of walking today after a lot of walking yesterday with even more to come in the days ahead. Seems like a time to stop for a bite and some…liquid… Anywhere in Les Rambles (Catalán spelling) there is a multitude of places to eat with as robust a choice as you could possibly want. But…when in Rome, as the saying goes…
Where oh where to stop? Ok…here is one that looks interesting. And the rest became history. If you’re ever in Barcelona for an extended period of time, it will be worth it to find this gem – Barra Art.
First…the staff are great. Very helpful and speak English well enough to make sure you know what you’re eating. If you can speak Spanish…so much the better for both of you. 🙂 The interior had it’s own warmth and welcomeness to it. The blues playing over the speakers did nothing more than add to the whole experience.
The wine I had was served chilled…which caught me off guard completely. That said, it was more than satisfactory and lost nothing in the temperature differential. Would I recommend? Without hesitation. My dear wife had the Sangria. She got a 500 ml size and decided that I didn’t really need to taste it as it would simply reduce the amount SHE got to enjoy. Ok fine…we’ll order another 1 liter. Smart choice. Really, this is SO good, don’t bother asking for water. Just order more Sangria. And bypass the 500 ml…go straight to the 1 liter.
The beverages well in hand, the food began to arrive. First the Croquettes (chicken and potato, deep fried) quickly followed by Huevos Rotos Jamon. This was two perfectly soft-fried eggs on top of some thinly sliced Iberico Ham which was on top of french fries all served in a cast iron pan. French fries may seem a little out of place in Spain, but oh My! I could do this for breakfast easily!
Ok…are we full yet? Arguably yes but there still is some Sangria in the pitcher…and I really have had a hankering for some Octopus… What the heck, let’s go for the Pulpa Gallega. I really should have asked how this was actually prepared because I NEED to know how to do this at home. The octopus ended up pan fried (lightly) in oil, saffron (like, Lots of saffron!) and thinly sliced potatoes. I’m thinking it also had to be .. boiled(?) prior to perhaps? I say this because it was still firm, but nowhere near rubbery and so flavorful I really wish my dear wife didn’t love seafood.
Done and done and back out on to the street. It had begun to rain but I use that term very loosely. Really just the occasional water drops falling from the sky, barely enough to even call it sprinkling. Need a coat or umbrella! Not even for the time it would take to put it on or open it.
Enough walking for the day. There’s a taxi stand within about 20 steps of the restaurant with many just waiting on our beck and call. Back to our room and plunk down for a bit. Our friends that are joining us on this cruise (and will have the suite next to ours in this hotel) have been delayed due to problems with their flight. Now they won’t be here till much later than originally planned. However, we’re thinking of their trials and tribulations and have made the appropriate arrangements. 😉
Our room has now been equipped with one more amenity…a complimentary bottle of Perlada Brut Cava (Spain’s answer to Champagne). In a bucket full of ice water and two fluted glasses! Gotta LOVE this hotel!
Off to supper…
Very close to our hotel (right at the end of the block actually) is a Tapas bar I have been wanting to visit, Bar Tipi Els Barrils. Given our earlier experience this afternoon, the ‘bar’ has been set rather high. The reality is that this restaurant is good, but being honest, not AS good as Barra and Art.
We did a few tapas and the requisite Sangria (yes, the 1 liter, no point fooling around…we know better now).
The Sangria was very good…not quite as sweet as earlier and perhaps a little more actual wine this time around. A winner? Yes.
For the tapas experience we had the Seafood Salad (which did have octopus and other sea critters). Sautéed mushrooms (which comprised a Wide variety of this wonderful fungi). Patatas Bravas (think the best French Fries you ever had that don’t look like French Fries). Razor Clams (which I simply Had to try as I have never had these prior to tonight). Iberico ham and Manchego Cheese. They were all good. Not outstanding, but certainly good. Choosing one over the other, if I’m being honest, is a no-brainer. Barra Art for the win. Most memorable aspect of this dinner? November 3, almost 9 PM, outside, short sleeves. This is Fantastic!
We ate our fair share today but we also walked a lot today. 11,462 steps was the final count, just over 8.5 km.
A wonderful end to the day was the fact that our dear friends have finally made it to the hotel. Stressful for them with flight delays and subsequent changes resulting in a much delayed arrival. But they are here, and their luggage is as well.
Tomorrow is an very full, eventful day starting at 8:45 AM. So earlier to bed tonight and much earlier to rise in the morning.
Check back here tomorrow. Later! 🙂