Today we finally finish our odyssey to Europe. The plane lands around 11AM today and it seems like ages since we got on in Los Angeles. We are hot and tired. Not a one of us slept at all. After picking up our Barcelona card for the metro and discounts, we all decide that taking a taxi to the hotel is about as much stress as we can handle right now.
We check into the Rambla Praktik where “luxe is less.” Actually it is all quite functional and thank goodness they will let us have our rooms right away. We know from past experience that the best thing to do for jet lag is get out in the sun so by 2PM, freshly showered, we start our Barcelona adventures.
Our main goal today is to see the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s fabulous cathedral. It is indeed fabulous in every sense of the word. While we all find the Nativity Facade rather grotesque, the Passion Facade is more to our liking, and the interior is ethereal. We make good use of the audio tour, listening and looking at everything until our poor jetlagged bodies cannot take any more.
Stumbling back to the hotel, we all decide that the best thing to do is take a nap until dinner time and agree to meet again at 8PM. 8PM is really too early for Spaniards to be eating but we need to be gentle with ourselves this first day. The hotel directs us to a restaurant called Matamala, just a block away. Of course the only other people eating at this freakishly early hour are Americans. By the time we leave around 9:30 PM, though, the place is filling up with locals as well.
We start with a couple of tapas type dishes, anchovies and olives, selected salumi, and they also bring a bread that is covered with tomato and oil. It is all pretty yummy. For our main selections, Sarah has chicken with pine nuts and plums (good), John has chickpeas with shrimps and pork jowl (very good), and I have a vermicelli paella with cuttlefish (Not a winner. Although made in a paella pan there is no crust on the bottom.) We have a nice bottle of Albarinho from Galacia. It is sauvignon blanc-ish but better. We all like it a lot.
Time to sleep.