Fat Hands

she used to sit in this cafe, and just face the wall. And it wasn’t coffee she was drinking

Barcelona

Posted by Alix on 10 February 2006

Arrived on Thursday and wandered from the hotel to Placa de Catalunya, which I expected would be smaller, then into El Raval where we ate early in a deserted restaurant – I had a nice prawn and saffron risotto topped with huge crevettes, followed by a deliciously bouzy tiramisu. We then went to a bar called Tarkus, for the name alone, where I had my first mojito of the holiday.
On Friday we started with the Sagrada Familia, the greatest building site in the world. We went up in the lift for the view, and came down the spiral staircase to come back down, which was nightmarish for me, and confirmed that I have a fear of heights. I thought it was really fantastic and intend to go back when it is finished in the year 2525. La Pedrera was next, then Casa Battlo, neither of which we actually went inside. Later we went to the Palau de la Musica Catalunya with its lovely dome, where we were shown round by a charming chap named Ramon. I was unsure how keen I was on ornate design and tiling prior to the trip, but am converted now. I think it becomes a lot more appealing to me when it’s done on a huge scale, as it is in various places in Barcelona. The Picasso Museum was next – I didn’t have high hopes because I’ve never thought of myself as a fan but I really loved some of it – particularly the ones with doves and Las Meninas, especially the varyingly wonky dog. We went up the Mirador de Colom in the tiny lift, which was ok, but crowded. The Aquarium was calming and nice – sort of amazed by some unborn sea creatures gestating in semi transparent sacs, and generally happy to see fish, because fish are lovely. Friday saw me consume lots of bad things – such as a cup of chocolate that was like sweet and thick gravy, and later for dinner at Senyor Parellada I had a chocolate mousse with bright green intensely minty sauce added. I was really impressed by the food there – also had a great duck with figs, in the best gravy ever for the main course. Then we retired to a bar whose name I forget, where more mojitos were consumed with glee. I love mojitos. I think I might host a mojito party.

Saturday visited the Hospital de Sant Pau y Sant Cruz, then Park Guell. I was more impressed by the latter – we wandered around, and ate ice cream, and the food that we had removed from the hotel breakfast earlier in the day. Saw real actual orange trees in the hospital grounds, which was a first. Visited MACBA next where I was impressed and inspired by the Hans Hofmann paintings. Then we ate in the Camper Food ball place, a simple but pleasing food concept that doesn’t seemed to have reached the UK yet. Dinner later was at some place in El Born – had the tastiest pork with chorizo in a caramelised honey, oil and garlic sauce, with little bits of French toast. Finished up in an Irish bar, in accordance with the drinking abroad policy.

Sunday we went down to the beach, where I attempted to fill my bag with pretty pebbles, then got on the terrifying high cable cars and got a good look at the city. Walked up from there to the Joan Miro Fundacio – as with the Picasso I wasn’t expecting much but again really loved a lot of it. I think seeing a range of works by one artist in one place helps, and also the building, and the lovely sunny day helped a lot. It’s just not the same in the Tate Modern on a gloomy day. Wandered around Montjuic, admired the view from the steps above the Font Magica, gently appreciated the Mies van der Rohe building whilst not being especially impressed, then ate in a cheap place round the corner with a badly translated menu (‘choice meats of your choice in the style’ etc). Later I visited the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar, and another church off the Ramblas, then ate dinner in El Born again, at a place called Sikkim (lamb with chocolate sauce and apples and pears, not a particularly successful marriage of tastes).
Monday went to Menkes fancy dress shop to buy a mask, and then walked to the zoo. It’s a nice zoo, although the monkeys looked mournful and the gorillas were scrapping. Good meerkats though. Then went to the beach again and paddled in the Mediterranean, another first. Then we went home with sand in our socks.

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