First Sunday of the month, and our intention was to visit the Picasso museum, because it was free. We had a bit of a lie in though, and didn’t leave the hotel until 11:30am, stopping for breakfast at Crusto, a place recommended on foursquare for their delicious Pain au Chocolat. The guy that served us was a perfectionist, and the cappuccinos came with beautiful froth designs on them. I had the croissant, but Sam tried their delicious ensaïmada, which soon became my breakfast choice as well.
We fancied seeing the inside of the Palau de Música Catalana, not wanting to pay 12 euros for a tour, we asked about performances, one opera/flamenco show was on tonight, for 40 euros each, but we had to come back at 7:30pm to buy tickets, so we didn’t bother. We got into the town centre at midday-ish, and by then we realised everyone else had had the same idea about Picasso. The queue ran around the block and wasn’t really moving, so we didn’t go in, and by now we were a little bothered that the day wasn’t going to plan.
We were out during the hottest part of the day, foolish really. So we stopped at Parc de la Ciutadella to chill out and cool down; sitting on the bench by the lake, we slept, read, and watched families and lovers paddle around on old wooden boats, like dodgems in slow motion. By the magnificent fountains and man-made waterfall, talented puppeteers performed a double act, one puppet playing piano, the other singing, and on the bandstand tap dancers took the stage.
Back at the Picasso museum, we found the queue to be just as long. Clearly, we weren’t going to be seeing the artist’s early works. Instead we returned to dHUB, and had a late lunch (vegetable tart and potato tortilla, with an excellent almond chocolate dessert). The gift shop kept us amused, with cleverly designed vases, hooks, lamps and umbrellas packaged into bottles.
The Picasso queue was still too long. Instead we delved into the world of 3D fabrication technology, another fascinating dHub exhibition. Amongst red walls and spot lights were chairs created from motion capture drawings, synthesised spiky speakers that mimic your music taste and lemon zesters in curious shapes. A video taught us the benefits of 3D printing concrete, and we’re now swotted up on cell by cell 3D printing of biological structures, one day it could be organs, but at the moment it’s limited to skin tissues. Got to take it one step at a time. From the mother’s womb, 3D foetus models can be built and with 3D printers a life size replica produced, freakish to say the least. In the up-lit whitewashed room were students’ fabricating robot experiments; bots that could build structures from cardboard using solar power, and devices that created sculpture using swarm theory. Our minds were blown.
To the hotel and back via the metro’s L4 line and Passeig de Gràcia station, we ventured again to Barri Gòtic for our evening meal, this time indulging in a concoction of flavours from Pla, a so called “den of inventive cooking”. In a dimly lit grotto, with Air’s “Moon Safari”, Gas (a band) and a touch of free jazz setting the vibe, the waitress explained the specials in great depth and recommended an excellent wine.
Pla cleverly seated everyone by language, good for the waitresses that couldn’t speak English, but landing us in the middle of three brash American tables. Although entertaining (and it’s hard to be annoyed when you’re laughing inside), hearing about the real estate lawyer’s main course that was too small, killed the romantic mood.
My soup of the day, pumpkin, was poured over the seafood mousse and shiitake mushroom in front of me, and Sam couldn’t turn up another opportunity for seafood; Octopus carpaccio with wasabi, perfectly presenting the taste of Octopus without any of the toughness.
Sam’s Iberian pork was divine, and I was filled with food envy; my Cod was nice, but it was just Cod, and I ought to have made a better choice. But wow, that pork, with the nut sauce, this is how pork should be.
Complementary grappa pushed us over the tipsy boat.