After we went to bed yesterday around 4 p.m. I thought we would sleep through until this morning. Turns out Dan had very different plans. So around 9:00 p.m. he woke me up to announce that we had to get up and eat something. It was a violent wake up too, he was thrashing around trying to make enough motion and noise so that I would open my eyes. Anyway, we headed out to get some food. We stopped in at this little corner place, half underground where I was excited to order tapas. Dan on the other hand, got a pepperoni pizza. I order the patatas bravas, and was talked into the jamon (ham plate) by the waitress. She also asked me (in spanish, of course) if I wanted "croquettes" and I said no. I even did the universal sign for no (which is to wave your hands sternly at waist level.
Guess what I ended up with?
So, sitting there with my fried potatoes (Mom and Dad, think Maine breakfast potatoes) covered in a creamy, spicy, orange colored sauce, my smoked and cured plate of ham, and a plate of "croquettes" (which is apparently tomato smashed into a slice of french bread toasted with butter on top). Basically, enough food to feed a small country. I am gonna say I ate half of everything, but Dan will argue that point. Everything was delicious, but I definitely didn't order all of it. Dan finished his pizza and we strolled around a bit before heading back to the hotel. We watched some soccer for a while and then I read my book, took a bendryl and went to bed. I'd say it was about midnight.
We got a pretty late start on day 3. Latest start ever you might say, I'm embarrassed to say what time it was, so let's just move on. On the itinerary was the Las Ramblas area, and I wanted to catch a little art market in front of the Cathedral. Yes, that's actually what they call it, "la cathedral" like there is only one in town.
We stopped to have breakfast at a cute little place named Buenas Migas. We both ordered "flapjacks" which were actually part granola bar, part cookie bar and 100% amazing. They came with a cup of yogurt, and I bought a glass of the best lemonade I have ever tasted. The label on the juice explained that it was local, and you could taste the difference. Dan didn't like it all, said it was too tart, but come on, I used to eat lemons as a kid, so it was a dream come true. I will definitely get more before we leave. Anyway, breakfast was great and I find that I can make out most of what the waiters/cashiers keep telling us in Spanish. Which is nice, you know, to think that those 4 years of classroom Spanish weren't a complete waste. I speak to them in English and they just talk back at me in Spanish.
Before long we had walked down to the Cathedral and seen that the art market was actually an "antiques" market... or better yet, a very very expensive flea market with a ton of old junk. After my experience at Brimfield last Sunday, I had no interest at all. Besides, it was time to learn about the history of Barcelona inside the Museum of the City.
This was actually really cool, and took up a pretty good chunk of time. The exhibits started with he first settlers of the area around Bareclona, Montejuic. These were Iberian people who nestled in the hills around the current port/city area. Slowly the city grew for about 500 years until it was invaded by Rome during the course of the Roman war against Carthage around 218 BC. With the Roman soliders came the Roman way of life, communication with the outside world and Latin. "Barcelona" as it is known today was really born when Emperor Augustus settled Barcino between 15 and 10 BC.
About 90% of the Museum was dedicated to explaining the Roman civilization of Barcino, since the excavated city was on display a few levels beneath the museum. It was pretty cool walking around the old Roman city, being able to touch some of the stone works that have been in place for over 2000 years. Dan even admitted that it was interesting. The only thing that I thought was strange about the whole excavated part, was that the museum admitted that it had used some materials to reconstruct the area that were parts of different areas during slightly different time periods. In some of my pictures you can see "plaques" or carved stones, just randomly stacked into a pile of rocks to make a wall. That seems very strange to me, like they are cheating or something. I guess I am just a purist.
The strangest part, however, was when the middle ages hit Barcelona and the English part of the tour just abruptly ended. No audio tour, no translations. Just the middle ages in Barcelona... in Spanish and Catalan. So we strolled through the remaining artifacts, and ended in a church (not the Cathedral) but a whole different church that is obviously no longer in use. Anyway then we walked out onto the streets to see a mass of children paying soccer in a plaza. Backpacks were laid down to mark the goal. They are seriously obsessed with soccer over here!
After a very long time in the museum, we walked over to Las Ramblas, which is the real center of the city, but also the center of tourism I would guess, because there were tacky little touristy shops everywhere carrying FC Barcelona scarfs and shot glasses and post cards, etc. We just strolled along and took it all in, ended up down at Port Vell. I had in my itinerary that we wouldn't go to Port Vell until tomorrow before the cruise left, but we walked around anyway, looking at boats and people, etc. There were a ton of people sitting around feeding fish and seagulls. It was such a feeding frenzy among the fish that it sounded like someone has installed a hot tub and turned on the jets to full blast. Water was splashing all over the place. Same thing with the seagulls, all squawking like crazy.
As we walked along the water, we someone managed to get ourselves in a VIP area of the Audi sailing cup of Barcelona. The competitors all had their boats lined up, people were getting interviewed for tv. And there we were, stuck in the middle while guards were standing at gates not letting other people in. Luckily, we managed to escape because I was hungry. We sat down at a little cafe along the water and split a chicken sandwich. Dan had a beer, I had a coke made with real sugar, not corn syrup. Tasted exactly the same though.
Right before we got back to the hotel, we stopped at a corner store for Dan to buy some Budweiser. I said I would drink one, but when we got back to the hotel, the sun was setting and I wanted to check out the rooftop area. So we went up (beers in the backpack, just like Brussels) only to find a bar when we got there. So Dan ordered us two beers, but I decided I wanted sangria instead. Again the language barrier ended up costing me a few euro. Within 5 minutes the bartender had delivered a small pitcher of sangria with two glasses. Knowing I was in over my head, I had to recruit some help. So Dan ended up drinking half, and I drank had (though he claims he had more). Turned out to be 5 glasses worth of sangria, costing 16 euro. As you might imagine, Dan was not pleased with me. We talked about the dogs and his softball league and what he would have done if he was in charge of planning the honeymoon instead of me; which really turns out to be nothing - he claims he would have either a. not had time or b. forgotten to plan something. Though I am pretty sure that after we paid for my pitcher of sangria, he silently vowed to never leave me in charge of vacations ever again.
As we returned to the room, he took out the Budweiser to punish me. He told me that I said I would drink one, so I had to. That bring us to now. Tomorrow we get on the boat, and we have to check out by 11 a.m., which means we have to get up a substantial amount earlier than today. So it's about 10 p.m local time, but its time to shower and go to bed.
pictures, day 3. The route we walked....