We woke up at the crack of 8 am looking forward to a day without any reservations, or plans of any sort for that matter.
It was a glorious morning and we decided to go check out Gaudi's Sagrada Família, a spell-binding basílica which Gaudi started 30 years before his death. At the time of his death, the thing was a quarter complete. That was almost 90 years ago, and they are still working on it, with a scheduled completion date of 2026. A full 100 years after the man's death. Scope creep? Or maybe a lot of siestas.
A partially-completed church couldn't possibly draw big crowds, especially so early in the morning, we figured as we moseyed on over. Errr, the thousands of people waiting in line to get in obviously knew differently. Bus loads of people. I have never seen a line this long. I think it went around the block twice. And this is a large block.
I'm not one to wait in lines, so we walked around the block, taking in its curious beauty, and then got the hell out of there, looking for the next thing to stare at. But first I had to buy something for that sunburn that I had foolishly acquired the first afternoon of the trip on the rooftop of Hotel 1898. It was a burn like I've never had before. My skin was itchy and stingy and felt like it was crawling off of my body. I have quite a bit of skin I should add.
We stopped at a Farmacia, a place where I assumed they'd speak English and I'd be able to simply ask for the remedy. No such luck. I resorted to picking up my shirt, pointing at my red and sizable belly, and making what in hindsight were baboon-like gestures to indicate itching. The missus found this exchange very, very humorous. The lady behind the counter probably not quite as much. I already had a bottle of aloe from the shelf, but was advised by a nice gentleman who happened to be there that "it's for teeth." For TEETH!?! Ack. I was given a proper bottle of aloe for skin and was advised that it was 27 euro. "Whaaaatt??!" was my reply. The lady suddenly spoke very clear English and said "it's very good." Well bloody hell I should hope so.
We saw some kids playing soccer, and spent some time taking pictures and relaxing in the sun. The aloe was working already. It was in fact, apparently, very good.
Then we stumbled upon Ciutadella Park, which is certainly worth a visit. We spent some time at the Casada Fountain, not knowing a damned thing about it or what we were walking on/looking at. Still don't. That's OK.
With hunger setting in, we started looking for a place to eat in the Barri Gòtic . Nothing was really jumping out at us, aside from a nice little bar that had vermouth. We had vermouth.
Aimlessly making our way back to La Rambla, a street on which I advise spending as little time as possible, we ran into one of the many outposts of Enrique Tomas, a sort of charcuterie chain. With cones of pig for your snacking pleasure. And snack I did. Jamón ibérico in a cone. Whaddacountry.
On the way to Quimet y Quimet we noticed a decent enough looking place with an outdoor seating area, called Los Cachitos. The menu was brimming with tapas, and the place seemed to be filled with locals. We hightailed it back there, grabbed a table under the umbrellas and got right to it.
As I had just about every other meal, I went right for the seppia. A typically simple preparation of tender cuttlefish, olive oil, parsley, and a wedge of lemon to brighten it up. I could seriously eat this every day.
A plate of grilled asparagus reminded me of how delicious vegetables can be. And the picture that I took reminds me of how I need to take at least 5 shots of anything to make sure one is almost in focus.
Garlic prawns were similar in style to the crap you get at most Spanish places here in the states, but executed levels above. Tender prawns and subtle garlic.
The Galician octopus was a big ol' pile of tentacles with potatoes, and a healthy dose of paprika. What a great combination octopus and potatoes make.
Of course catalan toast made an appearance.
And of course a bottle of Albariño was in order.
Did I mention vermouth? Nice Spanish stuff this time around. On the rocks, with an orange slice.
The place was filled with locals, sipping wine and vermouth, and chatting the afternoon away, while plates of food occasionaly made their way to their tables. That's good livin' right there.
I'd never heard of Los Cachitos before this day and haven't heard about it since. The meal here was another indication that it's difficult to eat poorly in Barcelona.
Los Cachitos : Ronda Sant Pau, 4 : 08001: Ciutat Vella : Barcelona, Spain : +34 933 292 811