When we woke up this morning we were moving pretty slowly. Is it possible to have too much fun, food, and festivities on a vacation? If so, I think we were butting up against the limits. So we took it slow getting ready for our day—our LAST day of touring. Day 18 would be one long day of travelling.
One pressing thought was presents. Did we buy enough? There were lots of people who helped us make this trip happen, and we wanted to make sure to bring a little something back for them. So we decided we would take the subway to the waterfront to look at the Mediterranean one more time, then walk up through El Riberia for some good gift shopping.
Years ago the waterfront had been one of the seedier areas of Barcelona, but the city soaked a lot of money in it for the Olympics, and we were really impressed with the infrastructure there at the beach—a huge boardwalk with lots of restaurants.
We were also pleased that the population at the beach was so varied. There were lots of seniors sunning and playing games in the sand. An example of this was the four 70-something men in speedos playing some type of racquet-less tennis game. It was about ten AM, so we figured the kids were all still in bed.
After touring the waterfront, we walked towards the Mercat Santa Caterina, where we were told by our Cinc Sentits waiter we would find a gourmet foods store where we could buy some ******** to take home for some friends. Sorry, can’t tell you what it is until the presents are delivered! As you know, I have never met a market I did not like. And though this was much smaller than the Boqueria, I got that same “market” thrill I always do. Maybe I should work in a market some day? They really make me happy, probably because of my interest in whole foods/local foods movements.
So we found the gourmet foods store, and as we walked in I noticed that the young clerk was reading his Facebook page. I thought that was pretty funny. Then a really loud, really big American man came in like a dust storm and started demanding (in English) to taste a bajillion different olive oils to find the one $10 bottle he would take back home with him, all the while exclaiming that California has the best olive oil in the world. This was one of those moments I was glad that everyone we met in France and Spain thought John was Scottish and I was Norwegian. Despite the drama, we found what we came for, then realized all this shopping was making us hungry.
There was a Tapas place nearby that was in the blogs and guidebooks, but hadn’t made our top list of “must-go” meals. But it was close, so he headed to Taller de Tapas. The prices were good, so we ordered a lot of food. Let’s see. Potatoes with eggs and chorizo, paella, grilled squid, tomato and anchovy salad with beans, and salt cod fritters since we had not tried them yet. The food was good, but I think we had been very spoiled throughout the trip so it was not a “wow” meal for us.
We went back to the hotel for a little rest, then headed back out to complete our shopping. That night we had our tasting dinner that was included with the package. It was at Mexiterranean, which was a fusion restaurant combining Mexican and Mediterranean flavors. John commented that it was a good “gateway” meal to get us back home. We started with drinks in the bar (also part of the package) and I told the bartender “make something fun.” That he did! We had strawberry mojitos, which were so refreshing and had a nice level of sweet and fruity taste.
The rest of the dinner went like this: tapas trio with ceviche, bruschetta, and chicken torta; sea bass with guacamole; Iberian pork with ancho chile; and gasp! a brownie with ice cream. The waiter was nice enough to bring me Tiramisu instead because my second least favorite food behind lima beans is brownies. I hate brownies. The tiramisu was good though. So this was a fun dinner, and a good way to end the trip since we could walk upstairs and go straight to sleep.