Friday, November 7, 2014

Too Many Tapas... Or Not Enough!

Saturday morning in Spain began in typical hilarity because of course I overslept... I was supposed to meet my Father and Stepmother at their hotel at 9am in the morning. But let's be real, I could have predicted eons ago that this was a very bad plan after an already jam-packed day and night about town. I didn't get home until about 3am, so while I set my alarm for circa 7am, I apparently woke up, turned my alarm off, then fell back asleep. Fortunately, I woke up on my own at the time I was supposed to meet them, so I quickly texted Stepmother, hopped into the shower, and they agreed to meet me at my hotel instead. Problem solved! This was actually a positive maneuver for which I take obscene amounts of credit because they were able to wander around the Gothic District a bit as well. Tragically, I realized later in the day that it was a holiday, All Saint's Day, and many shops including the the fabulous Market were closed. This did not, however, prevent us from continually indulging in sumptuous Spanish fare. 

Before our culinary exploits could begin, however, we walked toward the beach then got on the Hop On/Hop Off Bus around town. Tickets were included as part of their cruise package deal, so they bought me a ticket too and we made the rounds. It was another beautiful weather day, so sitting on the top floor of a double decker bus with the sun shining and breeze blowing was frankly not too shabby. We saw all manner of beautiful streets and architecture, though it was such a whirlwind I frankly don't remember much of our morning route. I do, however, fully remember our lunch. We decided to travel down La Rambla and pick one of the places that had outdoor seating with affordable menus to taste a variety of food. It's always tricky to go to this sort of spot because it has the very high potential of being too touristy and not very good. Oddly, most of the little cafés had slightly varying prices, though right next to each other, and by chance we settled ourselves at the cheapest one we saw. The menus were basically falling apart and I was momentarily concerned with what the product would be. But after a nice glass of sangria and a trio of tapas to start, we had a delicious serving of traditional paella. Stepmother and I shared chicken paella since I am allergic to shrimp, but my Dad went for the classic seafood. It was filling and fantastic.

After lunch we jumped back on the bus, seeing things like La Sagrada Familia and our chosen hallmark for the afternoon, Park Guell, to see some Gaudi design. Sadly, the park had such a long wait that we ended up not having time to get tickets. However, lack of tickets don't prevent you from wandering around the park itself, so we were able to see some beautiful landscape and the architecture from afar. Eventually, we headed back to our respective hotels in order to catch a quick rest or shower and ready ourselves for some more Spanish nourishment. 

I messaged my friend in Barcelona to ask her advice on a good tapas place for the evening. She recommended a few of them and we decided to go to a restaurant called La Flauta. The family and I chose a meeting spot so we could travel most of the way together. Of course, we had forgotten that not everything was open on this day after Halloween. The place was closed, we were all starting to get a bit cranky and we ultimately decided to walk even farther to their sister location that was apparently open despite the day. Though it took a little while to arrive, once we were seated in this well-lit, festive environment we were quite happy. Another pitcher of sangria, some more delicious tapas, and all was well with the world again. We shared yummy sandwiches, a Spanish omelette, and amazing asparagus and mushrooms that I really couldn't get enough of. After another stroll back to our hotels, I completely crashed, though not before picking up a bit of gelato en route ; )

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