Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Barcelona, Spain: Day 3

This morning we started out pretty early to get going on a Hopper bus and to go to the Louis Vuitton store. More to come on that later, but I'll say that Nick is now in the hole and I'm plus one wallet. Since the store didn't open until 10:30am and we were out and about by 9:30am, we stopped by a small cafe for breakfast and coffee.  Even though the temperature is only in the low 80's it is rather uncomfortable from the high humidity.  We will go onto our balcony early in the morning and still feel sticky. The good part about it is that we end up sweating a lot of toxins out.  Though we've been eating and drinking a lot, I don't feel any more flabby than I do when I'm at home.  I do think it's because we've been walking a cumulative 8+ miles a day. By the time we walked a few blocks down to the cafe, I was sticky and sweating.

Assorted breakfast sandwiches. 

Sister got an iced coffee.

I got a salami and cheese sandwich with a black coffee.  We noticed that a lot of the sandwiches here are dry.  My thought is that they are trying to showcase the meat and cheese inside the baguettes, but Nick thinks it's because they pre-make the sandwiches and without any dressing they keep better.  Nick is probably right. 

Mom got a panini.

Dad had some jambon in the apartment so he wasn't that hungry and only had a croissant. 

After doing a little bit of shopping that LV, we got on a Hopper  bus and headed to the Park Guell where Gaudi lived his last years and designed a small empire.  Nick, Sister and I decided to do a 4D Gaudi Experience, which was like a mild version of Star Tours mixed with Soarin' Over California.  The experience was a sensory show that misted us when going through water and shot air at our legs when birds were flying by. It was a great way to briefly see where Gaudi got his inspiration, though we all think he was pretty high on some sort of drug(s).  As much as I like site seeing and reading the history of famous landmarks, when it's hot and humid, I don't care nearly as much.  Since we got the tickets for the Gaudi Experience, we also got our park tickets at the same time as a bundle package.  We didn't realize that they staggered the entrance times so Mom, Dad, Ye Ma, Jerng Jerng and Den had to wait until 2:30pm to go in.  Our entrance time was at 1:00pm.  So we headed into the park without them to see what there was to see.

Salamander made of handbags at the LV store. 

Two day Hopper pass.

The Gaudi 4D experience.

One of the many outer buildings in the Park Guell. 
Entrance way to buying tickets.
We are standing in front of the Gaudi House Museum where he lived in until he died in 1926.  This outside portion of the house was free to view, but many of the buildings were an additional cost to the park tickets that we purchased. We didn't purchase tickets to go inside. 
We waited a while in line to get into the park so we were sweltering.  After finally going in the park at 1:00pm, we went straight to the food court and got a snack and beer to enjoy their air conditioning.  

The main attraction of the park was a mosaic salamander.  In pictures that we saw in pamphlets and online, this thing looked huge.  In reality, it couldn't have been ore than seven feet long.  It was also hard to get a decent picture because everyone want to get up close to take a picture near the piece of work.  I took a quick shot, but this is a much better picture of Gauid's salamander. Up close the detailing is really nice, but there were so many people hovering around it and there was no shade so we moved on rather quickly.

Up the stairs from salamander was a small colosseum-like area called the Hypostyle Hall that was meant to be used as a marketplace. The detailed ceiling was really neat to see and it was nice and cool in the open structure.  Up on top there was sandy open space that reminded me of a Greek colosseum sans stadium seating.   

Here we are on top of the colosseum where there was a large sandy square...it wasn't actually square shaped, but the pamphlet the park supplied called it a square.

Facing out toward the city of Barcelona with Gaudi's structures in the background.

Standing in the middle of the center of the open space with the mountain in the background.

  We were pretty impressed by the stone hallways around the park. Many of them were constructed at an angle.  Because of the archways, the halls also afford us with some relief from the sun and a really nice breeze.
This is the top part of the spiral ramp that leads into the center of the park.  

Delirious from the heat.

These helicoidal columns were pretty amazing.  Not only did they have a spiraling design, they were built at an angle.   

After much sweating and waiting for the rest of the family to come into the park, we left and waited for them in a small, air conditioned eatery. Nick got a Swiss chocolate cup of ice cream so that we could stay in their shop. 

After Nick and Sister finished their ice cream I got some ham croquets and chicken fingers.  We ate these with a purposeful slowness so that they wouldn't kick us out of their shop.

We got back on the Hopper bus to take the full route around the city to get back to our apartment.  Along the way there were many streets lined with trees similar to this.  You can find this type of tree-scaping all around Barcelona.

We spent a while back at the apartment taking naps and deliberating over where to eat dinner.   Well, I should say, I took a nap while everyone else deliberated over where to eat.  Food decisions are very important in our family so I left it to the pros. The consensus came to rest on El Yantar de la Ribera because the parents wanted to try the Spanish version of suckling pig.  We first started with a myriad of small plates as we have been the last couple of days.  The waiter actually told Sister to stop ordering.  He clearly under estimated our ability to eat. 

Brick stove for cooking the meats.

Out little piggies roasting in the brick oven.

The waiter is mixing the "broken" egg (fried egg) over blood sausage and fries.  In the bottom corner is a glimpse of Bravas Patatas.

Triangles of fois gras with toast. 
The regional sausage plate.  From left: seasoned ground pork, chorizo, and Black Pudding (blood sausage). 
Bravas Potatas

Sweet/spicy roasted peppers.

Duck carpaccio with garlic-fois gras sauce.  This is the first time I've had raw duck.  I would eat it again in a heartbeat. 

Sautéed mushrooms.  Nick believes that they were oyster mushrooms
Jambon with broken egg and fries.

Close up of the jambon and fries.
Salad to cut the heaviness of the meat dishes.
This was half of a suckling lamb.  The waiter came to show us the full pieces of meat before they cut it up, but he was there and gone so quickly that I couldn't get a picture of the whole piece. 

3/4 of a suckling pig.  The skin was so crispy from the oven but the meat was incredibly soft and juicy.
This was the outcome of our meal.  The only part of the pork that wasn't eaten was the hoof, which Dad did chew on for a little bit then deemed inedible. 
Regional white beans and spicy peppers (upper corner).

White asparagus.
Chocolate ice cream.


Apéritifs.  There were various flavors, but my favorite was the peach schnapps.  The brownish red liquor is a regional digestive drink that tasted licorice-y with a hint of cinnamon.  There was also an apple schnapps and the forth was one that I didn't have the guts to try because it smelled like rubbing alcohol, but I think it might have been Cava.  I'm not positive on that.  Another family a table over was really tucking into their complimentary booze with ease, but we just had a few sips and called it a night.  We still needed to walk back to the apartment without falling off the side walk and getting hit by a scooter bike. 

Day three was a success and time is going by too quickly.  Tomorrow we are planning to take the Hopper bus on the two other routes that are offered.  As I write this post, my family is diligently researching new places to eat along the way.  More to come for your viewing pleasure in the near future.  Until then: eat, drink, and be merry.

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