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Ocean and waves and blue as we land.

Landscape like California as we leave the airport  – brown, dry, dusty and palm trees. I’ve missed palm trees and I didn’t even know it!

Clean streets and modern buildings mixed in with older high-rise buildings with people’s whites on the balconies drying and looking slightly shabby.

Olives – huge and full of flesh and flavor.

La Boqueria

A meat stick thing-y at Mercat de la Boqueria – for one euro… 5 slices of different yummi meatness all skewered onto a handy walk-around-with-me treat.

Color. Especially in La Boqueria – the famous market off Las Ramblas. I was searching for a reason to buy mangos and asparagus and fish and nuts and lichees. How would I pack eggs? Hmmmm.

Soaring light and a soft glow of history and stained glass windows in the Cathedral of Barcelona.

Placa Reial- the only ‘planned’ square in Barcelona… with harmony in the buildings and the lights by Gaudi and the fountain of the Three Graces bathed in moonlight and perfection. Can’t wait to sit in one of the cafes when it’s sunny out…

Barcelona Cath

Food.

Tapas. Heaven. Wine. Bliss.

I woke up early to work before traveling here. I ran out the door to Schiphol and climbed on board the flight out of breath and grateful for their ingredient-mystery sandwich. At least KLM still gives you a sandwich! So I was unfashionable hungry at a distasteful early time for Barcelona… 6:30pm… and I ended up up the tourist ‘seating.’ In other words – me and all the other non-natives…

Placa Reial

I am not sure who I felt worse for – the waiters watching the Chinese struggle with a mini-sausage tapas dish, or people listening to headphones at their table, or me! At least it made for great dinner entertainment.

There was this one gal….She wore a pink sweater and pink nails that make Barbie’s Dream House look understated and elegant; she’s got a camera bigger than her head and she’s drinking some sort of something that comes served in a beer mug and with a straw… I fear it’s non-alcoholic.

Then there’s the  couple… he’s got earphones and an mp3 player the size of a nail-file and she has an iPad… dinner conversaton at this table is bopping and rocking!

OMG – She’s looking at some some sort of award show crap… is it Award show season already??? I’ve forgotten about the worship of the Red Carpet pictures.

I suddenly like the Germans across the room a lot – with their sangria and plates of tapas that they obviosuly are wondering how to eat… do you cut with a knife? Do you remove the skewer first?

Hunger satisfied… I wander cobbled streets and make it over to Cafe Schilling – much lauded by the travel guidebooks. Damn those guys for being right.

Cafe Schilling

It was dark and had candles  and comfy tables and marble counters and Elton asking “I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words…?” and people reading newspapers while sipping a frothy beeer or a glass of red wine … and bottles of wine linedup against the walls like brave little soldiers.

My kinda spot: Marble tabletops and dark wood – now a saxophone is crooning and making me think of the early days of Starbucks when Peacock and Carlin and I would sneak off campus to refuel before returning to teach 15-year olds again; before Starbucks was filled with moms and prams and high school students doing homework. Schilling is a spot where you could lose a few hours over conversation or a book or watching the world go by it’s large windows. And blissfully – no one is smoking!

Okay – I like Barcelona!

 

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