Two days, that’s all I had. We were in London but my gypsy heart wasn’t satisfied. “Who flies to Spain for 2 days?” my hubby glared at me in annoyance. “Mi amor, hacemos”(My darling, we do), I put on my Spanish vocabulary in play and batted my long eyelashes at him. He rolled his eyes at my charade, “Things you make me do!” And we were up in the air, heading to Barcelona.
The rooms were lovely in Catalonia Plaza Catalunya and staff courteous, however there was no time to enjoy the hotel as I wanted to feel the vibe of the city ….so I got into my shorts and flats to combat the heat and walk and patiently waited for my Hubby to freshen up. Now, its no secret that the best way to put a man’s tension to rest is feed him a good meal….and fast. So, as we walked down La Ramblas(Barcelona’s oxford street), my eyes darted around to find a perfect filling vegetarian meal that could be aptly spiced up to suit my hubbyâ€™s tastebuds. I got lucky with Maoz falafel, I could now take him anywhere.
Lined with trees on either side, the La Ramblas, the most buzzing street of Barcelona had a mixed vibrant energy, tourists, performers, bizarrely dressed characters standing poised for a photo-op for a euro. I smiled to myself, I was finally in Spain. There were tiny restaurants, small souvenir stalls, and ofcourse the gelato and icecream n waffle shops that sent me drooling. Everything looked so delicious and mouth- watering that honestly I didn’t care about the calories going in. So I picked up a scoop of strawberry yogurt/icecream over a crisp chocolate waffle. My hubby couldn’t help but laugh looking at the ecstasy filled expression that burst on my face with the very first bite. Great! So basically my eating the icecream had cooled him off…I didn’t know how that worked but who cared! We were off to a great start.
At the end of the street is Placa de Catalunya. A huge fountain, Font de Canaletes was the star attraction of the square. Pigeons fluttered around, pecking at the grains scattered by tiny tots as their mothers looked on indulgently and I remembered my lazy holiday afternoons with my kids. The magic fountain, Montjuic, another tourist attraction was about 10 mins away, but it has specific timings for display and since we were short on time we decided to leave that for later.
We headed towards the Riberia district which is known for its Gothic Flamboyant Architechture. The Cathedral of Sant Eulalai is dominant structure in the Gothic square. Her crypt stands in the church and the 13 white geese inside the cloister, represent the age she was martyred. The faÃ§ade of the church stands large and daunting with its pointed steeples, the structure outside more severe as compared to the abundant light that flooded the insides of the church. The windows had stained glass paneling which was quite appealing in contrast to the somber stone paneling. The imagination and creativity that was there during the medevial times fascinated me. All the lanes around this area were very artistically designed and as we walked by, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the cobbled lanes of Venice.
From the Gothic Square outside the church we headed towards the Placa Reial or the Royal plaza. It was a huge square with restaurants all around and a lovely fountain in the center. There were musicians serenading the tourists with their compositions, gymnasts, artists, magicians all displaying their talents. It was a place where a delightful evening could be spent. We decided, this was it. We would have dinner and then head for the nightclubs. Too many things were left to cover but I dared not say, “time is so short.”
Italiano Rossini was a restaurant that seemed to be abuzz with lots of young couples. Well, we did fit into that genre since we were on our own. A bottle of the best red wine, lip smacking risotto and we were set to dance the night away. Since we didn’t want to venture too far we went to the nearest ones at the Placa Reial itself, nightclubs Sidecar, Jamboree and Karma.
The morning began with an early breakfast at 9.30am, considering that we must have slept at 3am after clubbing.. we headed to see the Sagrada Familia. Its construction had begun in the 1860’s and was still in the making. Almost 5 generations had seen the structure rise. Planned with 18 towers, 2 signifying Christ and Virgin Mary each, the 4 Gospels and lastly the 12 Apostles. However, Gaudi didn’t live beyond the completion of the first tower. The Sagrada Familia was probably Gaudi’s best gift to Spain. The painted Venetian glass glistening against the sun, the colorful enameled ceramic tiles, the exquisite workmanship, the sheer magnanimity of the structure sends you into a tizzy. It was a breathtaking creation of artistic passion for life with its vibrant vivid colors. Infact the entire city of Barcelona is beautiful, my trip to Barcelona seemed totally worth it.
While I could have gone on and on…I knew it was time to do some more anger…oops sorry…hunger management. The Placa de Sant Josep Orial street, which was home to many quaint shops was our next destination. But first, my Hubby had to be fed. We decided to enjoy the outdoor seating of a lovely Tapas place as we would get to enjoy the feel of the city. I quickly placed the order for a veg Paella, an exquisite rice preparation with loads of veggies and tempered with spices…just right for the Indian palate. It was delicious and the chef took it upon himself to explain in detail of how it was cooked with such love that I could have eaten it all over again. As I asked for the bill I was pleasantly surprised when they said it was on the house, and all that they wanted was a photo of the star of Te Amo (the Spanish version of Maine Pyar Kiya). It was then that I remembered that my film had been dubbed in Spanish. I blushed with embarrassment. Sometimes the unexpected happens.
All taken care of we ventured into the delightful stores housing local designer products ranging from clothes to bags, masks to swords. Having had my fill of the top brands in London… I was happy to rummage through some uniquely crafted products. Individual in their art n design, the designers themselves were owners of these shops. They would love to make pleasant conversation with you, share their passion of creativity with you, even if you didn’t buy anything at all. I absolutely loved the vibe. The “Owl” handbag I picked up there, still is subject of conversation at many of my luncheons here in Mumbai.
Two days are definitely not enough to enjoy Barcelona, let alone Spain but I had got a glimpse of was in store. I would be back for more. We returned to our hotel to shower n dress for the night. We were going to some of the swanky places known to have after-parties for Madonna, Lady Gaga and Coldplay, highly recommended by my internet toured children. Port Olympic, lined the best of places; The Opium Bar, Danzatoria and Shoko that even has beds on the beach. The night was young and for the Senorita the salsa had just begun.