I am officially back in Tübingen (for at least the next few weeks), and I’m hoping that writing this post at my familiar desk, surrounded by heaps of laundry, unread books, and a grocery list a mile long will kick me out of vacation mode and into high gear. We’ll see.
Gwen and I arrived in Barcelona last Wednesday evening and managed to make our way to the hostel with no major issues. We checked into our room and then headed out for a late Spanish-style dinner at Maitea, a tapas bar about a thirty minute walk from the hostel. All of the tapas there are served on slices of baguette; some are warm and some are cold, but they are all the same price (1.50 euros). A few of our favorites were the goat cheese, black currant jelly, and prosciutto one, or the one with a slice of spanish tortilla (omelette with potato and onion) on top. Around eleven, we called it an early night (which seemed to be a common theme throughout our trip) and rested up for our first full day in Spain.
Thursday morning, we headed for the famous main street, La Rambla, with our guidebook in tow and an idea of some of the sights we could see in downtown Barcelona. The first of those was La Boquería market, where we enjoyed smoothies and a pastry as we wandered down the pathways through the stalls along with about 700 other tourists and locals. The smells were intense and often conflicting--a sweet and savory crepe stand across from a woman selling fresh mussels and squid, for example, or huge legs of smoked pork (literally legs . . . they still had hooves attached) swinging dangerously close to a display of delicious-looking truffles and other assorted chocolates. Gwen, who is a recovering vegetarian, paled at the stands laden with tripe and pigs’ heads, and I have to admit that I walked a bit quicker past those ones as well.
Since the weather was so beautiful and you never know how long that might last, we spent Friday in Sitges, which is an idyllic beachside town about forty minutes outside of the city. The fine sand and bright blue water were exactly what we needed (the accompanying sunburns less so), and some frozen yogurt with kiwi, mango, and dark chocolate sauce from Llao Llao (which our very helpful Spanish server, Miguel, told us means ‘yummy’ in Argentina) really hit the spot. We loved Sitges so much that we knew we had to come back, so we returned to Barcelona with a few full days of sightseeing in mind to ensure that we’d have the time to do just that.
Inside the basilica at Montserrat:
Gwen and me at the top of Parc Güell:
Gwen pouring herself some sangria:
Pi love in the subway station: