Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Taste of Barcelona

Jordy and Kristina
A few weeks ago Chris was speaking to a man at the Hamilton air show who mentioned that his daughter lived in Barcelona. Chris told him we were going to be visiting Barcelona soon and the man said that his daughter and her husband were actually visiting and called her over to speak with Chris. I have been emailing with Kristina since then and she has been a wealth of information. She and her husband Jordy met us down the street from our hotel in front of the opera and took us on a fantastic little walk around the area. Jordy is a native of Barcelona and has a very cute accent with a wonderful inflection. He told us that he learned to speak English in Amsterdam and that he and Kristina were "introduced" via their best friends who began dating when they attended school in Scotland. After a brief email and web relationship Jordy showed up in Canada, which he finds far too dreary and cold, and Kristina eventually came to live in Barcelona. That was some six years ago.

Kristina, Jordy and Chris after a few Sangria!
Jordy and Kristina took us for tapas first! Tapas are a bit difficult to explain because they could be just about anything and I suppose someone may call them appetizers or finger foods, but I am showing my ignorance because in Spain they are iconic. Eaten while imbibing, one legend has it that an ancient king, while traveling, was given a goblet of wine with a slice of ham slapped on top to keep the flies out. He liked this "tapa" (or lid) so much that it became iconic in Spanish drinking establishments. Apparently at one point in the not too distant past, tapas would have been complimentary while drinking but now tapas are advertised relentlessly the touristo will pay. There are range of tapa places, and a range of prices!

After some debate about whether we wanted fish based tapas, fried tapas, tapas from a certain region and so on,our Spanish ambassadors took us to a nice little place in an area called le Borne. This was a smaller place and the tapas were like little works of art piled onto a slice of crusty breads. They rested on dishes lining the glass countertop and were held together with very tiny toothpicks. You are given a plate and choose your own tapas. Once you are finished you pay by the toothpick. I hate to admit it, by I actually had more toothpicks then anyone else so I moved some over to Chris' plate. These tapas were €1.80 per toothpick but I saw places where you would pay quite a bit more!

The next stop for us with was a very charming little bar with a bit of a fantasy, Lord of the Rings feel. Chris saidnit reminded him of the rain forest cafe and at one point, when thunder erupted, I definitely agreed. We were treated to our first taste of Sangria by our hosts and quickly followed this very refreshing drink with a second jug! Jordy and Kristina said they would send us their favorite recipe for sangria and Chris is pretty stoked about getting home and getting some jugs out!

I must say Chris and I were holding up pretty good. I figure jet lag isn't so bad for Chris since years of shift work has totally messed with any natural sleep tendencies!

We ambled along las Rambla and ventured into a very crowded market where we stocked up on wine, pop and water for the cruise. With Jordy's advice we came away with some very decent reds for €4 or €5 and a more suspect bottle of white for less then €2. Man, are we taxed to death at home on alcohol!

We headed back to our room and parted way with our new friends. These two have really managed to make a great start to our vacation and we couldn't thank them enough.

Chris and I headed out again at about 8:30 and took another very long stroll then stopped for some paella, a rice fishy, meaty kind of dish very common in Spain, and then headed back to our hotel for a much needed sleep.

The hotel is just off the Rambla on Carme and is called Hotel Curious. The rooms are small but very modern and clean...these are the important parts. The staff have been very helpful and there is even a tiny lift. Very good hotel for the area but you do pay for the convenience. Breakfast is included and I have been sitting here nibbling away while I wait for Chris. Time to go wake him up so that we can see a bit more of the city before we head off for the cruise ship this afternoon!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I would love to hear from you!