A Day of Strolling

Saturday, March 31, 2012
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and Canary Islands
This morning (Saturday) I woke up to my alarm at 5:45. My original plan was to take a 90-minute train to another town called Girona. But when I woke up, my body just said, "no way - forget about it."  As much as I wanted to go, I decided it would be better for me to stay here. It's not like there's nothing to do in Barcelona. :) The last two days were pretty full and maybe jet lag hit or something, but I just couldn't get myself out of bed. I also had a reservation for an 8:30 flamenco show this evening at Tablao Cordoba, so I didn't want to be rushing to get back.

I actually slept until 8 am (late!), had breakfast here and decided to just stroll aimlessly and see what I would come upon . I didn't want to "tour" anything. Of course, I had my Rick Steves guide handy, so I wasn't too aimless. I came upon a cute park this morning, Parc de la Ciutadella. There were runners or a race of some kind. I headed toward Ramblas and then up to Placa Catalunya, where I did not see any effects of the strikes on Thursday.

After stopping at "Juicy Jones" for a juice of the day, I headed toward the Jaume Placa via the metro and had lunch at a local tapas placed called El Xampanyet in the trendy Rivera District. It was packed with locals and tourists. None of the staff spoke a lick of English, and I had no idea what I was ordering. I simply stood at the bar/counter and pointed to what I wanted. I also ordered a beer. It was exactly what I thought a true Spanish tapas experience would be. Noisy, good food and fun!!

After that I walked around a bit more and bought some pashminas at a shop and some silk necklaces from a woman named Rosa . Rosa is from Argentina, but she has lived here for 11 years because "business for her is better."  She was a sweet lady. I also bought a painting from an older gentleman on the street named Jacque.

I had read that "Sardana" dances take place near the cathedral every Saturday and Sunday evening. People gather in circles and do a dance that looks Greek. Like, it really does look Greek. There was a band playing, and it was so cool to watch people do this. I likened to if a polka band started to play at home and random people would start polkaing in the streets. :)

I got ready for the show and wore my new cream pashmina with my dress. The hostal man at the desk was kind enough to take a picture of me. Before heading there, I stopped at the church across the street and said I few prayers. Earlier in the evening there was a procession for Palm Sunday.

The flamenco show at Tablao Cordoba was AWESOME! It wasn't just the dancing, but the guitar players and the singers and how they fed off the audience . The male singers/clappers were dressed in all black, as well as the guitarists. I could not believe how fast they were strumming and playing. The stage was tiny, about 10 by 20 feet, but it allowed for an intimate feeling between the performers and audience. The dancers were dressed in clingy gowns that flared toward the feet. The whole thing was fascinating, and I was glad they let us take photos at the very end.

After the show, I decided to have dinner at Mariscco in Placa Reial. I ordered a greek salad and several tapas (see pic). It was great, because the food was filling but not overbearing. It was a lovely evening to sit outside to people watch and eat wonderful food.

Tomorrow I will head to Madrid as part of my tour group. I must say, as much as I love Barcelona, I will be happy to get away from the crowds. It was BUSY today. Tons of tourists, all over. I'm hoping it all goes smoothly. But I can't complain so far. I spent an amazing three days here!

Bon Nuit! (good night)

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Ah, one of Spain's many charms...beer, wine and liquor available in vending machines. :)