Rather than stumble through the rest of the day after our lunch at Clemen's Bar in La Boqueria, we headed back to Hotel 1898 to relax for a while. The first day of travel is always difficult, as you know. This, of course, occured before dinner, which is Part II in this series on Barcelona, so the numbers numerals here are sort of meaningless.
We had no idea the hotel had a rooftop pool/bar/deck with awesome views of the city and suitably fruity and fun cocktails. Imagine how thrilled we were to see that we wouldn't have to nap in the room, but rather on a large, comfy couch, in the sun, surrounded by drinks with straws.
My pale, pasty, flabby body was exposed to the sun and to the other guests, much to their chagrin, for quite some time. I ended up with a sunburn that remained with me for the entire trip. It was a subtle but persistent burn that caused me to itch and hurt at the same time.
The next day we tipped into one of those official-looking Farmacias, thinking they'd have a bottle of some sort of helpful lotion. We also figured they'd be able to speak a bit of English and that I wouldn't have to pull up my shirt, point at my belly and make scratching gestures to explain my condition. And we were totally wrong on both counts.
I grabbed a bottle that said "Aloe," figuring that would do the trick. When a customer saw me describing my issue to the person behind the counter, with the gestures and the exposed belly and all, he was able to advise me that the bottle in my hand was for teeth. TEETH!? I was given another bottle of Aloe, which I was told was about 27 euro. I almost fell on the floor. "TWENTY SEVEN!?!?!" I repeated, not even sure which number to stress more to show my lack of approval. The pharmacist registered my shock and disbelief and managed to tell me in good English "it's really good." Well I should hope so.
It was really good. And yes, I brought the bottle home. And it's $15 on Amazon.com.
I can recommend Hotel 1898 and their rooftop deal, but I do not recommend exposing yourself to the Mediterranean sun with no protection, or shopping at Farmacias in general. Also, pointing at your belly and gesturing like a baboon isn't a very effective method of communication. These things I learned.
Back to Hotel 1898--it was a real pleasure. Clean lines, rich tones, modern, comfortable (but small) rooms. It is centrally located, on La Rambla. La Rambla itself is nothing special. In fact it's not preferable to be on or near La Rambla. It's filled with tourists and horrible bars and restaurants, and did I mention tourists? Filled with them. We spent most of the trip staying well away from La Rambla.
The cocktails on the roof weren't terribly complex or well-crafted, but they hit the spot and served the pool/rooftop lounge vibe well. Of course they tended toward the sweet end of the spectrum. The food also wasn't anything special. Well, based on what we tried at least.
We did have a meal on the roof on the last night of our stay, and regretted it. Of course if you follow my blog, you know I'm the last guy who should be ordering a burger and pizza at a place that doesn't specialize in either. They really didn't have a chance, did they.
The burger was advertised as veal and foie gras, and did have a little egg on top. That was a nice touch. The toppings on the pizza were fine, but the crust was dead and lifeless. The real saving grace was that it was a quick walk to our room from the roof. Stick to the vibes, the fun drinks, and the views, and you'll enjoy your time on the roof at Hotel 1898.
Hotel 1898 : La Rambla, 109, 08002 Barcelona, Spain : +34 935 52 95 52