Category Archives: The Family

Lesson 1532 – Barcelona – Day 3 – continued

 

 

From the top level of a bus, you get a different view of the city below. We drove by this monument and both Rosemarie and I had had enough wine to be able to giggle at it.

And then you see works of art like this, whose sole job is to simply reach for the heavens.

Barcelona meets the ocean. It explains the emphasis on seafood, as well as sights like this.

That iron wrought fence? Designed by Gaudi (his influence is everywhere.)

These little guys can be found everywhere. Barcelona has a very strong “Feed the birds” vibe to it.

After riding the bus for hours, one can work up another appetite (hey, when in Rome as they say.) We stopped at a cafe near the waterfront for tapas (small plates.) Olives to the Spanish are like beer nuts to Americans. At many restaurants, they put out a plate of them when you sit down. They taste like butter, but be careful, unless they are stuffed, you have to deal with the pit.

We decided to try this flatbread (Sun-dried tomatoes, olives, garlic) tapas. Crispy, oily enough, salty. It was perfect.

And of course, I was still in search of Cava and Sangria. This particular restaurant had it. We ordered a pitcher. Great decision. As the waiter poured our drinks, we exhaled the last of New Hampshire’s winter gloomy coldness from our lungs and toasted to our adventure.

And so with the sun shining down on us we ate the olives of Spain and partook of their heady spirits.

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1531 – Barcelona – Day 3 – continued

We were told by our walking guide the first day to get whatever was the “meal of the day” that was listed at local restaurants. It’s fresh, made with in-season ingredients and is usually very reasonably priced.

Who were we to argue with advice like that?

After we left the museum, we got back on the bus and then got off in the more modern part of the city. The difference in structures and history is like night and day – very metropolitan. It didn’t take us long to find a restaurant with an advertised meal of the day.

The only thing was that we had gotten there around 12 and for the most part, lunch is served around 2:00. Still we managed to convey what we wanted  (by doing a lot of head shaking and pointing) and were pleasantly surprised at the wine that is usually considered part of the meal.

It turned out that our meal was a type of paella (although this used pasta instead of rice) which is the national comfort dish and like everyone’s grandmother’s red sauce has it’s own secret recipe. This one had seafood which included those teeny, tiny clams that explode with fresh, sweet, beach flavor on your tongue.

Once again though, if you drink enough water and wine, eventually you have to use the restroom. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to flush this toilet.

Before we left the restaurant, wouldn’t you know, I found another chicken on their menu board.

Art and color is everywhere in Barcelona. It’s not unusual to walk by a building and see something like this mosaic, put there apparently, just because someone could.

Now that our bellies were full (but not bursting – you never have so much at a meal that you are uncomfortable) and we had gotten our wine on, it was time to get back on the bus to continue seeing the city looking down from the open deck.

 

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1530 – Barcelona – Day 3 – continued

I was especially looking forward to the history and museums in Barcelona and the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (also known as MNAC) didn’t disappoint. It’s worth it to go to this museum just to see the view from the front steps.

The MNAC is renowned in part for its collection of romanesque church painting. Here are just a few.

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Hey look, I even found a chicken (of course if you look close enough, you’ll always find chickens.)

 

There is one Picasso in the museum and it’s pretty impressive:

And plenty of religious art:

Including one of our favorites – Saint George! (seen slaying a very tiny dragon here)

We also walked through rooms and rooms of contemporary art including stained glass.

Furniture inspired by Gaudi.

And paintings that took my breathe away.

After being in the museum for some time, it dawned on us that it was probably time to eat again.

So we said goodbye to MNAC and got back on the tour bus in order to find ourselves some lunch.

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1529 – Barcelona – Day 3 – continued

Today’s big adventure (after we had licked the chocolate off our fingers and tipped our cups to get the last drips) was to take a Bus Tour of the city.

I had taken a similar bus tour when I had visited London and they are fantastic. You get to sit and ride (we were lucky the weather was good because we were able to sit on the open second tier) and watch the sights while listening to recordings through ear buds. It’s the best way to get the big picture of anywhere you go.

If Barcelona does anything, it celebrates diversity. Take this Gaudi-designed building.

Which is not too far from this street of modern area of stores.

They even make windows look like art!

We got off the bus at the Basilica de Sagrada Familia. The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is a large Roman Catholic church in Barcelona, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (remember that first building pictured above?) Construction began in 1882 and they still have miles to go. Gaudi was inspired by all things feminine and natural. His designs have pregnant swollen curves and often depict colorful fruit or plants. There’s a very sensual feel to his work.

Look at that detail. I kept wondering how on earth a person could design such a structure. How could he in the late 1800’s have the architectural knowledge to put this all together?

It’s an incredible structure that is truly breathtaking. Unfortunately, it’s also a huge tourist attraction. The lines were long, it was getting hot, so instead of waiting to get inside, we decided to get back on the bus to visit the art at the MNAC.

But before we got on the bus, we decided to get some water. Just want to show you what Barcelona’s idea of fast food at a food kiosk is.

Not too shabby, eh?

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1528 – Barcelona – Day 3

It’s not often that you are going to hear someone gush about breakfast but fasten your seatbelts because breakfast on Day 3 of our vacation was OUT OF THIS WORLD.

I had mentioned earlier that the airbnb apartment we rented was on the third floor of a building. The first floor consisted of tiny shops and restaurants that opened out to the narrow street.

Two doors over from our entrance was a pastry shop. And by pastry, I’m not talking the doughnut and muffin trays of plenty that we find in American coffee shops (Dunkin Donuts, I’m looking at you.) This shop actually made their own pastry confections and sandwiches and each cup of coffee was made to order carefully prepared by the coffee servers behind the counter.

Being lactose intolerant, I usually don’t have milk with my coffee, but years ago when I was in Paris, I learned what a café au lait was. I’ve never looked back.

Café au lait is French for coffee with milk HOWEVER, being the innovative French that they are, they don’t just use any milk, they use *steamed* milk. You end up getting a cup of coffee covered with frothy milky goodness. (although some like it with sugar, it’s certainly tasty enough to drink it straight up.)

One perfect cup of perfection.

And of course, if you’re going to have an excellent cup of coffee, you might as well pair it with an outstanding pastry.

Behold the chocolate croissant. Artful, flaky (not even a distant cousin to the limp microwaved ones we get in the U.S.) and filled with a deep satisfying rich, smooth, and not over sweet chocolate.

And it’s legal to have these for breakfast!!

Every single day if you want.

If you had only listened to the soundtrack and didn’t know what we were doing, one might think that another activity other than eating a chocolate pastry and drinking coffee was being performed.

“Oh, ah, ah, my God this is good.”

As we sat in the tiny pastry/coffee shop, we watched as people stopped in for their breakfast. Some wore the uniform of tourists, some professional clothes, and some wore the clothes of those who were going to spend their day doing manual work. All equal in the eyes of a bit of pastry and a cup of coffee – a time to connect with yourself and others in the morning.

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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Lesson 1527 – Barcelona – Day 2 – continued

 

A few more images from the end of Day 2 – which was actually our first full day in Barcelona.

We ended up having dinner at the “best burger place.”  The burgers are made to order, the rolls fresh and the options are fantastic. I chose a beetroot/bacon burger and yes, it was mighty, mighty fine. With the burgers of course we had beers (almost as universal a combination as peanut butter and jelly.)

When you drink, you eventually need to use restrooms. Many restaurants are tiny little holes in the walls and there just isn’t a lot of room for bathrooms. It’s not unusual to see signs like this.

Which open to bathrooms that typically look like this (multiple stalls.) Continue reading

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Lesson 1526 – Barcelona – Day 2 – continued

Our tour guide Aidan had given us some extra advice at the end of our walk. “Try the cava,” he said. “It’s a local sparkling wine like Champagne. If you’re brave you can order sangria and cava, but just be careful because it’s strong and has quite a kick.”

“Also,” he continued. “I know that you probably don’t think of burgers when you think of Barcelona but we have some of the best burgers around.” Intrigued, I listened as he gave us the name and directions to a particular burger restaurant. As one who always appreciates a really good burger (and who, sadly has found so very few of them in my travels) I was intrigued. Yup, we’d be having burgers in Barcelona.

Emboldened by our newly-found knowledge of the city, Rosemarie and I stopped at a sidewalk café just off the plaza to have some more of the tapas (small dishes) that you find at all restaurants.

We ordered seafood tapas with mussels, seafood stuffed olives, a bag of chips, and miniature clams that when eaten burst forth with the sweet clean flavor of a salty beach breeze.

I also ordered a cava, Rosemarie a sangria. This restaurant didn’t serve them together. “But you could just add them yourself,” the waiter told me. I declined and instead poured my wine from its dark green bottle into my glass.

 

We ate our tapas. Never one for mussels, I tried one hoping the texture had changed since the last time I had eaten one. It hadn’t. Instead I concentrated on the tiny clams placing them delicately on top of a chip. Sweet, salty. Perfect.

Glassware is a little different in Barcelona’s restaurants. It’s smaller. Flutes are slender and when served wine you don’t get the typical stemmed wine glass, instead you typically get a low round glass. “It’s so small,” Marc said when I showed him the photos. “You’d have to constantly keep refilling it.”

But that’s the point. People don’t chug wine or alcohol like we Americans do. (In fact if you want to locate a tourist, look out for the people who finish a drink before the food even arrives.) Instead they sip their drinks from small glasses while eating the food.

Always with food.

As we sat, I looked out onto the busy plaza across the street. It was now late afternoon. People had woken from their siestas (yes, they really do close shops at midday) and were getting ready for the evening. A low-key energy buzzed – people soaking in the light of the sun before it set. Different languages floated to us as parade after parade of tourists passed by. I saw a gay couple – both men dressed in stylish black, animated in their discussion, holding hands. No big deal.

I watched as a woman worked her way through a crowd. Watch your valuables, I thought. If you lose them, you have no one to blame but yourself.

Along with the sun’s heat, I had, even on our first day in Spain, absorbed some of the Barcelonan culture. It is what it is. Nothing to get excited about.

Our waiter came by, “Would you like another?”

“Si, Senior, yes, please.”

When the drinks arrived, I leaned back in my chair, turned my face toward the sun viewing the entertainment before me, and I exhaled.

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

Like what you read here? Consider subscribing to this blog so that you’ll never miss a post. And feel free to share with those who may need a little chicken love.

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