Saturday, June 29: I get off the Barcelona Bus Turista back in the heart of the city to explore a bit of La Ribera, cut off from the Gothic Quarter, Barri Gòtic , by Via Laietana, which was constructed in 1908. La Ribera was once the commercial center of medieval Barcelona. I’m headed for the Esglesia de Santa Maria del Mar, which opens onto Passeig del Born, a plaza that once was home to medieval jousting tournaments. The Gothic church was built in the 14th century. It was always a simple church, lacking the ornate decoration of most Gothic churches, and when the anarchists gutted it in 1909 and 1936, it was simplified further. I love its lofty open spaces, fine proportions and simple interior design.
I love labyrinthine streets like these in any European city. I enjoy looking up at the wrought iron balconies, hung with laundry, brimming with plants, or occupied by elderly ladies in flowered house dresses holding fluffy dogs. I always like to imagine myself living in one of these flats. 🙂
I stop for una cerveza in a colorful little cafe reminiscent of Gaudi.
While seated at the cafe, I look out at the little square and I see some extra-large people proceeding down the street with no fanfare at all.
And of course, more intriguing balconies. I wonder what life is like in those flats with their romantic balconies?
When I return to bcn fashion house, I find Matt ensconced on the patio working away at his computer. He says he spent all day here because his paper about the conference he attended is due when he returns to work on Monday. He apologizes for not showing up for breakfast; he tells me he went back out after we came back and ended up getting lost and unable to find the hotel for 1 ½ hours. Then he slept in this morning. Oh dear. There’s that bit of wild streak I talked about earlier. Anyway, he gives me his card and I promise to put Adam in touch with him regarding his institute and his work as a food scientist.
I relax for a bit in my room, drinking an Estrella beer and looking through my pictures. Then I put on a clean skirt and top and head out to Casa Alfonso, a couple of blocks away, for a glass of wine and a light dinner. While I wait for my dinner, the waiter brings me fresh bread with some kind of red sauce drizzled on top. I ask the waiter what it is, and he tells me it is tomato juice mixed with olive oil. It’s delicious. I also order a light appetizer of jacket potatoes with green asparagus and Romesco sauce. I delve right into the food, destroying the artistic presentation, before I remember that I should have taken a picture. Ah! Food is so ephemeral for a foodie such as myself. I need to remember to pause and enjoy the art of it all before I start stuffing it into my mouth.