Barcelona: Last Day

November 13th, 2009

You can view all of my pictures from Barcelona on my Facebook page.

Mission accomplished. On this day, my one real vacation wish came true. I ate at Cal Pep, which is raved about by a few people we asked for travel advice. Let the drooling begin…

Appetizer

Sardine and pepper appetizer.

Jamon and bread

Cured ham and tomato bread.

Fried artichokes

Fried artichokes.

Tuna patty

Tuna patty with sesame.

Spanish omelette

Spanish omelette with garlic sauce.

Clams

Clams in a broth flavored with bacon.

Razor clams

Razor clams with a buttery smoky flavor. (First time I’ve ever had razor clams.)

Carne and patatas

Steak and potatoes. Perfect doneness. Seasoned expertly.

Needless to say, I was out of money after that visit. It was well worth it!

Before I knew it, we were back on the plane for the US. Overall, a very good trip.

Ganesha does Barcelona

November 13th, 2009

Shout out to Jen Jiggetts for bringing me the Ganesha figurine from her trip to India last month. I thought of taking it with me to Barcelona as soon as she gave it to me.

A little bit about Ganesha, in case you are puzzled. And, no, I’m not practicing Hinduism. I’m a person that tries to learn, respect and appreciate all cultures.

Barcelona: Day Five

November 9th, 2009

This was another great was another great day, despite feeling like I was coming down with a cold. (I’m feeling a bit better now.)

Figueres Regional Map

Tea and coffee

Train arrives

Talia and I started our day early with a train ride to Figueres, Spain for a visit to the Salvador Dali Museum. By train, Figueres is about two hours from Barcelona. Long story short, the museum is closed on Mondays. I swore up and down my guide book and the museum’s website said the place would be one.

Closed Dali

Closed Dali

Closed Dali

When life gives you lemons…

We spent a couple of hours walking through the streets of the town, which seems to thrive from visitors of the Dali museum. In other words, there was barely anyone on the streets of Figueres.

Empty town

Empty town

Empty town

Aside from the 50 degree weather and windy conditions, we saw as much as we could before it was time to return to the train station.

We saw Sant Pere Church, which was built in the 10th and 11th centuries, and underwent remodels in the late 18th century. Dali is said to have been baptized and served his first communion in the church.

Sant Pere Church

Inside Sant Pere

I’ll definitely go back to Figueres, especially because I didn’t get to see the inside of the Dali museum. In spite, the trip was well worth it.

Barcelona: Day Four

November 9th, 2009

On this day I was mostly a bum. After the bike ride the day before and staying up until the sun came out that morning, I was in no position to move around.

So I slept most of the day. And then Veronica and I went to see Michael Jackson’s This Is It. Going to a theatre in a foreign country was a new experience. For one, they make you choose specific seats for your showing and an usher directs you to those seats. And there is no extra butter or salt for your popcorn…at least not at the theatre we went to.

While at the box office window, I caught the “natives” laughing and staring because I was unable to seamlessly order my ticket for the movie. I know enough Spanish to get by, but they are a little impatient out here. I guess I kind of expected that.

The film had Catalonian Spanish subtitles. Overall, it was great. Michael still had it. That would have been a great concert.

Barcelona: Day Three

November 8th, 2009

On this day, I fought myself to get up as early as I did. But I was so glad I got up. I took a tour of the city by bike. This is, no exaggeration, the only way to see the city. We went where cars and buses couldn’t go. We saw things the average tourist wouldn’t have seen, unless they knew to seek it out. The pictures do it no justice…

Tour company

This company was great and very professional.

Me, funny face

My “I can’t believe I’m about to ride a bike through a city I’ve never been in” face.

Veronica's idea

This tour was Veronica’s idea. Kelley and I couldn’t thank her enough.

Alley 1

Just gorgeous.

Fountain

I mean…just breathtaking. This fountain was designed by Gaudi, if I heard the tour guide correctly.

The gate built to welcome people to the world fair in Barcelona.

Tour company

An amazing thing to walk bike under.

Sagrada Familia 1

Sagrada Familia. Enough said.

Sagrada Familia 2

Tried to get you a little bit closer.

Sagrada Familia 3

There. That’s better.

I rewarded myself with paella at La Poma, a restaurant with the worst service on La Rambla in Barcelona. Not only did we sit for two hours waiting for our food, the meal cost more than any other we’d had since vacation started. The paella was good, but didn’t really make up for it.

Paella

Barcelona: Day Two

November 8th, 2009

Today was the first time I really got to experience the streets of the city. A few of us woke up in the middle of the day (nice to do that on vacation) and walked to Placa de la Bouqueria. This is one of those open air markets that Anthony Bourdain and his kind are always walking through to get ingredients for a cooking segment. I was in heaven!

First market

First market 2

I’ll have more pictures of the market later…

From there, I met up with the entire group to tour the Pablo Picasso museum. Honestly, Salvador Dali is my favorite Spanish painter, but I really enjoyed the museum. I will be seeing Dali on Monday or Tuesday.

Black man

This was the only drawing I could find of an African.

Beautiful room

Adornements

One room (pictured above) had no paintings in it, but was so breathtaking that I had to take photos. By the way, we were not allowed to take photographs in the museum at all. I had to sneak them in.

After the museum, we came back to our apartment and I cooked clam pasta for those who like seafood, which turned out to be just four of the seven of us. Fine. More for us. (*sticks out tongue) I’ve posted the recipe below.

Me cooking

Shot of ingredients

Shot of the pot

Ingredients: olive oil, garlic, flat-leaf parsley, clams (in shell), white cooking wine, and long pasta.

1. Place clams in a large dry pot or pan. Make sure clams are in one layer. Cover and heat on low heat until clams have opened and are swimming in their juice.
2. In another skillet, cover a medium to large sized pan with a generous amount of olive oil. On medium low heat, saute two to three cracked cloves of garlic in the oil until cloves are lightly golden brown. Then remove the cloves from the pan and let oil stand.
3. Remove clams from pot with slotted laddle, place in bowl and set aside.
4. Pour off the juice of the clams into a separate bowl and set aside.
5. Bring water to boil for pasta. Boil pasta until pasta is al dente.
6. Remove pasta and transfer to pan of garlic olive oil. Turn heat to medium. Pour in clam juice. Pour in about a cup and a half of white wine.
7. Add in shell (or shelled) clams to pasta. Stir and let wine, clam juice and olive oil coat pasta and clams. Add salt to taste.
8. Add chopped flat-leaf parsely and stir until parsley is spread evenly into pasta.
9. Serve immediately, with bread and wine.

Barcelona: Day One

November 8th, 2009

If the US Dollar was an animal, it’d be a chihuahua next to the ‘Great Dane’ Euro.

That was my first thought when I exchanged currencies at the JFK airport. Truth is, while the dollar is weak, you don’t have to spend a whole lot of money to feed yourself in Barcelona. Grab a baguette, a package of ham and some juice from the grocery store. 6 euros.

We were so jet-lagged this day, that all we could do was sleep. Later we woke up for tapas. Kelley Carter and I woke up first. We were starving and snack off for a quick snack. I had jamon con huevos, patatas bravas, and an espresso. Que European, indeed!

Good tapas

Good tapas 2

Later, with the group, we went to Tapa Tapa. This place turned out to be the Chili’s of tapas in Barcelona. I will never eat there again. But we still had a good time.

Sangria toast

No longer a passport virgin…

November 8th, 2009

The seal has been broken. The proverbial cherry has been popped.

Ready to go

After arriving

Yes, this is the first time I’ve ever left the continent. I’m 24. So much catching up to do.

Words to live by

November 8th, 2009

Idiot mattress

Saw this on the street in lower Manhattan while out for a nightcap with coworkers. I needed to see it that night.

Steph-’funny’

November 5th, 2009

This is my sister Stephanie. I miss her. She’s funny and reminds my to laugh in the face of daily struggle. She and my step-sister Kim are coming to visit me in New York for New Year’s. I want to show them a good time.

Silly Stephanie

Thought I’d share this picture with you because it makes me crack up each time I see it. She’s probably not going to like that I’m sharing it with the world.