First night in Barcelona, we’d just finished filing a report at the police substation under the fountains in Plaza Catalunya. The heavens had opened while we were underground and it was raining and wet, but that didn’t slow down the energy of the Plaza one bit. Folks were still hurrying hither and yon in this very popular and busy square, which sits about a half of a kilometer from our apartment.
Time to shake off the bad juju that kicked off our trip by ducking in out of the rain at the Cafe Catalunya across the street. In dry weather, we’d have selected one of their tables on the plaza itself. After all, sitting out on a public plaza with a bottle of wine and watching the world go by is one of those quintessential European experiences I wish we could pull off in the U.S., but our archaic liquor laws generally don’t allow for such nonsense. Continue reading “Our First Tapas in Barcelona”
Watch out for the pickpockets, they said. Watch out for the gypsies, they said. Watch out for the street urchins, they’ll rob you blind, they said. Barcelona is notorious for its various kinds of street thieves.
So I planned accordingly. I bought us belt loop wallets that hang down the inside of our pant legs. I bought a secure travel bag reinforced with steel mesh so the cross-body strap and the side panels cannot be slashed, with locks on it for the various zippered pockets so they can’t be surreptitiously opened. We’re employing best practices of not carrying everything we have, nor keeping everything in one or two places — spreading things out and alternating what we’re carrying. We have photocopies of all our important documents.
We are not taking a “tourist” vacation with a checklist of sites and museums we must visit. We are taking a three-week break from our daily lives to experience life in Spain, wandering its streets, finding what we find, seeking out the places the locals frequent, meeting them and learning about the way Spaniards live.
It’s been observed that my last post contained a couple of cursory nods to non-foodie features of the cities we’ll be visiting, but it really read like a food blog. Guilty as charged.
Here’s the thing. We are not taking a “tourist” vacation with a checklist of sites and museums we must visit. We are taking a three-week break from our daily lives to experience life in Spain, wandering its streets, finding what we find, seeking out the places the locals frequent, meeting them and learning about the way Spaniards live. Continue reading “Living vs. Touring in Spain”
Barcelona, Zaragoza, San Sebastián, and Valencia will be our homes-away-from-home as we explore the food & wine and the cultures of Catalunya, Aragon, the Basque Country, and the autonomous community of Valencia over the course of three weeks.
Our itinerary also includes an afternoon layover in Madrid and two overnight side trips: one to Girona, where we will lodge in the shadow of its famous cathedral, and one to Logroño, the capital of La Rioja, whose renowned Ruta de Pintxos awaits. We’ll wind up the trip with a day-long drive up the Mediterranean coast from Valencia to Barcelona for our return to the U.S.