Saturday, April 25, 2009

Barcelona: Day 3 - Let's See What This City Has To Offer

We covered quite a bit of ground making our way through the city. Our first stop was the market for breakfast. After that, we wandered through the older section of the city, Ciutat Vella, which still maintains its stone buildings, narrow streets, and various plazas. In one of the plazas, we encountered a wedding party, and in another, a church under rehabilitation (prominently sponsored by the local telecommunications company). Eventually, we ended up at Parc De La Ciutadella.

A short stroll later, we were at the Arc De Triomf and the Placa de Catalunya, both of which were teeming with activity. Although we had an 8-course lunch coming up, I wanted to grab some caffeine, so we stopped into a small cafe for cokes. We had been warned that this touristy area would have high prices for things, but nothing prepared me for our bill of nearly 10 Euros for our two sodas!

Lunch was quite an event: we went to a fancy restaurant and had an 8-course tasting menu. Everything was very good, starting with a mussel and asparagus dish and ending with a nice almond, chocolate and macadamia nut dessert. Some highlights in between included a turbot dish and some foie gras.

Full and content, we continued our ambitious sightseeing for the day. We took in a few nearby buildings designed by Gaudi before heading up to La Sagrada Famillia. This church was designed and started by Gaudi, but it's not yet complete. The plan is to finish it before about 2019, which will be 100 years since construction began. One side is a bit whimsical, looking like melting wax, and the other side is much more traditional. It was quite an interesting site, and I'm glad we had a chance to go see it.

That evening, Jon wasn't feeling well, so while he rested at the hotel, I took a walk over to La Barceloneta, which is another coastal area not far from where we were staying. It's a very nice seaside location, and I enjoyed taking in the sights before attempting to find some food to take back to the hotel. I entered a restaurant where I was successful in ordering two ham sandwiches with my limited Spanish, but the problem came when I wanted to get them to go. I tried "to go" and "to take away" in English to no avail. Finally, I used French, explaining "you make the food here, and then I eat it at my house." To this, the waitress responded "Ah, bien sur!" (Of course!). Sandwiches in hand, I returned to the hotel where we ate and turned in for the night.

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