Thursday, May 10, 2007

Barcelona Day 3

Had a nice lazy morning drinking coffee & eating breakfast in the apartment. This is what I prefer about this arrangement as opposed to staying in a hotel or B&B as then your mornings are at the mercy of their breakfast schedule, which is always too early for my liking.

Today we are doing the Barcelona Bus Turistic thing. As cheesy as those double decker buses look it is a good way to get to the major sights. For an extra 4 Euros you can purchase a tour ticket that is good for 2 consecutive days. That is a good option for the folks as they only last so long on their feet and this way they won't be rushed to try and do it all in one go.

The one major thing we want to see today is the Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudi. Basically it is one huge construction zone but it is still amazing in terms of the scale of the project. I wonder if it will be completed in my lifetime. It would be nice to come back in 5 or 10 years to see how much further along it is.

In the basement is a display of the history of the project complete with draft plans, scale models etc. I found it very interesting. Wishing I had a better camera with a stronger zoom lens as the exterior is just full of figures and symbolism. I'll have to pick up a book on the project before I leave to see what all I missed.

I couldn't find the crypt which was disappointing, but I found the interiors - even though covered in scaffolding and dust still breathtaking. I can only imagine what it will be like to attend a service when it is completed.

Grabbed lunch across the street at a sandwich/smoothie bar so nice and healthy. When we were done and stepped out onto the street the church bells started playing - a nice touch.

Back on the bus to take the rest of the North - Red route. Right about now I'm feeling the incredible urge to have a nap (carbs will do that). Dad and I are on the upper deck of the bus and Mom is down below as she's afraid of heights. I must admit the tour guide was a bit disappointing. Normally on these things they chatter on non-stop about where you are and what there is to see. But according to Mom (as she was downstairs) the guide spent most of the time flirting with the driver and when she remembered she would make a quick mention of why we were stopped. So the tour itself was quite boring as you're just driving around not really knowing where you are and why.

When the tour came to an end we walked back to the apartment going a different way and ended up at the Barcelona Cathedral. We take a break and get some Gelato and sit down in the plaza to enjoy it. It's not time for dinner yet so Mom & I decide to check out the Cathedral and Dad heads back to the apartment for a snooze.

This Cathedral was begun in 1298 and built on the foundations of a Roman temple and Moorish mosque. But it wasn't finished until the early 20th century (so why are they giving Gaudi's cathedral all the negative press on it's infiniteness?). It's big, it's gothic, lots of gold and the smell of incense. There is small courtyard amongst the cloisters. Cool, but kinda creepy. I don't know why I always feel that way in these old cathedrals. I am a Christian but I don't find these places to be very warm and inviting. That's not to say that they (the congregation) aren't, I wouldn't know as I've never been to a Roman Catholic service. But it all seems to be about dwelling on the negative and the whole worship of the passion - rather than focusing on Christ's resurrection and new life. But that's just my impression.

So when we're done looking at the church it's back, up the 75 stairs and Mom announced she was not going up/down those stairs again today. Her cold was still in full force and she was extremely exhausted. Dad and I were going to pack up the laptops and head to the business centre to do the email thing and we were to keep an eye open for where we could grab dinner and perhaps get some take-a-way for Mom. However, when I asked Dad what he wanted for dinner he said 'spaghetti'. So on the way back we stopped at the grocery store to see if we could find the ingredients for me to cook dinner at the apartment as we've got a kitchen with pots, pans etc.

I'll say it again, grocery shopping in a foreign country is a challenge. I do have a Spanish phrase book but like all my other books it's in a box packed away somewhere in my folks basement in Canada. So I'm going on instinct here. I pretty much cook from scratch so I know what vegetables are what but trying to figure out which can has diced tomatoes isn't all that clear even when looking at the picture on the can. Also I'll still require a jar of tomato sauce to get the spicing right but I don't see anything with piquant on it so I grab the jar that has a picture of tomatoes and onions (I don't want the one with a picture of anchovies). Both Dad and I like our sauce spicy but unless I want a huge tray of chillies I have to bite the bullet and buy a jar of whole dried chillies. I'll just leave them in the cupboard for the next people renting the apartment, I'm sure that's how most of the things in the cupboard got there.

So last few ingredients, onions, red pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, tri-coloured rotini, some dry cured ham (like Parma ham), parmesan reggiano and a bottle of red wine and we're good to go. But as we walk past the vegetable isle Dad notices a lady weight her bag of something and he wonders if we are supposed to do the same as the scale then dispenses a sticker. Hmmm, this could be a challenge. We do a drive by and can see that any vegetables that are not pre-packaged have a numeric code above the price. OK, but the sign isn't always actually attached to the bin so I try to line up the signs to what I think the vegetable is and I get it 50% right. When the sticker for the zucchini came out part of the label said negro so I'm thinking I entered the code for the eggplant. I go back to the zucchini box again and look at the next box that has some prepacked ones to see if I can see what on the label is the name of the vegetable and then look at the signs to find the proper numeric code. Because I had been looking from an angle I was off by one. This time the sticker looked correct.

So groceries purchased we walk back to the apartment and I cook a fabulous dinner.

Dad did the dishes :>)

1 comment:

Colleen J said...

Chris, sounds like a real adventure. Your photos are beautiful! I can't wait to see the next installment. I know what it's like to be sick on holiday. Seemed to get a cold on every big trip I took! Ceej ;O)