Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Autumn in Barcelona ,2017

Sharon and I wanted to spend some extended time in Barcelona, 3 weeks. We rented a nice apartment
1 bed/1bath,with a nice terrace close to Morgan/Chris's house. Actually we got a place just across the street from our place we had last Christmas.

We had in mind being there like we lived there. But also doing some of the routine things we do at home.
Since Morgan and Chris both work we planned our time around theirs. Which gave us a lot of time to just do what we wanted and roam around the city. We had no major travel plans outside the city but did go to our favorite winery and a nice coastal walk.

We hadn't visited Barcelona during  autumn  and we looked forward to a different time of year.
The fall weather is nice,warm pleasant days and mild nights with little or no rain.

We started our trip flying out of Oakland Ca. this time, as the Iberia airline now has a nonstop flight right to Barcelona.This makes for a great flight with no transfers and better travel times.

Arriving in Barcelona early afternoon is a plus.With a short taxi ride to our apartment, get checked in then off to Morgans and out for some FOOD! Real food not the stuff from the plane.

Since the first day of fall was coming up we were there to enjoy the Merci' Festival on Sunday.
This is a great festival with parades using the "Gigantes" the large human statues, and building human towers. We would always see the Gigantes in storage but never out for a festival. The human towers are something to see.They are teams of over 100 people from different city clubs and form a tower usually 9 layers high of people and are in timed competition.

Monday would be our trip to the Colet winery. A small family winery that makes "sparkling wines".
Normally they would call them Cava in this part of Spain but since this family makes their wines in a stricter program they can't call them Cavas. We were picked up at the train station by the owner and traveled through the countryside to the production area.

Getting a very extensive tour of their production area we then went a few miles to their vineyard/home and tasting room.The family has lived and farmed this area since the 1700s first as a "share cropper"then after years like that they were able to purchase the land. Growing a lot of different crops until the mid 1900s when the father started to make "still" wine. Since 1992 they have been only making the sparkling wine with about 9 other small wineries and have started their own "DO".
Their grapes are organic grown and since they are a small winery a mechanical harvester is used.

This was the only trip we planned so the rest of the time we had to roam the city and find new places we haven't gone to before,along with all of our favorites. Plus a nice walk along the coastal trail.

We were treated to the local politics,the Catalonia independence  demonstrations.They were a lot of people out to the rally's but they were very peaceful. Mostly speakers and music.
The Catalan independence goes back a long way.It seems what they want most is to self govern their money,but the whole thing is very complicated,and when all the leaders on both sides won't talk to each other it just gets bogged down.

The demonstrations didn't effect us as we could avoid them and travel different areas.
It was very interesting though.

On this trip in the 19 full days there we walked 160 miles or 400K steps.

Chris and Morgan

Our terrace nice sunny and open space

First cup of espresso, yummy
Enjoying our lunch with lots of local items
Interior from the extra "sun room"

View out to terrace
Sun room with step up to terrace

Original floor tile pattern

Night sky out the back

Morgan and I

Our night out to Flamingo at Jazz Si Club

Our great lunch at Flax & Kale restaurant

Sharon & Morgan at the Cactus garden on our daily walk

First course of our lunch at the Copet restaurant, anchovies ,pan de tomat.

Salad,beets,cheese,some white fish

Roast beef,thin sliced,with capers & aioli.

60*c egg (a type of poaching) and pieces of smoked eel.
There is a machine that slowly cooks the egg to a perfect poach.

Pork with mashed potato,pine nuts and raisins

foie gras,(goose liver) very yummy.

First dessert,lemon yogurt on a nice Passion Fruit sauce.

Caramelized Carrots on a Mascarpone. 

The fort at the Naval Museum was open to tour the inside. These are docents in costume.

Another docent at the entrance to the fort.

This was the start of a parade from the Placa Merci'.The Gigantes lined up with some practice towers out in the middle.

These Gigantes are very large and carried on the shoulders of someone inside.

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Two competing "tower" clubs

The top of a tower,9 people high
Since we didn't have a BBQ, we purchased these "throw away"BBQs. They are a aluminum tray with wire mesh on the bottom then the charcoal with another mesh for the grill and a layer of starter cloth.You just put a match the the cloth and in about 15 minuets the coals are ready to cook on. 

Chris and Morgan are tending the cooking,veggies,shrimp.

We had our skeptics about the BBQs but all the food turned out great.
 Snacks before dinner.

Sergi Colet explaining the ageing process of their sparkling wine.They do the whole process at their winery,from growing,harvesting,crushing,two fermentation's,then bottle ageing,then finally corking and labeling. 

This is the tasting room,8 varieties meant 8 different glasses,each.That is a lot of stemware sure glad I didn't have to wash them.

Sergi Colet and Chris. Colet sparkling wine is the featured wine at Chris's wine store.

Lunch at Cal Xim,an authentic Catalan restaurant. Salad of olives, tuna, fresh greens.

Roasted veggie salad.

Foie Gras and grilled local grown peaches.

A very nice local Vino Tinto.We also found this brand at the local store by out apartment and bought several bottles of the Rose during our stay.

My favorite,white beans with Butifarra and the blood sausage Morcilla.

Lunch on their patio.

Iglesia Sant Pau de Camp,a monastery founded around 900ad.

The floors were all mosaic tiles.

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One of two round leaded windows.

The stone work of the cloister.
Waterfront area with Colon statue.This is a view from the cactus garden on the side of Montjuic where we took our morning walk.

In the garden,  there was a large family of cats not so friendly but would pose for a picture.

This might be the mom of the family.

Over the years visiting Barcelona this church ,Iglesia Santa Maria del Pi, we had always wanted to visit but it's opening times are limited.We went in after Friday evening mass.

This "rose" window is the largest in proportion to the wall size in Europe. I think it's the original and not damaged during the Spanish Civil War of 1936.

Beautiful leaded windows with the organ and sun color through the opposite wall windows.

These are 2 of the Gigantes that are stored at the church.

A nice pintxo dinner at a favorite place Koska,very authentic pintxo bar. You are charged by tooth pick in the pintixo. Usually around 1 to 1 1/2 euro per pintxo.

This dish is Galician Octopus over creamy mashed potatoes.
We discovered this beer place last Christmas and now make it a go to spot.
One of their 32 beers on tap is this Black Block Bourbon barrel porter made in Catalonia in very small batches.

A sour beer Morgan likes,not much to our taste as we like the dark Porter style.

Snacks/beer with Norwegian friends of Chris.

A beautiful yacht in the harbor with Montjuic in the background. Montjuic is about a 500' high "rock"that has provided most of the building rock for the city since the Roman times.Also the site of the 1992 Olympics with the stadium/track and the swimming venue.The facilities are used by various sports groups today.  

Our walks took us past buildings with very elaborate and beautiful front architecture.The buildings especially in the newer (100 +year) areas all have different fronts. 

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San Antoni Market that is being rebuilt opening in 2018.

Ironwork balconies just  about every building as this fantastic ironwork.

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Chris and Morgan's cat Nala ,a very petite cat.
Watch tower at the old fort on Monjuic.

The main gate and dry moat at the fort.

Charlie Chaplin statue in a children's playground. 

Statue dedicated to the Olympics.   

City view from Montjuic, our apartment is over in the middle left.

Moon set morning after the full moon.

Our coastal walk most along the railroad tracks.We should have rail service like this here.

Looking "down" the coast.Where we started.

"Up" the coast where we are headed.Train tracks along the cliff.

Sharon,Morgan and me taking a break along the trail.

Our destination Sitges in the background, we are at about the halfway point, 6+ miles total.

In Sitges we found the greatest restaurant La Guineu ( the Fox). Nice outside patio open and airy. We had these yummy grilled shrimp and pan de tomat,wine ,a nice Tuna salad and fried Calamari.Such great food.

Their Mussels were some of the best we have ever had, steamed just right and a very large"animal" inside.Some lemon squeezed over and we were in heaven.After lunch, we headed to the train station and back to Barcelona.

Our last Sunday, we walked to the city cemetery on Momtjuic, past the Olympic stadium.All the graves are above ground, Walking around it seemed like miles and miles of these walls of graves.

The owner of Lo de Flor serving our wine.Chris and Morgan come here often and got to know her well.We had a great dinner celeriac soup,pate,sweetbreads,Sharons favorite,quinoa wild rice peas dried tomato salad.

The quinoa/wild rice salad with a small pickle/flower.

This dessert is vanilla flan with a caramel sauce.

This dessert is slices of baked apple with lemon curd,would never have thought of that combination.

Chris Sharon , Morgan outside the Lo de Flor restaurant.

Sagarada Familia ,our last day.We try to walk to here several times when in town.It is great to see how much work has been done between our visits.

Lots of new work every visit.

The main crane, in the middle, is about 600' high and now working on the tallest tower,the Jesus tower will be almost 600' high.The east view of the church.

The west side of the church.Work is steadily going on,another 10 years to completion.
This a  current screen shot showing the cranes the tallest at 600'+. The large circle in the middle will be the Jesus tower. When finished will be over 600' high. The first and oldest part of the church is the bottom middle 4 towers and wall,started around the 1880s.

Another good salad at Cal Robert restaurant just a few steps from Chris and Morgan's house.

White beans and Butifarra sausage,pan de tomat and cava to round out the dinner.So much good food on our trip loved it all.We always come home with new ideas for our own meals.

Had to leave these keys behind,BUT we will return.Had a great time.