We had a fabulous time in Barcelona. Our first day was spent just relaxing and reading! After being on the road for 10 days straight, we were ready to just relax, read, and sleep. Such a treat.
We were scheduled for a Tapas Tour of Barcelona so we headed out at dinner time to join our group. Our fearless leader was a New Zealander, James, and he was fantastic! Tapas are not served at a tapas restaurant, as we do in the states. These are tapas served in bars – some serve a variety of tapas, others specialize in something in particular. Seating doesn’t even exist at all in some places – you simply lay claim to a portion of the bar and that’s where they’ll serve you. James did his homework so well – he even made sure there were vegetarian options at all places.
Apparently Iberian ham is a specialty in this region for it was featured in any number of bars, prepared in numerous ways. They were also treated to shrimp as well as a wonderful selection of mushrooms (some veggie some with that ham included). Bread with numerous toppings were available as well as an array of veggies. There was so much food that by the 4th place I was stuffed – I don’t know how they all ate so much food as well as sampling all of the wines and beers!
We spent a morning in the Museum del Prado, an immense building that is impossible to even remotely see everything. We did spend an hour with a guide who provided us with a lot of information about the Spanish artists and different views of the paintings and painters. It was fascinating to hear further information, stuff you just never know from just looking at the pictures.
|Plaza del Sol|
|Temple of Debod|
Once again I love Europe! It is so easy to catch a subway to anywhere and so much is in walking distance of wherever you get end up. We walked over to the Temple of Debod in the twilight hours, a temple that is actually from Egypt. When they built the Aswan damn, the temple would have been underwater. It was sent, block by block, to the city of Barcelona. It is really stunning in the evening light with the reflection on the water.
Our apartment was strategically located just around the corner from the Plaza del Sol. A beautiful plaza, filled with shops, a huge golden tree, the zero point for all mileage in Spain, as well as the most famous site for New Years Eve in Barcelona - comparable to Times Square in New York. Not only that, they believe in practicing for New Years eve - so partying started in the plaza on the 30th. Yes, we could hear it, all night long.
|Spillover - the plaza is to the right|
Well, they made it through the practice, though we weren't certain we'd make it through the actual evening. The spill-over from the plaza was frightening (from our point of view). They did block all people from entering once it was deemed "full" - something we were thankful for, and thankful we had gotten home before the barricade went up. I must admit, the location was great but at 3am I was not appreciating the location at all!