Thursday, July 6, 2017

Downtown Barcelona: June 30, 2017

Today we decided to wander around the city and visit some of the squares we saw on the way to the beach.  Here is some of the beautiful architecture.
It was really hot and humid, not unlike Florida or NC at this time of year.  Thankfully for us, most places in Barcelona have air conditioning !  I actually like the way it's done here though.  The AC is on, but it's just comfortable, not COLD like in most places you go in the states.

 The building in the background is currently an art museum.  When we first saw it we thought that it was an old Chateau, like in the movie "the count of Monticristo".  Our fantasy was ruined when we found out that it was really just a fancy building built for a big Spanish celebration about 20 years ago.  Still, it is beautiful !

 I imagined beautifully clad men and women walking these steps.

 At the top you can see the entire city stretched out before you, and the mountains in the distance !

 After walking around the city, we decided to try out the famous 'Tapas' that everyone talks about.  The word tapas just means "small portion" and so the idea is that you order a bunch of these small portions and share them while having drinks.  Well, the small portions are really TINY portions.  For instance when ordering scallops, I ordered one "unit" (for 3 euros) and received exactly ONE scallop.  There were all sorts of unusual things on the menu.  Pig's ears (real thing !) and a lot of other things I wasn't too keen on trying.  The menu was itself entertaining, so please get a good laugh by viewing it here.  We did try something new and
interesting, Quail thighs in Escabeche marinade.  They were pretty good, but not very filling.

We didn't try the pork jowls or some of the other "interesting" items.  We did have an arugula and mozzarella salad with mango dressing that was AMAZING.  In the end, we ate enough to feel satisfied, but it came with a large price tag ! 

Since we would be driving to Olot, in the morning, it was time for us to go to the airport to get the rental car.  Getting to the airport on the bus was no problem.  DRIVING back to our place with the car, well that was a nightmare !  Downtown Barcelona is full of huge 'round abouts'.  Some of them have other lanes of traffic going through them.  I couldn't figure out how to navigate them and several times we thought we were literally going to die.  Then there's the "exits".  There is a "highway" and there are small ramps that go straight up.  And there are side streets.  It is difficult to explain unless you see it, but suffice it to say we turned a 20 minute trip into a two hour ordeal.  One problem was that somehow we kept going around in circles.  Then, my phone died and we didn't have any way to navigate to our destination.  I pulled over into a neighborhood and tried to figure out what to do.  Apparently we were at the entrance to a tennis club.  A man, seeing that we were distraught, offered to help us.  It ended up that we went into the club with him and walked around until my phone charged up again.  Once we got back to the area where we were staying, it was VERY difficult to find a place to park the car.  I finally had to pay 21 euros to park the car overnight.  In retrospect, I would have been better off had I just gotten the car in the morning instead of the night before.--Lesson learned !

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