Day 9: Barcelona

The last few days we’ve been getting going around 11 am which is when we’d get something for breakfast and a coffee. That wasn’t working too well for me since I wake up pretty early. So this morning, Sandy and I left Mom sleeping and we went to a small bakery for breakfast and coffee and brought back something for Mom. That was a way better start to the day for me! Here’s what I had. It’s something called an ensaimada, and there is nothing like it in the US that I’ve ever found.

Cafe con leche y una ensaimada

I should also note that I’m not posting as many pictures as I may have in the past. I ran out of memory a while ago and had to delete a lot of photos, so I’m trying not to overwhelm my storage!

Today, our little trio headed out to La Rambla and made a stop at La Boqueria market, where my grandmother used to go (she’d take a streetcar) to buy the fish she would cook. Now it’s a bustling tourist destination with throngs of people. But it’s still very cool to see all the areas with the local vendors selling meat, fish, fruit, spices, eggs, chicken, etc. After that we stopped at la Font de Canaletes to drink from it to ensure we would return to Barcelona.

We turned right at the top of La Rambla and make a quick stop at Planelles Donat so my mom could have an horchata. While she drank it, Sandy & I had a scoop of gelato. Yum! Then we went to El Corte Ingles, which is a big department store – my mom was looking for contemporary Spanish novels – but that ECI was just clothing and electronics. There’s another location that is bigger, but she didn’t feel like going there. However, as we made our way back to the hotel, we saw an old bookstore called Libreria Pompeia in the Gothic Quarter and went in. I’m so glad we did! The woman running the store was celebrating 100 years since her grandparents had opened it! She and my mom spoke in Catalan and she helped my mom find a book she wanted. Plus Sandy & I each bought another Miquelruis notebook and new pens. Here’s the lovely way this proprietor gave me my notebook after I’d purchased it. No little bag, just a simple wrapping. This is old school, and I love it. The little pink thing is a tiny straight-edge and ruler.

Wrapped notebook

After a couple canas (that ‘n’ should be the one with the squiggle mark on top!) with Sandy at the garden bar, it was time to meet up with some of the family. My cousin, Sonia, was bringing her daughter, Nicole, and her mom, Nuri, to take us to lunch. We met at a restaurant called Los Caracoles. It is another old restaurant in the Gothic Quarter (est. in 1835, although Can Culleretes where we ate yesterday was est. in 1786!) and is very cool inside. I had the menu del dia with the first course being macarrones and the second course being a steak. For dessert, mandarin sorbet. We drank white wine. It was a good meal, but it’s hard to beat what we had yesterday 🙂

La familia at Los Caracoles

Then we walked to Placa Reial and took some photos, then we all went back to the garden bar to visit some more. They needed to leave by seven because Nicole had a dance class to attend. As we were getting ready to go, Nicole noticed the TV and saw that there was a parade starting in the city center to celebrate FCB (Futball Club Barcelona or Barca) winning the league championship! They had to hurry before they would be blocked from driving up La Rambla! So Nicole and Sonia ran to get the car, and we walked with Nuri to the sidewalk (same place where Sonia had dropped us off last week), and had to, unfortunately, hurry our goodbyes, at least to Nuri, since we wouldn’t be seeing her again.

Nuri y Josefa

Not too long after, Nicole sent a video of the goings-on in Placa Catalunya, and when they got home, Sonia messaged us that if they’d left even five minutes later, they wouldn’t have been able to drive through. Wow.

A bit later, our trio went to get churros y chocolate – a yummy treat! Now we’re back relaxing in the room. It’s sometimes hard to know or remember to also rest while you’re vacationing! I think we’re striking a very good balance. Tomorrow is the day for the hop-on/hop-off bus tour around the city where we’ll get a chance to see so much more of Barcelona beyond what is in this area we’re in. I’m excited!

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