On Tuesday we scheduled a siesta break, we wouldn’t make the same mistake again! We couldn’t have known that at 3pm there would be a terrific thunderstorm. On the one day we prepare for the hot hot afternoon, it rains.
But I’m jumping ahead, that morning we made the short walk from our hotel to La Pedrera (Casa Milà), as if we hadn’t had enough Gaudí. Of course, we picked up sweet ensaïmadas from Crusto.
With another set of audio guides, we walked around the attic museum. It showcased Gaudí’s work, his techniques, Barcelona in the 1920s, nature’s influences and ergonomic furniture designs. The arching roof structure throughout was fascinating.
When Sam finished devouring every ounce of information we went up to the famous rooftop. Like undulating waves the roof flows, complementing the rippling grey façade and wrought iron balconies. Chimneys are elaborately sculpted, like smoke rising from the roof, capped with a soldier-like head. We tried out our improving photography skills, and we waited and waited for people to move out the way, mostly in vain.
Downstairs a traditional 1920s apartment was set up, with master bedroom, maids room, children’s room, etc. I left Sam with the Canon, and she captured some of the details beautifully.
On the ground floor we continued having fun with the camera, Sam picked up a lot of textures and interesting patterns, and outside we tried to compose a shot of La Pedrera, a Gaudí-an street light and tree without getting the traffic and traffic lights in the way. We’d seen an image in the gift store and rather than pay 20 euros for it, we attempted to match it, which was fun in itself.
We stopped again at Cerveceria Catalana for lunch. Sitting at the bar we picked and plucked the tastiest looking tapas; from rich creamy three cheese melt to anchovies and peppers stuffed with tuna. There’s a reason it’s the most popular tapas bar in the city. Yum yum yum, and so exciting and social.
Siesta time approached, and the second we reached our hotel room the heavens opened. So much for escaping the heat. As we we’re in the hotel, why not try out the rooftop jacuzzis? “It won’t be busy up there”. So, in our swimwear and in the rain, we watched Barcelona from our personal jacuzzi, as the rainclouds passed and the sun came out.
Fully recovered from all that heat, we set out again, mid-afternoon, to explore Manzana de la Discordia (the Apple of discord) on Passeig de Gràcia, namely Casa Batlló, Casa Lleó Morera and Casa Amatller. Then continuing south to Plaça de Catalunya. Not sure how to spend the rest of the day, we paid a quick trip to Barceloneta and the beach. The cable cars were closed because of high winds, and the Michelin recommended Torre d’Alta Mar looked a tempting food stop, but like the seating and views, the prices were sky high.
We stopped for Ice Cream (“of course Spar will have Ice Cream”), and after Sam had cleaned off the melted Feast from her new green dress, we took the metro back to Passeig de Gracia, enjoying the cool air-conditioned carriages, a far cry from London’s underground sauna system.
Before nipping back to the hotel to get changed for dinner, we stopped at Fundació Antoni Tàpies, another Modernista building with metal wire sculpture donning the roof. Inside a vast white room housed a Tàpies exhibition. Peculiar works of art; mounds of dirt stuck to walls, and rusting canvas with graffiti’d fractions. It was all a bit over our heads.
Our last night in Barcelona and I wanted to make it a special one, researching online (free hotel internet), I found, “El Túnel d’en Marc Palou”, a famous young Catalan chef that “combines creativity and family tradition”. Michelin recommended, and vying for a star, I called ahead and booked a table.
Picking up the last hotel umbrella, we headed out into the warm damp night, just missing the thunderstorm, which was now in the distance. After a walk through L’Eixample we reached the very quiet restaurant, was it open? Were we early?
The French waiter tried to seat us by the window, naively we sat further inside the restaurant, and to passers by the place would look empty. We had the restaurant, a waiter and a chef to ourselves for the whole night. Cosy and kinda cool, but also a bit unnerving.
The décor of the place was plain, but it made the food all the more vibrant. Everything we ate was cooked to perfection, and delicious. A simple poached egg and salad tasted unreal, and the meat on my shoulder of kid just fell off. I was amazed and mystified with the taste of kid, with a flavour of its own I couldn’t pin down what made it so different. The desserts were sublime, never have I tasted strawberries so good, and we savoured every bite of the chocolate.
On the way home we stopped outside Casa Batlló to relax in front of the lit up façade, now quiet and still in the night.