10 Septiembre (Viernes) - My poor toe is very black today, but feels a lot better.
Robb went out to check on the place he wants to have his jeans altered. It was open today, but the woman who does the alterations was not there. He has to go back Monday. We stopped at a Regals i LLares (variety store) and bought some napkins. Then we stopped at a wine store and bought a botella (bottle) of red wine. On the way back to the apartment, we passed an interesting looking restaurant and decided go back for lunch.
Robb had lunch at La Taverna d'en Pep, a tiny little place with only nine tables (though I think they have another room in the back). I just had a glass of wine. I finally learned why people are still smoking inside when we both thought it was illegal - it's not. The law will not take affect until January of 2011.
While Robb was eating, a young couple came in. We heard them ask the waiter to speak either French or English, but when they were talking to each other, we didn't recognize the language they were speaking. Since they had asked the waiter to speak French, I assumed they were French and I asked the girl (in French) where they were from. She replied they were from New York. It turns out they are both French. She from Marseille and he from Toulouse, but they live (and met) in New York.
We liked the place a lot and will undoubtedly return for dinner one night.
After lunch, we walked up to Passeig de Joan de Borbó and caught the 59 bus. We rode it to the end and along the way saw much of Barcelona that we hadn't yet seen. There were a couple of places to which we definitely would like to return.
Speaking of returning, we returned to La Taverna d'en Pep, I was wrong about more tables in the back...nine was it. Dinner started with a very nice cava. The meal started with a great salad of endive, lettuce (several different kinds), onions, cucumbers and olives, which we shared. The main course (which we also shared) was barely cooked veal with foie (fat, not foie gras) and onions. Robb had dessert, somethig they called a mojita, but it wasn't a drink, it was an ice cream dish made with the same ingredients.
We walked down to La Taverna d'en Pep to get Robb's hat that he left there last night, after which we walked up to Passeig de Joan de Borbó. It was our intention to take a bus ride, but every one that pulled up was crowded, so we hailed a taxi (something easily accomplished in Barcelona) and rode to the Sagrada Familia (the Wikipedia article). Robb really wanted to see La Pedrera, the equally famous apartment building which used to be called Casa Mila, but the driver talked him into going to the church. On the way, we passed the Plaza de Toros Monumental (the bullring in which they no longer hold bull fights). I know Gaudi's moumental work is very famous, but it's pretty obvious from whence the word 'gaudy' arose.
After checking out the Sagrada Familia, which Robb thought was beautiful, we walked around the area checking out the bazillion or so T-shirt shops because Robb wants one that says "Jo 'heart'Barcelona" and not "I 'heart' Barcelona". We know they exist, because we've seen one (and only one), but we had no luck finding it.
We gave up our quest and boarded a bus to return to the apartment, but as we were riding along, I saw we were approaching the Arc de Triomf, where there was some sort of liberation fest going on today, so we got off and I got a shot of that.
None of the busses seemed to be going where we wanted to go so we hailed a taxi. Somehow, the driver got lost and drove past our street. I had to tell him he was going the wrong way. The good news is that he didn't charge us for the extra distance. We've noticed the taxi drivers here do not even try to rip you off, and they frequently point out things of interest we might have not even noticed.
Dinner at Restaurant Peru on the Borbó. Our second chance at paella and it was so much better than the first. It's still a pain in the butt to eat because they don't take the shells off the shellfish, but if you don't mind that, it's excellent. We might have sat outside, but there was quite a cool breeze from the sea, so we sat inside where we could look outside. Along with the paella, we also had mejillones (mussels) and a botella de tinto vino (bottle of red wine) and the bill was still less than we paid for one paella at the rip-off place the other night.
After dinner, we strolled across the street to walk along the marina I love the lights there. After a while, it got rather chilly and we both needed a pit stop, so we walked to Plaça de la Barceloneta, sat for a few minutes, then made our way home.
12 Septiembre (Domingo) - A very interesting day. Around noon, we walked up to the little store up the street, bought leche (milk) and lava vajillas (dish detergent - appropriately named) and took them back to the apartment.
Then we walked down to Segons Mercat, where we had intended to sit at a sidewalk table, but the stink was too much and we sat inside. It doesn't seem to be true in any other part of the city to which we've been, but there is a nasty smell that pervades the whole of the Barceloneta (luckily not inside). I think it's either from the water (they do wash the streets almost every day) or they have a terrible sewage problem. Anyway, I wasn't really hungry, so I just had a glass of red wine. Robb ordered a dish of Serrano ham and wine. The waitress brought him a little basket of bread, which I made the mistake of tasting. I swear, it is the best tasting bread I have ever eaten in my life. I told her so and asked her to bring more. I decided the bread and wine must have cheese and ordered a small plate. The cheese she brought was swimming in olive oil. I don't know if you're aware, but Spain has the best olive oil in the world. I became fully aware of that fact when I dipped my bread into it, which I normally would not do.
After our brief repast, we walked over to the beach (something we never do in Fort Lauderdale), passing what will probably be our destination for dinner tonight, another tiny place named Como, and a building that could almost be covered in a mural (I hope you can see the detail in the picture).
We had to walk though the Centre Commercial (we discovered there really is such a place) and stopped at a clothing store named Otica Moda. I came within seconds of buying yet another jacket, but fortunately they didn't have my size. Robb, however, found a really nice pair of jeans.
We continued our trek to the beach, finally finding a somewhat shady bench upon which to sit. You can see it was very crowded. A few minutes later, a guy rode up on a bike and just left it unattended on the boardwalk. I had barely remarked to Robb what a dumb thing that was to do, when I saw the guy running back to the bike carrying a backback. A girl was running after him and was joined by another bather, both shouting at the bike guy. Apparently, he had just walked onto the beach, grabbed her backpack and was about to make his getaway. His theft was successful and he had disappeared into the beach crowd within minutes.
We were supposed to be going to Como, but we ended up at Chito's. Whatever it was, it was great. We had Pulpo de la Casa (Octopus), Olivas (Olives) and Caracoles (Escargots-Snails). It was all fantastic. We started with red wine but ended up drinking white wine as recommended by the very cute waiter. Everything was great.
Around 22h00, I went out for a breath of fresh air, and found Susan making her way toward the restaurant. She joined us, had a bit to eat and caught us up on what she's been up to since we last saw her.
You can see all the Barcelona pictures here: Barcelona