Catalunya or Catalonia or Cataluña? I’m going with Catalunya for the next few posts in honor of the beautiful language Catalan (or I guess I should say Català) even though I can only say a few things in Catalan. Spanish is enough to keep me occupied…
So here we were in Barcelona the day after the big celebration (some of the guys’ friends were also in town & they reported moving 2 blocks in 2 hours on Passeig de Gràcia with a flood of people wrapped in yellow and red flags). Ruben left us in Nice, as he had a wedding to attend in Hawaii, but the rest of us made it safely to Spain. My original plan was to tag along with the boys until Madrid but somehow I became a volunteer tour guide for my parents and my aunt and uncle who wanted to visit Spain. So Barcelona was where our merry band broke up and we went our separate ways. The guys would stay in BCN for a couple of days and then move on to Madrid while I continued on to Andalucía and then to Portugal with my family.
I had one day to myself before my birthday extravaganza/ European holiday officially ended and “work” began. It was my third visit to Barcelona, with my last time being less than two years ago with Paula. I had so much fun here with Paula that I didn’t post a single blog while we were here in 2010. I do have a ton of photos from that trip so I will be using some of them this time around. Since I spent close to a week exploring this city not too long ago, a lot of the streets and places were familiar to me still. I was resigned to the fact that I would be going to some of the attractions again but I was determined not repeat the same restaurants. I worried about managing expectations and making everyone happy, especially given the age of my four seniors (66 to 83 yrs old). But I tried to put that way in the back of my brain and enjoy the day I had.
On my last trip to Barcelona Paula and I had the privilege of dining at Pinotxo, chatting and laughing half the day away with the one and only Juanito at La Boqueria. I would have gone back for another meal there but I just had to try a different place at the market. I thought the chance of getting 6 people seated around the counter was slim to none when my family arrived so the tiny El Quim was on my agenda this morning. Peter was meeting up with a friend of his so it was just Kevin and me for breakfast at El Quim at the market.
We were lucky to snag two seats right away at El Quim and having studied the menu in advance (I was really looking forward to this place), I knew what I wanted (almost everything). All I saw around the counter were smiling faces of satisfied customers and soon I was able to join them as well. I skipped having coffee and ordered a glass of cava for the occasion. Cava for breakfast at 10AM? Yes, I did (Paula and I drank a whole bottle at Pinotxo the last time. Wish you were with me this time, PW!) We sent photos of our food to Peter to make him jealous and dived in. It’s amazing how they can churn out the kind of food they do at El Quim given the tight space and limited equipment. We went pretty simple- wild mushrooms, jamon Iberico, and eggs with foie.
I wish I had room for baby squid over eggs, oxtail stew, prawns in cava reduction, and so much more. But stuffed and happy we stumbled out to the sunny Rambla and waddled down towards the waterfront. It was Kevin’s first time in Barcelona so we walked all the way down and back up through the Gothic Quarters to return.
In hindsight, I should have used my free time to finally visit Fundació Joan Miró up in Montjuïc in the afternoon. But instead I went to the fitness center to work out for the first time in several weeks and just relaxed the rest of the day away.
What turned out to be our last evening together, the guys and I met up for dinner. But first, we went to Banker’s Bar at their hotel for drinks and some nibbles. Well, that’s what I did at least. The guys were busy with other very important things to mind their drinks. While I sat back with my glass of cava, their attention was on… a group of hot girls at the bar? No. They were all staring at their respective phones and tablets, and talking in hushed voices. It was after all, September 12, the day Apple unveiled the new iphone 5. As soon as Apple announced this date (we were in Tuscany then), the guys told me that they will need to have a “pre-order” party on September 12 in Barcelona (release date set for September 21). True to their words, there they were, huddled around a low lounge table at the Mandarin Oriental, intently reading about all the new features and thinking ahead to the exact date they would take delivery of their iphone 5s. They seemed so excited. I get it. They live for this stuff but me? I was happy with my glass of cava.
In all honesty, I really wanted to go to Quimet & Quimet for dinner since I wouldn’t be able to do that with my family coming the next day. But that’ll just have to wait for my next visit just like Fundació Joan Miró. I’m glad I got to spend more time with the guys and share another meal together. Thank you boys for a fun time and for letting this old lady come along. The next two weeks were dedicated to my seniors- let the fun begin!
El Quim de la Boqueria: La Rambla, 91 Barcelona
Fundació Joan Miró: Avenida de Miramar, s/n, Barcelona, Spain
Quimet & Quimet: Carrer de la Poeta Cabanyes (Calle Poeta Cabanas), 25, Barcelona, Spain