My first hint of this super giant “Frankenstorm” came at my doctor’s office on Friday. The woman at the reception desk told me to stay dry and I just thought she meant it was going to rain this weekend. I should have guessed something was up when I saw hundreds of people at the grocery store stocking up on canned goods and bread. Well, now I know that this hurricane is to be the craziest and largest hurricane to hit the U.S. in a long time, maybe ever. It certainly looks menacing. They say this storm will come up the coastline and make a left turn to hit more or less where we are. We’re a miles away from the coastline so we’re not evacuating but this thing is directly headed to us. It was awfully quiet in the neighborhood this morning when I went out for a jog; maybe everyone’s already huddled up inside watching those poor news people suffer against rain and wind by the ocean. I am as ready as I can be. I took down all the hanging plants outside, the large trash bins are now safely stored in the garage, I put new batteries in the flash lights, charged up all the electronic gadgets, cooked up a some soup and stashed water away (there is actually enough food to feed an army in this house), and even brought out the butane burner to use. I fully expect to lose power; it’s just a matter of when and for how many days. Beginning to rain a bit now and I can hear the winds picking up… I’m a bit nervous about the impending storm but my Grandma is just jubilant for the San Francisco Giants winning the World Series. If it can’t be her favorite Philadelphia Phillies, it may as well be the team that’s closest to where her Grandson lives. She’s too cute.
Let me get my mind off of the hurricane and over to something more pleasant… No monster storms or even the slightest inkling of precipitation entered our minds on our third day in Barcelona. In fact, we spent most of the day outside enjoying the sunny weather by the beach, with some culture and a ton of delicious seafood thrown in. Dios mio, it feels like it was ages ago!
I got up each morning to watch the sun rise and this morning I was joined by my awesome aunt. We made some coffee and sat out on our balcony until we heard the rest of the group stir inside. One note on Nespresso– we had it for days, including in Lisbon, and got so used to it that when I returned from our trip all other coffee tasted awful (I should note though, that I am not a coffee expert and tend to drink more tea). In any case, I had fun picking out the perfect capsule from their their giant wall of coffee pods. So much so that I even entertained the idea of getting one of those Nespresso machine but then I remembered that I don’t have a home, let alone a kitchen…
Good morning Barcelona!
After breakfast at the apartment we went to the Picasso museum. Since we bought our tickets online the day before, we got to saunter right in. I had visited this fantastic museum during my first trip to Barcelona about ten years ago, but sadly I remembered so little about what was on display. It was great to go back and see the early works of Picasso; it was as if I’d never seen them at all. He really was a genius and could draw like a master at the age of 13. And I loved his interpretation of Las Meninas (vs. Velázquez’s original). It was stunning. How could that not have made a strong enough impression for me to remember? Sigh…
I really struggled where I should take my family to eat seafood and paella in Barcelona. I’d tried a few places before but none of them really stood out. Paula and I had a nice seafood meal at La Gavina last time, but I wanted to try somewhere else. So even though it was another 15 minute walk and farther away from the city, we went all the way down towards the beach to a small restaurant called Kaiku. We were early enough to beat the weekend lunch crowd but the seniors wanted to dine inside, so inside we sat. We ordered three different paella dishes, one with squid ink, one with noodles (fideuà) served with an aioli, and a vegetarian paella. They were all missing the crispy crusty crunchy rice you get on the bottom of the paella pan, but oh well.. We practically licked the pans and indulged in dessert, too.
The the beach was just steps away from the restaurant and it was PACKED with sun bathers.
A little installation art by the beach-
The gentlemen decided to rest while Kevin escorted the ladies to El Cortes Ingles for some souvenir (read olive oil, olives, and food) shopping. That gave me a rare opportunity to be by myself so I ran down towards the cathedral to see if I could catch the Sardana dance. I knew it was by the cathedral at 6PM on Saturdays (noon on Sundays) but when I got there, all I saw were a group of musicians and a lot of tourists.
I kept looking at my watch and 6PM came and went, and nothing. I walked towards the cathedral and looked around, still nothing. I could hear that the musicians started playing and it was wonderful, but I was a bit disappointed that there were no dancers there. I figured that I’d get closer to the music and turned around towards them, and that’s when I saw the circle. There were people with their hands up in the air and forming a circle. I don’t know when or where they came from but there they were. Dancing!
Everyone was having a great time, smiling, holding hands, and doing these coordinated steps. I loved that they just put their bags in the middle of the circle and got together to dance with strangers. There were enough people to make two dancing circles. Then my eyes settled on this sweet little lady not to far from me and I couldn’t help but stare… After the dance was all over (it lasted only about 10 minutes), I stopped her to ask a few questions. She said her name was Isabela, and she comes here every Saturday and Sunday for the Sardana dance. She’s been doing it forever. I thought about my Grandma then and got a bit teary eyed. She was so cute! Look at her go…
Dinner was a simple affair at home with some take-away I got from Mauri. OK, Mauri was a repeat. I went there for breakfast with Paula (which I recommend if you’re in the neighborhood), but this time I got a bunch of savory things like croquettes and a few Catalan specialties (botifarra, escalivada, and coca de llardons). And we had some jamon, queso (Manchego, of course), and a bottle of cava to finish off before we left town. I ended my last day in Barcelona the way I started it, by sharing a drink with my awesome aunt. It was coffee in the morning and before bed, it was a can of Moritz… ¡Buenas noches!
Museu Picasso de Barcelona: Carrer de Montcada, 15, Barcelona, Spain
Kaiku: Carrer del Mar, 1, Barcelona, Spain
Mauri: Calle Provença, 241, Barcelona, Spain