|Barcelona, Day 3
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
I woke up much too early. I was so desperate for something non-alcoholic that I grabbed an orange juice from the hotel mini-bar and drank it all down without stopping for breath. That and a shower provided me with enough fuel to leave the hotel. We limped into the morning sunshine and stopped at Café Zurich in the Plaça de Catalunya. It was freezing cold, but sitting outside seemed appealing as a means of avoiding the thick layer of cigarette smoke that seems to permeate every eating and drinking establishment in the city. In short succession, we met a cat named Nino and a Frenchman at a neighboring table. Nino claimed my lap for Catalunya in his cracked, unmelodious voice.
Nino the Café Zurich cat
The Frenchman spoke wobbly Spanish, fluent French (duh) and no English. Marco speaks fluent Spanish and English and wobbly French. I speak wobbly Spanish, fluent English and no French. Our skill sets, therefore, were mostly orthogonal, as illustrated in the following table.
|Our skill sets|
The constant switching between languages as we tried to understand one another, coupled with the thick cobwebs of hangover clogging my brain, caused me to remain mostly silent, smiling and petting Nino.
Me, el gato Nino and Frenchman shading his eyes
We had to return to the hotel for an hour so I could lie down and feel ill, but after that we window-shopped, walked through La Ribera, where I took most of the pictures in this post and sat down to a late and delicious lunch of Cuban food at Havana Vieja. Arroz con frijoles, ropa vieja, guava juice y mucho café make for a hangover cure that rivals even the full English.
Candied fruit inside the Mercat de Santa Caterina
Our travels led us past another of the markets and eventually to the port itself.
|One of the sets of windows is painted on||Museum, I don't remember which (hangover)|
|Water fountain. It doesn't work; we tried||Centuries climb upwards|
The stiff breezes sent us scurrying back to the Barri Gótic, where we stopped by cramped, low-lit, wood-beamed Salterio for fresh mint tea. It's made slowly, with one infusion of mint leaves allowed to steep for several minutes in sugar and hot water, and then a second bunch added to the pot and steeped a while longer. They served it in brass teapots with long curved spouts, and we poured it ourselves into tiny glasses. It was divine.
Marco sipping his hot tea