Barcelona Day 2
We thought we’d be up for breakfast early, not. I woke up and saw it was 12:30 and woke up the crew. Honestly, we sort of stayed on NYC time. Dinner is generally late and we were pretty wired until 1:30. So we jumped out of bed and got on with our day.
First stop, Cal Pep. Everybody’s recommendation. An institution. The thing to do is sit at the long bar but lines start early and I didn’t think Josh would be so into that waiting thing so I opted for reservations in the backroom. That worked out just fine. Tapas central. We just let them bring it on. Josh’s daily favorite is the Spanish ham. Similar to prosciutto. We got a plate of that to start which is served with bread. The bread is generally served cut in half and rubbed down with tomato juice and olive oil. This really soaks in and tastes great. Works well with the ham. We also had mushrooms sauteed in olive oil and herbs, tiny clams cooked the same way ( a classic dish ), tortillas which is eggs and potatoes poached into a small pie. I really liked the tortillas. We sort of hit the wall after that. Our systems were sort of thrown off. We ended with tiny glasses of whipped cream that were lemon and caramel flavored. All good. I love the vibe there too. If you are in Barcelona, this is a must go to.
Then we headed over to the Picasso Museum. The area that we were walking through is called El Born. It is close to the waterfront and becoming quite a trendy area. Tiny windy streets. En route we stopped into a few shops. The chocolate shops and olive oil shops were fun. Chocolate is big in Barcelona. We also found a very cool paper mache shop that makes masks and characters. A Catalan specialty because we saw this in a variety of places. Josh bought a fantastic mask for Halloween that goes over his entire head. Quite realistic. If I ever had a costume party, I’m getting on line and having them send me one. The store is called Arlqui Macares.
The Picasso Museum is like no other. The majority of work that they have there is from his early years. A 3000 piece collection. Works from the age of 15 and on. Picasso lived in Barcelona when he was 13. The works are more like classic pieces such as seasides, paintings of people (his mom and dad who were his models), hands, feet, etc. Gives you a better insight into where he started. Picasso grew from the basics. He moved to Paris later on and was heavily influenced by Toulouse Latrec which you can see in his paintings. I found the museum fascinating after just having recently been to the exhibit at the Whitney where Picasso was shown to influence so many painters of the 20th Century. Picasso was obviously heavily influenced from his surroundings in Paris and the artists that Vollard was representing too. Just proves that all talents are influenced by their experiences and other artists.
From this area we walked over to the Cathedral. The Barcelona Cathedral began construction in 1298. It has survived which is quite a feat in itself. In the middle of the Cathedral is a area where there are geese hanging out. The surroundings of that are crypts. Then down another hall is the huge Gothic interior where services are held. The grand ceilings and architecture are amazing and thinking about how they built this in 1298 came a flurry of questions from Josh.
We then made our way down to the waterfront. It is open and expansive. A total different vibe and view. A large statue by Lichenstein sits in the plaza as you walk down to the water. We went down to see the Aquarium. Josh loved it. Truthfully, so did I. One of the best I have seen. The grand finale is when you literally walk through an expansive area that makes you feel as if you are underwater. There are loads of sharks and stingrays. It is wasn’t for the glass, you’d be staring into the eyes of a shark. Their teeth are better to see through the glass too. Pretty mean looking. At this point we were starting to fade. Instead of hiking back to our hotel we stayed around the area since we were having dinner there. We strolled, shopped and walked into the Santa Maria church in the middle of the El Born area and watched a wedding.
Our dinner was at Passdis D’en Pep which my brother had been to years ago. They have been around for about 25 years…we asked. Here there are no thoughts, they bring it out to you and what you get is what you get. After the full day we had, it was perfect. You begin with a plate of ham and tomato bread, tiny shrimps that have been steamed and tiny tiny clams that have been doused in herbs and olive oil and snails. The snails were incredible. Josh wasn’t sure but dug in. Big hit. They baked them in salt and olive oil is inside of the bodies. Served right on top of the salt. Then we had large shrimp in olive oil and the best thing we had which was squid risotto. Small bodies of squid cooked in ink and rice. The rice was aborrio rice and served al dente. I’d like to try and duplicate that dish. Then we each had a piece of roasted Dorado. We were beyond full but dessert was next. Tiramasu, profiteroles and rich chocolate cake. We literally rolled out of there, grabbed a cab and hit the hay.