Woke, finally, after nearly 12 hours. We slowly get ready for a day out and, after sticking my nose out the window several times, we leave wearing coats. Two steps outside the front door and it is clear we will need sunglasses and lighter outerwear. I return to the room to make the switch and then we set out. Coffee is our first mission. No in-room coffee pot or hot water source, so I can’t make my usual French press pot.
After walking a couple of blocks we choose a non-Starbucks. Then we choose a pastry and I order, or I should say, attempt to order. Almost any clerk in Barcelona will have more English than we have Spanish (we don’t even try Catalonian). The nice young woman says we want a double (dooblay). The gals manning the espresso machine giggle over my order of “dos double”. Mitch isn’t willing to chance what he’ll get if I try to order him a latte. The dos double are delicious, and I am quite taken with the simple croissant.
We do the Macba (Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona) this morning. A Robert Venturi building that we complain about every time. A wall of windows make it hot, and means they have built walls between windows and the exhibit rooms, making it claustrophobic. This is not an experience of exploration. Dammit they are going to tell you what you should see and what is art, and what you should take away from it. All very socialist and also, mostly, not very interesting. The reason that artist has never had a solo exhibition? Maybe it wasn’t warranted?
Nice walk to nearly Avenue Diagonal. Lunch outside. Food mediocre to good, but wine is excellent—so we had two. We stop at a nearby supermercato to get vodka and olives. I have vermouth with me because I hate buying that big bottle knowing I’m going to use about a quarter cup. I brought a 3 oz atomizer because that was the only remaining container I had. I am anxious to try spraying my vermouth over my ice.
At the supermercato the liquor is locked so I go to the cashier to get a bottle of vodka. She misunderstands me, thinking I say water closet, which I figure out as I get walked over by a lower-level clerk. I laugh and say no, vodka—alcohol. She walks me to the rubbing alcohol. No, follow me! I walk her to the liquor case and point. She laughs and says Podka? Yes, we both agree that is what I want. She goes to get it and has fun telling the guy in the warehouse. Back to the Palace where we crawl into bed for our siesta around 4 pm.
We wake up about 6 pm and get dressed again so I can get today’s wi-fi password at the front desk, and more importantly, arrange for a martini glass, a beer glass and ice so I can mix cocktails. I have drawings of what I want, glass-wise, having determined that this conversation might not go smoothly. I am referred to the waiter in the bar and after consulting my drawings and hearing my ice request, he agrees to deliver them to our room. I could tell he was a little torn—bigger tip likely on a drink in the bar, but perhaps he figured out that wasn’t going to happen. The items are delivered as requested at 7:30 and I use a variety of glasses to create a shaker. Only a little bit of spillage as I shake the drinks. The atomized vermouth is genius. The olives are tiny so we get extras. I realize I forgot the toothpicks in my request from the bar, but I’ve got lots of size 1(2mm) dpns, so we are able to stab our olives. I forbid leaving the needles in the drinks—I might need them! I start my first bit of knitting.
We go out to find Embat, one of our favorite restaurants on our last trip. After determining it isn’t open tonight (I’ve also called) we buy 10 ticket passes for the train and go to Barceloneta and Cal Pep. We arrive sometime around 9:45. There are more people in line to eat than actually eating. After some sharp words we decide to wait (Mitch doesn’t love waiting on line). This is a bar-style (there is a sit-down restaurant, but we’ve never gotten that far) eatery. Mostly seafood. Tiny open kitchen with two cooks. 4 waiters, no waiting once you start to eat. We sit down at 10:20. Everyone leaves smiling. We have calamari, jambon, squid, croquettes (fish and chicken) and fried artichokes. A bottle of house red wine. We too leave smiling. Catch the subway back to our hotel which is at Passeig de Garcia.