Sushi In Barcelona I had falafel too. . .and some amazing Basque food and some Catalonian and fish and and and and chocolate croissant. . .
I think back to Barcelona through a haze of jet lag, café con leche, Martini aperitifs, fine wines, and three hour meals with a hint of cigarette smoke. I think back to Barcelona with windy narrow streets and brightly painted buildings as a dream you would have during an afternoon siesta nap. I can still think back to Barcelona as I close my eyes staring at all the cars in front of me on a long flat hazy Los Angeles Street as I wait for the green light.
Barcelona is an awesome city. . .exclamation point, smiley face, smiley face.
Many, many, many writers over many hundreds of years have probably written that (or something like that, perhaps with only one smiley face) and have gone into great detail about all the whys, wheres, whens. I will just say, trust me, Barcelona's great.
Are you a walker? You will love Barcelona. You can walk there. Hungry? Cafés everywhere. Do you smoke? Guess what, you can smoke in bars and in restaurants and on outdoor train platforms. No smoking signs have both a cigarette and a pipe. Exit signs show a person jumping through a rectangular doorway (they're quite joyous). ATMs have an english option button (represented by the British flag). Shopping? Oh yes, you can shop and shop some more. If you get States-sick, there's McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hutt, and (yes) Starbucks, but why would you want to eat there? They seemed pretty empty anyway. As I walked past the McDonalds, I realized that it's been years since I've eaten a Big Mac, and in the last few years, I've felt much healthier.
Barcelona is a walking town. Forget LA. I was suddenly back in New York---trotting across the street, dodging little dogs. Just give me a city map and zoom! Off I go---mispronouncing every street name I see. Lots of people on scooters and mopeds, and the cars are small---no giant hummers----they wouldn't fit on most of the streets. Plenty of shops to pop in and out of. Plenty of cafes to sit down at for a coffee.
There's this guy named Gaudi who was responsible for some of the funkiest buildings on the planet. His Temple of the Sacred Family was started in 1882, and they're STILL building it. Sometimes these things take a little time. I think it's because the guy had funk in him (or more technically, he was able to find unity between the sacred and the profane), and the rest of Barcelona has the good funk too. I think at some point, they decided that they were going to have nice buildings and if they had to build more buildings, they would be nice too.
By the way, there's a nice Irish pub right across from the Temple of the Sacred Family. It's called the Michael Collins. Guinness on tap of course. We went in for lunch and had a nice chat with the bartender. Good stuff. It's west of the Temple. If you're on Sicilia, you can't miss it.
At first the concept of Siesta might seem strange---especially if you're starving at 4pm and nothing is open. Still, I got use to the two-hour minimum 10pm dinner, then staying out two more hours to digest it. Meals should be enjoyed. Meals should last a long time with lots of plates and courses where you can sit and talk and eat and relax and eat and drink and eat and then take a break and eat some more. None of this gobble down fast food in twenty minutes---have we become so mechanized that we must be uncivilized in our eating. No! I say. Eat good food in a relaxing manner. Take time—no need to rush. We rush too much. What if we all stopped rushing? What if we all moved to Europe?
On our first night in Barcelona, we went to dinner at a Sushi Restaurant. We had finally gotten to our hotel after our plane was late, our train was super slow (it was held up at a platform and the entire train emptied to have a smoke break on the platform), and our taxi driver wasn't quite sure where our hotel was (he was nice and he found it). At ten o'clock, we needed food and I didn't want to experiment. Seeing the menu outside the restaurant, I saw that Sushi in Barcelona was called Sushi. Good. Food. After a great meal of Sushi, Hot Saki, and Miso Sopa, I was quite satisfied. Colm had the Tempora. Then he sat back and smoked one. I had just traveled for twenty hours, but I felt good. Sushi always made me feel good, and Barcelona made me feel even better. It's all good.