Still 5 Dec 2010. Still in Barcelona. Still eating.
Had a lovely afternoon walking about the city, resting in our hotel and listening to church bells. Had some dark chocolate gelato and you can’t imagine how good it was. The flavor of the chocolate, so dark and almost bitter filled the mouth and set off taste buds that I did not know my mouth possessed.. Chocolate “receptors” sang with delight as tiny mouth full after mouth full was placed by tiny plastic palate type spoon. Just the anticipation caused my mouth to water. My eyes almost filled up with pleasure tears, how amazing.
We walked around Del Pi square, looked in to a few shops and boutiques that were open for the 7th day in a row this week. Maybe one out of every 5 to 10 doors were open and welcoming. I did not notice much else until the gelato was gone.
After that we investigated some great jewelery and scarves …. store windows reaching out to the passers by. Sensory overload again and again as the moments turned to a few hours of walking about and enjoying the air, artists, and artistic display of wares for sale.
Back to the warm room for a wee siesta mid afternoon. How indulgent. Why does not every culture incorporate this ritual? Deep sleep found me before my head hit the pillow. I had kicked off my boots, pulled on a blanket and next thing I knew a knock at the door and I was pulled from a deep and restful slumber. Steve in his new dark blue (‘azul’ is the blue word in Spanish) hat had come calling for lunch / dinner…. a late afternoon meal.
Previous night we had entered the wonderful hat store that previously we had only pressed our faces up against the glass of. The store window was a buffet of fabulous hats, some dressy, casual, classy, fancy and plain. Inside all hats are away in cupboards. When we entered Steve had a hat in mind to try – the male clerk measured his head and disappeared into the back of the shop. I was not too impressed with how the unique hat looked atop his round head. I inquired as to the “azul” hat in the window and they knew right away the one I referred to. Very similar in shape to the one he wears daily, this deep blue was an instant success as soon as the perfectly sized item was placed carefully on his head. Little more thought or reflection was necessary. The hat belongs to Steve and Steve to the hat. What a team.
Steve showed up at the door today wearing said hat, and asking if mom and I are ready to join the rest for afternoon wine and tapas. How did my life become so complete? How have such pleasures been tucked away or not even imagined yet? How was I to know this extra layer of satisfaction was just a continent away. Tucked into a famous port on the Mediterranean Sea is this fabulous city that knows truly how to indulge. It knows that siesta is followed by deep red wine or milder pink rosee and more and more rich and satisfying foods dripping in olive oil and balsamic vinegars. That the flavors of deep green almost crisp asparagus laid out on a plate could bring such joy. “Potatoes Bravas” topped with spicy red sauce and a garlic mayonnaise. Chicken so tender and cooked almost crunchy on the outside is provided skewered through the center and atop some whole small tasty green peppers grilled to perfection. Delight after delight arrived at the table. Rocket salad made of deep leafy greens, thin sliced goat cheese, quince jelly and pine nuts, drizzled with oil and vineger. Lagostino (cross between lobster and a large shrimp in flavor and texture) also skewered and drizzled on top with some amazing dressing that brings out the subtle seafood flavor. Steak slices sizzling in the pan, more peppers and more potatoes provide garnish to this very large dish of protein. We had no room for dessert!!! What?? A decision was made to walk back to our lovely hotel, another siesta- and dessert and a late night beverage will greet us long after dark and some time before morning hours arrive. This the life style of a very happy traveler. This pace, the sustenance, the patience, the consuming … all lead to bliss.