Being a tourist again - wonderful
Barcelona Travel Blog› entry 2 of 3 › view all entries
Next Morning we started pretty late from the hotel; we had been up talking for a while the night before and managed to talk us through a bottle of pink champagne, which is not the worst you can do in Barcelona. We started to walk towards our first target; La Ramble. We walked down the busy Avinguda de Parallel and enjoyed the buildings and some of the small cafés, but it got even better when we went down the Carrer de Sant Pau. On the corner there was a wonderful little café where it looked like the time had stood still since 1930 and I visited a little baker across the street and bought a lot of different small local things just to test. We walked by the church or monastery of Sant Pau del Camp that in Catalan stands for "Saint Paul of the countryside" or "of the field".
The church is the oldest church in Barcelona and while the monastery now sits within the El Raval barrio of central Barcelona, it once sat outside the city; and it was it's rural location that gave the church its name.
Walking the streets in this area is a true joy, you really feel that you are in Spain. We just laughed at two elderly guys meeting each other; and about twenty meters before they met, they started to talk to each others; very loud, no secrets here. They could not wait to talk until they were close to each others. This is the way it is and this is what I love. I guess very few Danes would do this, but it is a lesson in life, we are so closed.
The streets in this area are full of hookers and players, but it is a fun neighbourhood; we were at one point walking behind a group of police men patrolling the streets in area and the number of remarks they got from the inhabitants and the loose birds of the streets were remarkable.
We crossed La Rambla and walked into Barre Gotic and enjoyed the small and narrow streets that both gave us shade and kept a nice temperature. There are so many things to enjoy walking these streets and one the things Babs had put on the agenda was a visit to Desingual, which is clothing chain that actually have some fabulous designs; especially for women. I don’t enjoy their male line that much, but the colours for women are just astonishing.
After some shopping and a further walk we ended in one of my favourite wine and tapas bars which is situated close to Carrer de Jaume I and Laietana and next the Metro station Jaume I. Here we soon after found ourselves sitting in the bar choosing one tapas after the other. I started the day with some pink cava while Babs had some cold water.
We continued our walk after the short lunch and continued on the other side of Laietana following Carrer de la Princesa; we didn’t have to walk long before we found some interesting small shops and a house with only one side!
It is amazing how many small and daring designer shops you find in these narrow streets. Babs quickly found some more things that she loved but she held back on the possible shopping spree, which I found pretty strong since they had so many nice things. We gave ourselves plenty of time to go into all the small shops we wanted to.
We walked slowly the small streets until we reached El barri de Sant Pere, which has its name after the monastery Sant Pere de les Puelles.
The church was built between 1329 and 1383, at the height of Catalonia's maritime and mercantile pre-eminence. It is an impressive church especially from the inside; you don’t really see the full beauty from outside. It is an outstanding example of Catalan Gothic, with a purity and unity of style that are very unusual in large mediaeval buildings.
At Placa del Fossar de les Moreres next to the church we enjoyed the buildings and all the possibilities to take nice pictures before heading back to the other side of Laietana again. I wanted us to walk towards the cathedral because I love the square and the small streets getting there.
We walked towards the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia or also called La Seu. The cathedral was constructed throughout the 13th to 15th centuries on top of a former Visi-gothic church. The neo-Gothic façade is from the 19th century. The cathedral is dedicated to Eulalia of Barcelona, co-patron saint of Barcelona, a young virgin who, according to Catholic tradition, suffered martyrdom during Roman times in Barcelona. One story is that she was exposed naked in the public square and a miraculous snowfall in mid-spring covered her nudity. I wonder where they get these good stories from. There are a lot of stories based on naked women in history!
The enraged Romans put her into a barrel with knives stuck into it and rolled it down a street; according to tradition, the one now called 'Baixada de Santa Eulalia'.
From the square we walked towards the little square at Carrer dels Capellans where there was a small market with some local handicrafts and dried fruits and honey. We walked around a bit but after a while we walked into the galleria in the right corner of the market. The galleria had not really anything to offer, so we took a sharp left at Carrer de Montsio and walked back to the Rambla.
From the Rambla we wanted to walk some more small streets, so we walked down towards the water via the smallest and most narrow streets we could find. Down by the water we returned again towards Placa Reial.
Once at the hotel we decided to go out and eat around 9 pm and we therefore took it easy for a couple of hours! I was happy to rest my legs after almost 7 hours of walking.
We had not booked any place for the evening; the goal was to find something down by the harbour. We left the hotel entrance and expected it to be as easy as the day before to get a taxi but after 10-15 min we gave up and I asked the hotel to get us one. The taxi arrived shortly after. We, well Babs asked where to go and eat and he recommended Salamanca with I had talked about before we went down to Barcelona.
Last year I had been to their restaurant in Almirall Cervera, but I knew that they also had a huge place down at the harbour but I had never been there.
The first thing we noticed was how large it was; there were at least 500 seats and it was run as a factory. We laughed at it and especially at the waiters running with one or max two plates at the time, and usually empty on their way back to the kitchen; there were processes to be optimized for sure. There was a shouting coing on between the waiters; who to do this and that and we both felt like we landed in a Pedro Almodóvar Caballero or Federico Fellini movie; it was fantastic, just what I wanted.
Our waiter was a chapter of his own. The poor guy was in over his head that was for sure. He was quite long about making our table and after that he forgot about us for a while.
He quickly arrived with the white wine and a chilling bucket; every time he came to the table, he loudly mentioned his next step; glasses! Then he came back with glasses; Starters! Then he came back with starters; open wine! He came back and opened the wine. So it went on until we had almost everything except what we needed to get first; our cava and knives and forks!! He was like something taken out of Faulty Towers with John Cleese!
He kept on behaving like this most of the evening also on the other tables, until it got a bit quieter after midnight. In the end he was much more relaxed and really sweet, as soon as people were starting to leave.
We had a good meal but we were both sad to see how much oil they filled on every dish. It was just too much; you could run a car from Barcelona to Madrid on just one dish! The dishes would have been so much nicer if they had held back on the oil pumps. For a desert I had a cava sorbet, and it was delicious; it was served as a drink, next time I could have more than one.
We left walking along all the restaurant, bars and discotheques along the harbour before taking a taxi back to the area of Santa Maria, where we were heading for the wine bar before it was closing this time.
When the bar closed we slowly walked to the Rambla and took a taxi back to the hotel from there. The day after was going to be a long walking day so we called it quits at around 2.30am.