The train ride from Madrid to Barcelona was uneventful – with a few quick scenes of the countryside and near the end, of the ocean. We arrived in Barcelona, hungry and ready to move our legs. From the moment we stepped out of the subway and onto the street, I was in love. We arrived at our AirBnb around 1:00 p.m. and the host graciously met us, shared a few restaurants we should try and pointed us in the direction of the nearest grocery store.
After stocking up on provisions (you know, eggs, cheese, wine…) we set off to enjoy a tapas filled lunch at La Catalana. We ordered patatas bravas, tortilla de espana, California ensalada (clearly this came with avocado), pescado frito, manchego queso and roasted asparagus and mushrooms. When you order cheese in Spain, they deliver cheese – and a lot of it.
Stuffed to the brim, we continued on our walking tour of the city – taking in Las Ramblas (think of the Mediterranean equivalent of Time Square), a quick run through El Mercado de Boqueria and finally down to the water. On our way back, I suggested we take an alternative route, since one only needs to see Las Ramblas once. We ended up in an area with cute shops and stumbled across a store entitled 2 Pugs. This was fate. We found ourselves in a cute shop filled with geeky scifi and movie reference, pop art and a very excited salesman.
We returned to the apartment, changed and embarked on a journey to Aire de Barcelona – an authentic Turkish bath experience. There we spent 90 minutes lounging in six different types of baths (salt, Jacuzzi, Turkish, warm, hot and cold) until our fingers and toes were pruned. While not as amazing as Blue Lagoon, it was a great entry to the city, and a nice relaxing way to work off the 30+ miles we had walked in Madrid over the course of three days.
We slowly made our way back to the apartment, and cooked a very late dinner of gluten free pasta with fresh peppers, Iberian ham and cheese of course.
This all being said – I love Barcelona. I could spent an entire week (or two!) here – walking, taking in the beautiful architecture, eating cheese, drinking wine, lounging, bathing… the list goes on and on. If I could understand Catalan, it would be even better. But for now I’ll remain 50% fluent in Spanish and one day I’ll learn how to say “amb Gel” (which means on ice).