Recently I flew home from a 24-day solo trip to Lisbon, Porto, Madrid, Barcelona, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Seville, and Lisbon again. If you like, you can start from the beginning here.
Day Twelve - Barcelona - Half-way Point
(Baguette with chorizo and cheese)
I'm waiting for Ricardo to come home and show me how to use the laundry - I may zip out for a cafe con leche if he doesn't come soon - and I'm trying to decide how to spend my last two days here. I'm at that delicious / precarious point with the city where I don't feel pressure to go and see The Big Sights (cause I seen 'em) so I could just laze around eating bonbons, but precarious because the last thing I want to have happen is for me to get bored in this beautiful city.
Things that have made me smile today: the sun on my face as I sat down by the sea and drew people having their morning espressos. The big, big, big triangular building in the midst of an empty plaza. The man next to me on the metro who blew up a balloon and gave it to a fussy child. And then, anticipating its popping in the near future, gave the child's caregiver another balloon as emergency backup.
The two guys popping and locking in the CCCB plaza, watching their reflections in the building's glass. Realizing that the squeaking installation hanging over the same courtyard was in fact a maze in the sky.
Tonight's search for dinner led me half-way up a mountain and back down, both emotionally and physically. Ricardo gave me the name of his favourite tapas place in the city, but when I finally got there (I turned the wrong way three times) the gentleman behind the bar didn't speak English and my Spanish was not good enough. I tried to ask for a beer; he tried to ask for my reservation. He pointed at the room of empty tables (oh, the Spanish eat so late!) and said they were full. And so I left.
(Montjuic at night - Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya and its "Magic Fountain")
Two hours later (up and down the escalators of Montjuic and back to the Gothic quarter) I settled on a place that catered more to the English tourist, and the salty, oily tapas only partially satisfied.
Even octopus Galacian-style and sauteed mushrooms didn't really assuage my feeling of personal failure. The cinnamon milk fritters I had for dessert, however - delicate milk custard oh-so-lightly battered, deep-fried, and dusted with salt and cinnamon - were quite a bit more successful...