3-4 Aug 2011
For a guy like me, vacation starts the moment I turn off work email on my iPhone and walk out of the office. For Jamie, vacation starts after she has arrived at the hotel and has had a moment to freshen up. With the spirit of vacation in hand, I enjoyed most of the flight, while Jamie tried to sleep. Unfortunately, I was seated next to a woman intent on taking as many photographs as she possibly could, in spite of the fact that much of our view was obstructed by the wing of the aircraft. She took pictures of the fog over San Francisco, caught a few of the sunsetting somewhere over Canada and then snagged a few winners of the night sky using her flash. I could only imagine what sort of journalistic prizes awaited for this clever work. After the meal was served, and everyone finally fell asleep, she then began snapping more photo’s of the sun rising, one approximately every 10 minutes. I asked, no begged her to stop and she would only smile blankly at me. Otherwise, the time passed quickly.
After a few entertaining hours at Heathrow, we were on our way to Barthelona! Our hotel room at The W Hotel was upgraded to a suite and we not only have great views, but a massive room. Thank you JA!
We were hungry and craving Tapas for dinner. We hopped the 17 bus across Baceloneta, to Balboa Street near the Palau de Mar and found Vaso de Oro. the long thin bar occupied most of the room, with Catalans cramming around the bar taking up the rest. What to order? English is not particularly prevalent in these parts, so I had to muddle through my best High School Spanish [Thank you Mr. Murray!] and put a decent dinner together. We had Patatas Bravas, fiery spiced fried potatoes, grilled steak, and two types of ham sandwiches. One ‘bocadillo’ was just plain Iberico ham on bread w/ olive oil and the other a sort of grilled chess. Iberico ham is a master work of cured meat that must be tasted. The grilled cheese, if you will, had cheese, ham, EGG, l&t, and large amounts of mayo. The food was excellent and the atmosphere was casual and friendly. Best of all, we were seating right over the grill station Thanks McClure and Tony for the recommendation.
As good as that was, the highlight was the walk home. On the Palau, we heard live music and walked over to find a party in full swing. There was a brass band playing all types of music, that even jammed out the Imperial March and the theme to Knight Rider! I’ve never seen a street performance quite like this one and loved it!
Walking further along, we happened on a jazz band, with a quieter following, and then another band playing more traditional Spanish style music. After stopping for Gellato, we strolled home arm and arm, seeing no less than 4 more of these parties. I wanted to stop at each one, but we were a little tired from the flights and decided to call it an early night…at midnight. With vacation officially under way, Jamie and I are pretty excited about the journey ahead!