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Friday, February 12, 2010


I finally got organized this morning around noon, and asked the concerge (this is how it is spelled in Spain) where was the best lunch restaurant in Barcelona. She suggested Ciudad Condal, a tapas cerveceria, a five minute walk up the Rambla from the Meridien. This hotel is only a shadow of the Delhi counterpart, for there are no amenities, no evening cocktails, no free breakfast and is quite small. However, the location is perfect, the Boqueria (open market, where I bought a bottle of red Rioja, some Jamon Serrano--ham, blue cheese, bread, nuts/dates and onion for my in room dining tonight) is a few minutes walk and there is an adjacent supermarket.

Barcelona is the ultimate walking city, and, on this chilly sunny day,a definite life highlight for me, as I like to just walk around, if it is safe. Crossing the streets was sane, unlike Hanoi, Saigon and Delhi. Many wear gloves, for the temperature must be in the 30's. There are mimes, entertainment, boutiquish shops and so on along the large and long middle pedestrian walkway of the Rambla de Catalunya. But most of all is the people, most in jeans, seemingly headed nowhere, but joyful.

I entered Ciudad Condal at one and got a choice table. I ordered a local beer, a half bottle of cava (Spanish champagne) and an assortment of tapas. Rapaz (to the left) was the keeper of the entrance and my waiter. I told him he would be famous by tomorrow. There must have been more than a hundred dining here, and all white, except for a young Japanese couple (there are a lot Japanese walking the Rambla) and me. When I left at 2PM there was a long waiting line.

By the way, this is a big weekend, with the Vancouver Winter Olympics (5,500 athletes from 82 countries), Mardi Gras (Rio Carnival starts tomorrow and the New Orleans parades began a long time ago, culminating with Fat Tuesday on February 16) and America's Cup (being held in Valencia, just south of here--the last time America won was 1992).

Dow Jones Industrials and price of crude oil on the right.

Tropical Cyclone Rene is now up to 70 MPH will threaten American Samoa this weekend.



Leighton said...

Aloha, Pat:

Loved your commentary on Barcelona which I enjoyed tremendously when there on my 2008 world tour. Since you are near Plaza de Catalunya, you should try to find Els Quatre Gats (The Four Cats) on Montsio 3, a side street about two blocks in from the east side of the Plaza. This was a favorite haunt of Picasso's and has been preserved as a fine bistro with a lot of charm. Creamy yellow wallcoverings, wood furniture, strolling guitars, linen and tablecloths, and excellent seafood. We also saw a good flamenco performance at Los Tarantos in Placa Reial 17, a small square off the east side of the Ramblas about where the supermarket (Carrefors?) that you mentioned is. And absolutely do not miss visiting Gaudi's Sagrada Familia Catedral in east Barcelona (Carrer de Sardena). Sounds like you are having a great time!


Patrick Kenji Takahashi said...

Yes, Barcelona is fun. Unfortunately, my schedule only allowed me to stay for two days, so I'll need to return someday soon.