Monday, February 1, 2016


I should probably warn you right now that we are not your typical tourists. As a rule, we don't do churches and museums, or run around trying to get pictures of ourselves in front of all the famous monuments. We used to travel that way, each thinking that's what the other wanted. Fortunately, we finally admitted to one another that neither of us was having any FUN, and gave ourselves permission to do things our way. And, both being introverts who thrive on time alone, we also gave ourselves permission to balance time together with time apart -- to do those things that interest us, but not necessarily our sweetie pie. We also discovered that we hate packing and unpacking, and driving from one place to another, trying to fit too many towns into too short a time. What we love is staying in one place, preferably a walkable city with lots of nooks and crannies to explore, and lots of cafes from which to people-watch -- which is why we chose to spend the entire week in Barcelona, instead of trying to cover all of Spain. These days, we actually love our trips together!

So, on our second day in Barcelona, we set off down Las Ramblas to take a tour of Palau Güell, the "palace" built by Antoni Gaudi for his great benefactor, Eusebi Güell. Have I mentioned that Gaudi's color-mad architecture is one of our main reasons for choosing Barcelona? You can expect to see lots of it in the coming posts. This was one of his earlier projects I think, before he fully broke from tradition and started making up his own rules as he went along, but you got glimpses of what was to come.

We also explored La Boqueria market, which we passed on our way there.

After our tour we went back and had lunch at one of the cafes behind the market -- fried baby squid and a Spanish tortilla (fritatta) for me, more tomato bread and Iberian jamon (ham) for Hubby.

Then it was time for a parting of the ways. That morning, on our way to Palau Güell, we came up behind a little tour group. The guide was pointing down one of those tiny little side streets, saying "There. That is where you will find the best chocolate!" I had to go back and check it out, right? So, when John went off 'splorin' with his camera, I opted to head back to Carrer Petritxol, aka The Hot Chocolate Street.

I was too full from lunch to try the super-rich hot chocolate or churros, but I did manage to "force" down a slender slice of candied orange dipped in dark chocolate on one end, from one of several confectioners along this street. Yummmmm!

On my way back to the hotel I cut through Plaça del Pi, and spotted a sign outside the little basílica there, which tempted me into breaking our "No Churches" rule. So after a rest and a quick dinner at Taller de Tapas, we returned to Basílica Santa María Del Pi for this.

The talent and the acoustics were phenomenal. The backless wooden pews? Not so much!

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