Sunday, June 03, 2007

Impressions of Barcelona

Last week I was in Barcelona for work purposes. I didn't get to see too much of the city, but that won't stop me from sharing my impressions with you all.

It is a good-looking city. I'm no architecture buff, but even I can appreciate the hodge podge of styles that somehow all work together in this ancient town: Roman walls, medieval churches, Gaudi houses (one does wonder if this is the origin of the English adjective gaudy). All of this on the Mediterranean, no less!

It is a city where people appreciate the finer things. There is a Picasso museum (didn't have time to go), and a chocolate museum (I MADE time to go). In all honesty, the museum part (admission was about $6) wasn't terribly interesting. It was mainly chocolate sculptures and old tools the Incas used to pound the pulp out of cacao beans, with a little history of how it got to Europe (summary: The Spainards stole it from the New World). But the chocolate shop and bar at the end -- magnificent! Best hot chocolate EVER. And I bought a 90 percent pure bar, which is so dark and delicious! Mmmm.

Now that we're on the topic of food, I did eat very well while I was there. Tapas, seafood, lamb, and olives. I detested olives as Smitty will tell you, until I had fresh Spanish ones (black ones). I have been converted. My Italian ancestors will no doubt stop spinning in their graves now.

It wasn't all great. Getting a taxi in Barcelona is only slightly easier than passing through the eye of a needle, I think. And Catalan, not Spanish, is the primary language. It's not hard to follow the signs if you know Spanish and/or French, but my ears were confused and my American-accented Spanish did not seem to help. I had to resort to pointing at maps, or asking the hotel staff to instruct the driver.

You may wonder why there are no photos with this post. I took the camera, but not the battery. I blame Smitty for charging it. Just kidding, Smitty! Meanwhile, Smitty had the other camera with him in Hungary.

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6 Comments:

Blogger oldest kid said...

So, is Catalan similar to Spanish?

BTW, Mr. OK and I saw Spamalot yesterday and found it hysterically funny, as did the elderly woman sitting behind us who kept repeating all of the lines throughout the play.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Middle Kid said...

A 90% bar???? That's, like, the holy grail of chocolate worshippers! Maybe, someday, I'll be able to at least see a bar like that.

4:05 PM  
Blogger oldest kid said...

Why MK, that reminds me of one of the songs from Spamalot, about finding your holy grail. Each of us has a different grail, and now we know that yours is chocolate!

6:38 PM  
Blogger Middle Kid said...

Can you have more then one holy grail? If so, I might have a few more!

8:11 PM  
Blogger Smitty Werbenmanjensen said...

That's just a grail-shaped lamp. Bad, naughty Zoot!

8:18 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Mmmm.... chocolate!!

1:19 AM  

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