Day Eighty (octogesimo dia)
One thing about being in Spain (and acknowledging my lack of Spanish) is I feel more confident in my Portuguese. I have often been struck with the thought “I don’t know how to say that in Spanish…but I know how to say it in Portuguese!”. Luckily, everyone here speaks English, or enough English that we can. Except for our waitress at the Magic Wall.
We got up around 10:00am, got ready, and headed out to Parc Guell at the top of the city (after hitting the cafe next door, of course). We took the Metro about 6 stops from Mercat de St. Antoni and then walked another kilometer to the public park. It is up San-Francisco-like-hills which are fully equipped with escalators (again). This time, we used them. In this park, in addition to breathtaking above-the-city views, there were several Indians selling trinkets—magnets, bracelets, earrings, keychains. One of them asked where I hailed from while I was admiring his faux-Turquoise bracelets. I told him the States and he replied “Oh, I thought you were from Italy”. I know he was just trying to con me, but I was flattered nonetheless.
We walked in and up as far as we possibly could, taking selfies along the way.
We didn’t pay to get into the Natura Parc, nor did we pay to get into Antoni Gaudi’s house, but we took pictures from the outside of both.
The outside of the Natura Parc.
Antoni Gaudi’s house.
We saw a pitch, where some amateur teams were playing.
We could see La Sagrada Familia, the Agbar tower, and the Mediterranean.
We walked as high up as we could, past where the real trail ended and where hiking trails began.
On the way down, I took some more pictures of the old structures.
After we walked around for a few hours we made our way back to the hotel. On the way out, we saw this street band doing their thing. There was a blind man who was ready to party.
We walked back to the Metro and talked about snacking. Most of the (lower-end) restaurants in Barcelona cater to American tourists by placing pictures of their meals on poster boards outside.
I saw a few with gyros on our street and told John that I needed one. We got off the Metro one stop early so we could walk and look for one of these joints. We found out right outside our hotel (Bar Granja) and sat down to eat. We ordered a pitcher of Sangria for ten euros. John ordered a burger and I ordered my doner kebab off the Sharwarma menu. After we drank I got what I like to call Sangria Silly. Regardless, I’m pretty sure that the gyro was the best thing I’d ever eaten in my life. John said the completa burger con beicon rivaled a Pic-Nic burger. We paid 18 euro and walked across the street to our hotel.
Because we planned to walk back to Las Ramblas (and Cheers!) for the FC Barcelona game, we rested up and showered. We walked back to Las Ramblas, this time in the daylight. We found Cheers easily and it was totally empty.
I got a pint of San Miguel and at halftime (after many more, British-English speaking futbol lovers showed up) we ordered a tapas I had seen everywhere and wanted to try: John went to the bar and ordered in Spanish: “Patatas bravas, por favor?”, the bartender replied, “You want the spicy potatoes?” Yes, sir, we do.
They are like tater tots covered in a mildly-spicy ketchup-mayo-like mixture (at least at Cheers they are). They were delicious. Soon after FC Barcelona won 5-2 (Pedro had a hat-trick in under.eight.minutes.) the bartender asked us if it was “time to get drunk?”, having just woken up from my silly sangria haze, we replied in the negative. He brought us two shots anyways, on the house.
This is the second time we’ve been given free booze. After enjoying them and paying our bill, we went out to stroll Las Ramblas before dinner. Dinner tonight was paella at Cullera de Boix also off Las Ramblas, but I’ll get to that.
We strolled around looking at shops and peaking up and down alleyways. We found a large, outdoor market with men who were about to perform. Awwwww, breakdancers! Light of my life. John and I showed up as the were just getting ready to start, so we were in the “front row”. We watched the introductions, mostly guys from Barcelona and one guy, Johhny, from Puerto Rico. They asked us to scream and started playing MJ. The crowd was clapping along with the music when suddenly they stopped. Just like the Africans selling knock-off Chanel, they looked in one corner nervously. Once they were certain it was police officers they picked up their boombox and skirted off in the other direction. WHAT?! You can’t DANCE in PUBLIC here?! I was so aggravated. I can understand asking people for money, but they weren’t at that part yet. They were at the PERFORMING ARTS part. THAT’S illegal?! John said he knew I was upset because I “got loud”. I couldn’t flipping believe it—outrageous, Barcelona!!!
Yeahhhhhh, and that’s basically all that happened.
We walked onto our dinner destination. Again, because we eat like old people, we were the only ones in the restaurant. This time, we ordered the Sea and Mountain Paella which had chicken, pork ribs, squid, and crawfish. I will review all restaurants on TripAdvisor and Yelp (because they were incredibly helpful to us on this trip), but I was disappointed. John liked it, and the pork ribs were delicious. It took about 40 minutes (pretty typical for paella) and while we were waiting our waiter brought us two glasses of champagne (well, cava) on the house. Which was lovely.
I thought the paella itself was super oily. Our paella at Bosque Palermo (to.die.for) was greasy, but it was more buttery-deliciousness. This one was oily-greasy. I didn’t get any chicken. We still finished it. And like I said, John was totally satisfied.
I had high expectations after our first one, and after my doner kebab at lunch, really nothing could compete. I was worried the champagne would show up on our bill, but it did not.
Afterwards, even though I was super-full, I got a nutella crepe from a street-treat-cart. It was a little undercooked, and not nearly as good as the one we got outside of La Sagrada Familia (this one was like a chain, the other one was a soloist, clearly living out his dream expressed in the form of the perfect crepe). I ate more than half of it before I threw it away—I was so full.
When we got back to the hotel, the “full” feeling didn’t go away. As I do sometimes when I overeat (on occasion!!) I moan and whine and hope it will pass. I was so nauseous. I ended up in the bathroom for a while, getting rid of some of the squid-filled paella before passing out. Whether it was the nutella crepe and greasy paella, or the six hours of sangria-beer-shots-and-cava, I’m not sure. But I told John that the next day, even if I tell him I really, really, really want a crepe, not to let me get one.