Today we slept in and relaxed pretty much all day! We hopped all over Sevilla eating tapas and enjoying sangria, cerveca, and vino tinto. Our first stop was Los Colonias where we had some of our favorite tapas. Jeff really enjoyed the huervos con jamon. Which was a small piece of bread with ham and a tiny fried egg. I liked the bread with gazpacho and chopped ham. Moving on, we met a new friend at a very nice restaurant, Pando. We just stopped in here for a drink prior to siesta. We think our friend was the owner. He chatted with us about Sevilla and we told him about our troubles from the day before. Even though they were closing for siesta they offered us a healthy glass of vino tinto and cerveca on the house. We continued to enjoy Seville by walking through the narrow streets and viewing the lovely architecture. Today is the day we fell in love with Gelato! It seems that everyone has some ice cream around 6-7 each night. So we joined in.
We are off to Sevilla. The flight was quick! We rented a car at the airport and headed off to Seville with a map in hand. I was driving and Jeff was navigating. Driving was tough in town and we had trouble finding our way so it was a bit nerve racking. I guess we were sitting ducks for a crime. While sitting at a light someone hopped off their moped and opened our car door and grabbed my purse and took off. It shook both of us quite a bit. Driving became even more difficult as we got close to the hotel. The streets were extremely narrow and not well marked. This was not our best day. We decided to take the car back to the airport and grab a cab to the hotel. Fortunately this hotel, the Petit Palace had free internet access and we were able to quickly cancel all of my credit cards so all in all it was ok. I lost my knitting which was a baby blanket that was ½ finished and some of our travel guides. It was upsetting but we survived and still had all of our essentials such as passports and licenses. After getting over the shock and work associated with our little snatch and run we wandered out into the beautiful streets of Sevilla. We were located with in the center of Sevilla beside the most amazing cathedral. Tonight we had some tapas and strolled around enjoying some of the best architecture we’ve seen so far. There is a very strong Moorish influence in most of the building here. We also had to walk to the police station to sign and get a copy of the police report. We found a favorite little place just a block from our hotel that we rounded out our evening at. The back room of this place had the traditional large barrels that wine is stored in. We enjoyed the Sangria here.
Today we hopped the train to Sitges. Primarily known for its beach and a very popular destination for the gay community. This town was very cute. The streets were lined with small shops and cafes. We grabbed some lunch at Café al Fresco (recommended from Wallpaper) Jeff had a delicious dish of beef, noodles, asparagus, and other greens served cold. YUM!!! We enjoyed walking around the town and the beach was lovely (plenty of topless sunbathers!) The scenery by the cathedral was incredible and the water was crisp and blue! Very Mediterranean. After returning from Sitges, we toured around Barcelona one last time. We visited La Sagrada Familia which is Gaudi’s unfinished cathedral. We did not go in but the architecture from the outside is very unique and overwhelming. It is estimated that it will take another 50 years to complete this project. We also stopped to see and capture Gaudi’s other famous building (Casa Mila) which is an apartment building right in Barcelona. This was his final project before secluding himself at the Sagrada Familia. Gaudi’s tomb is located inside Sagrada Familia. We topped off our visit in Barcelona with a bottle of cava at Qvid and chatted with our new friend Joseph Lorenzo the restaurant owner. Followed by dinner at Moo…. One of Barcelona’s best! We had the tasting menu which included several courses with wine pairing for each course. We were also treated to a celebratory glass of cava here. The food was excellent. We enjoyed appetizers of olives with caramel and small cones filled with a creamy cheese. The courses included foie gras and spices, salmon with a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream, prawn with pig trotters, Sole with orange butter and almonds, lamb with cherries, liqorice and mint, duck with beetroot and red orange, a cheese sampling, strawberries tartar, toffee parfait with raisin ice cream and finally a small desert that complimented a perfume that they sell. Smelled great! Last but not least they offered chocolates from a small case…great presentation. Smooth and creamy. What a fabulous finish to our stay in Barcelona.
One of our best days! We caught the train to Montserrat and took a cable car ride to the top of the mountain to see the black virgin. When you enter the basilica the center is open air with a large circular tiled floor. People would stand at one end of the circle and remove their shoes and taking turns, would walk to the center of the circle and close their eyes and raise their arms up to the statue on the basilica (I think this is Christ). I did this as well but I’m not entirely sure what the history is here. Inside is the black virgin where newlyweds go to ask for a blessing on their marriage. We did this from a distance because the line to get up to the statue would have taken all day. Inside the basilica was beautiful. I can’t even begin to describe all the detail and hanging lanterns that lined the sides of the interior of the basilica. From here we hiked the walkway to the cross (Mirador de Saint Miguel), which was about a 30-minute walk from the basilica. The views from this point were incredible! It was absolutely breathtaking. The mountains loomed above us and the valley was beautiful scenery below. From Montserrat we took the train and subway to Parc Guell. Now a public park. This is where Gaudi intended to build a community of 60 dwellings. Only 2 houses were built and they are very unique. In addition to the 2 homes there is the wavy bench that is decorated with ceramic tile fragments and the lizard fountain that spits water. Before seeing the homes and the bench we climbed to the top of the park, which was several flights of stairs. Here we had a fabulous view of Barcelona. It was a great excursion and amazing to see some of Gaudi’s work. We definitely got in plenty of exercise today!!! We headed back to the metro stop Placa de Gracia, near our hotel. We were tired and hungry so we stopped at an outside café for a cerveca and some tapas as an accordion player serenaded us. We intended to go back out for dinner but we went back to the hotel, changed, went out for one more beer then decided to get some sleep. Long day, lots of culture, lots of walking and we saw some of the most wonderful scenery and architecture this day.
Today we hit the Barcelonetta (took the subway) and dipped our toes into the Mediterranean. The beaches were nice with shower stands to wash off the sand and plenty of topless women! We sat in a small beach café and sipped on a mojito and enjoyed the sun. After walking around the coast in the Barcelonetta we went in search of dinner at El Quatro Gats (the 4 cats – recommended by Bill and Lane) There we had a fabulous dinner. Jeff had the Lamb shoulder and I had the famous Monkfish stew. Dinner was topped off with a special treat of cava (champagne) from the waiter. From here we toured the street of La Born where we stopped off for some vino tinto and San Miguel (beer). Patrons were enjoying cocktails and tapas. This was a fun area filled with little bars and restaurants. Once again we finished our evening with a small pitcher of sangria at the cerveceria around the corner from our hotel (hoppin’ bar!!! Always packed.)
We got to the hotel around 9:30am and I had to get some rest! Our hotel was located in the Eixample. Which is right near all of the high end shopping and closest to some of the best restaurants and hotels in Barcelona. We stayed at the Hotel Alexandra. I was tired and suffering from a cold on day one of our honeymoon. However, by 1:00 that afternoon we were out and about walking the Las Ramblas and catching the life of Barcelona. Las Ramblas is a fun street filled with pet vendors (roosters, turtles, bunnies, ferrets) and movable human statues. Today we visited the Gothic Cathedral located in the Barri Gotic. This is an example of Catalonian Gothic architecture dating back to the 13th century. Inside was beautiful but outside was wrapped due to its ongoing construction. Today was a true tapas day. We stopped at a tapas place right near the cathedral first. We had yummy sandwiches. Then we popped into another Cerveceria for hot bombs (ball of potato and ham with hot sauce and ham) Later we had some more tapas. Jeff liked the chicken croquettes and I liked the pan con tomato (bread with tomato). We topped off our night at what became our favorite nightcap spot for a pitcher of some of the best Sangria!