Barcelona, Day 1

We arrived in Barcelona this morning at 9am after taking the red-eye from JFK. We had an enjoyable dinner on the plane and nodded off about 10PM, with 4.5 hours left on the flight. It was a pretty bumpy ride after we nodded off, so sleep was at a premium.

We were pretty wiped out when we woke up. Disembarking was easy in BCN. The first time I’ve ever seen a glass jet bridge, which gave a pretty cool view of the airport.

We took the train from BCN to downtown Barcelona (Placa Catalunya). After getting momentarily lost, we found our way to Le Meridien and checked in. Good news! We had been upgraded to a suite with a delightful patio overlooking Las Ramblas. Unfortunately, it rained most of the day, so pictures of the patio will follow later. After finding some lunch, we went back to the hotel for a 30-minute nap that lasted 3 hours.

All of the dinner restaurants we wanted to try opened at 8pm, a trend in Barcelona. So, we killed a couple of hours lounging around the hotel room(Michelle took a leisurely bath) getting ready, then headed out as night fell. We walked up Las Ramblas to check out a tapas restaurant a few blocks away. Everywhere we went, the streets were crowded.

We went to an enjoyable tapas restaurant called Ciudad Condal. We had a bottle of Tempranillo wine priced so affordably, we thought it was priced by the glass. We dined on Praws Brochette, Grilled Gambata (Shrimp), fried artichokes, dry manchego cheese, jabugo ham, and washed it all down with a Coca-Cola.

A short walk down the street to Cafe Zurich, where we sat on the second floor and asked for menus. No menus, we were told. Walk downstairs and read the one on the wall. All this was communicated in Spanish, and my Spanish is sorely lacking. I read the menu and selected a few things I knew the name of, then went back upstairs to order for Michelle and I.

Palmier? The waiter leaned over the railing to look at the pastry rack. No. All Out. Chocolate Eclair? No. Chocolate croissant? No. So, instead, he ordered us two pastries. One was a calayna, the other a chocolate berlina. A calayna is like a bear claw filled with fresh pastry cream, a berlina a rich, chocolate-filled doughnut. Two cafe con leches topped it off. We had a bird’s eye view of one of the most happening spots in Placa Catalunya.

When we finished, we stepped outside. Placa Catalunya, a large square about 2 New York City blocks long by the same distance wide, had to have been packed with at least 10,000 people. There were 100 people just standing outside Cafe Zurich on the sidewalk. We walked back to our hotel, bought a few groceries, and opened our patio window to take advantage of the Mediterranean breeze. More to follow.

About the Author

My goal in life is to fill my family’s passports with stamps, creating buckets of memories along the way. You’ll find me writing about realistic ways for normal people to travel the world, whether you’re on a budget or enjoy luxury. I also enjoy taking us on the occasional detour to explore the inner workings of the travel industry.

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