May 7, 2018
Today was previously forecast to be rainy, but in checking the weather this morning, we found that no rain was predicted until later in the day, Yippee! I made a conscious effort to dress like a tourist is shorts, tank top and sweatshirt – and boy, was I so Happy that I did!!! Bill purposefully chose to “keep with the European look” in wearing his jeans and he was very sorry he did. Ha!
We had breakfast at “The Benedict” in a beautifully appointed, classic old building, another spot from the research department of Billfish Denman. Bill loves a good eggs Benedict and he got one today! I had an omelette with a spicy black bean purée and seasoned pork that was melt-in-my-mouth tender!! Surely any weight I may have lost with the walking-many-miles-a-day-and-living-out-of-a-backpack regimen have been gained back since Hubby appeared on the scene and started wining and dining me… Good thing we are still walking a fair quantity here in Barcelona.
After breakfast we eased the strain of our bellies by walking over to the Eixample Neighborhood. On our way there we decided to check out a grandé park that we had seen on the map – Parc de la Ciutadella. The parks are always a favorite discovery of mine when I travel. Locals will be out walking their dogs, taking exercise, visiting, relaxing, strolling – it’s a respite from the busy tourist attractions and always a treasured different perspective.
In our meandering we came upon The Arc De Triomf – a “tourist attraction” for sure, but we were of but a few staring and snapping photos!! Winning!!
We continued walking on to one of our predetermined destinations, what is referred to as the “Block of Discord”. We knew before we were there that we were getting close given the crowd of people gathered. Ultimately we saw eye catching architecture while looking up and knew that we had arrived at addresses 35, 41 and 43 Passeig de Gracia.
Between the years 1898 and 1906 three of the era’s most important local, modernist architects took existing buildings on the block and refurbished them in extremely dissimilar visions and contrasting styles, earning the street its moniker. I have heard and read so much since doing this same walk by last year and It is probably worth paying the admission fees to go into each individual home, but those lines… As is par for our course, we stayed on the outside looking in and felt okay about that for the sake of our sanity.
We walked and walked and walked and finally decided we could justify another meal and headed into Mercat de Santa Caterina, one of the specific targets on our radar today. This is an open air market, with a very cool, modernistic roofline and booths and booths of seemingly EVERYTHING!!! Meats, cheeses, vegetables, spices, sweets, seafood, a multitude of dehydrated items, coffees and teas – a feast for the eyes at a minimum. It is easily close to or maybe even as big as the popular La Boqueria on La Rambla, but not nearly as crowded. We sidled up to the bar at La Torna, and watched them prepare our food. “Ensalada de queso de cabra” and a glass of Moritz beer, for Bill (goat cheese salad with a 5″ round of cheese in the middle) and I had the “Verduras a la plancha” (grilled mixed vegetables) which had me proclaiming the mantra, “yum, yum, yum, yum, yum” with every bite!!!
And as the day had turned gorgeous and since we had the time, we waddled back to the hotel so that Bill could ditch his Levi’s and dawn his tourista shorts and headed out again in search of The Beach!! And I am happy to say that we found it!! Honestly, once close and in the right latitude and longitude, it’s hard to miss the miles and miles of the beaches.
We walked quite a long ways, taking in the marine views, people watching, marveling at the enterprise of the vendors and restaurateurs, relishing the warmth of the sun on our skin and seeking out the “perfect” spot to plop ourselves down. I am happy to say that we found that, too! Also pretty impossible to screw up with the endless choices of sandy seating.
Barcelona Beach time – what a blissful way to spend the afternoon!!!
I think we both would have been satisfied to call it a day, but we had dinner reservations at a swanky uptown restaurant, 9 Nine, and basically walked back over some of the same mileage as earlier in the day to get there once we reluctantly “freshened up”.
It was a delicious, prix fixe meal and we managed to extend it and our bottle of wine out for a couple of hours. The food was fresh, delicious and perfectly prepared. We had “pan con tomate” (toast with tomato), “mejillones” (mussels) and “langostinos” (prawns) to start. For entrees I had a white fish served whole and Bill had a steak. Dessert was apple crisp!
Again, it was nice to end the evening with a mile plus walk home so as not to go to bed popping at the seams!!! We put in just shy of thirteen miles on foot today!!! Time to rest the peds!!