|Random parade (with Mario in his
new shirt in foreground)
Saturday was a treat on several levels. On our way up La Rambla (it seems almost every journey anywhere takes you up, down or across that street), we ran into a parade. I'm not sure what it was about, but it was fun to watch.
After a quick breakfast, we stopped at three fabric stores recommended by a sewing friend who lives in the city. I bought two pieces of fabric at one of the shops, which mostly specialized in remnants. These were both deeply discounted because they were winter fabrics, but I won't get around to sewing them up until at least next year anyway, so I considered that a win/win.
|Arc de Triomf (with obligatory palm trees)
The comic book store was near the Arc de Triomf, which is at the head (or the foot?) of the Parc de la Ciutadella, so we had a wander through there, and wore ourselves out a bit. We decided it it was time for an early lunch. At a small place near the Arc de Triomf (which, by the way is totally different from Paris', being smaller, made of brick and altogether warmer), we had Spanish beer and seafood paella, our first of the trip. I can live without langoustines (or crawfish or crayfish or whatever you want to call them), but they're Mario's favorites. I think they're too much work for too little meat, personally. But it was delicious -- scallops and squid and tiny clams, and saffron threads everywhere. The most gorgeous color.
I'm not even sure what to say about Sagrada Familia. Gaudi has silenced me, scrambled my brains so that when I try to articulate what I saw, all I get, even a few days later, are fragments of brilliant color, rays of light from the ceiling like the fingers of god, those marvelous tree-form buttresses. Lots of photos, few words.
Three words that will pop into my head every time I think of that church: "Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!" Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you.
We were waiting in line for tickets, and there was a group of American girls in front of us. One of them was complaining about the combination of sun and her hangover, while another one wanted to know what Sagrada Familia was. The third told her it was a church, and then she asked what all the words were up on the front.
|You can see "Sanctus" (or Beetlejuice)
on the towers
"See? It says 'Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus,' up there."
Silence from the group, as they all considered the mystery. Finally one girl says, "I don't know what it means, but it must be important. They said it three times."
"Why is that important?"
"Well, anything you say three times is important. Think about Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice!"
|Crucifixion - over main entrance
More walking, more food. We ducked in for tapas when it started to rain, and I had another plate of my new favorite pimientos de padron (peppers cooked in olive oil with sea salt, dead simple and delicious). When the rain stopped, we started walking again, and found that the storm had left us with a gift.
We didn't get moving again until nearly 9, but that seemed okay. Somehow, we were hungry again. Is it the thought of such an abundance of food nearby that makes me constantly hungry? I won't be able to try everything before I leave, but my stomach is willing to try.
Before we left, we had a glass of wine and the last of the strawberries.
It was good that we started late -- we knew it would be even louder than the night before, because the Barcelona/Madrid football (soccer) match was that night, and we could only assume that everyone would either be celebrating or drowning their sorrows, equally loudly, and equally late. We decided to stay up late, out late and tire ourselves out to the point where we wouldn't hear it. (Besides, in addition to the corkscrew, our thoughtful host also provided earplugs!)
|Look at that light!
In the end, we stopped at a place called Colom (Columbus) very near our apartment. They were crowded, and the tables seemed to be speaking ten languages at once. Everyone looked happy, and the food smelled amazing. Also, there was no one out front trying to tempt us in. I don't like being herded, even if the food will be amazing. Let me look at the menu and make up my own mind.
More Spanish beer (Estrella Damm) for Mario, and my first sangria -- way better than anything I've had at home, less sweet but still fruity. Tapas: garlic olives, marinated anchovies (surprisingly good and nothing like those nasty salty pizza toppings), patatas bravas and some kind of spicy sausage.
|Angels on high - nativity side
of the church
|Modern stained glass - not always my thing,
but these colors!
|Rain on vacation = not always a bad thing