At the moment I am racking them up; twenty five years this, twenty five years that, and yesterday twenty three years since I last graced the narrow streets of Barcelona.
I had in fact planned to stay until Saturday, but Good Friday had rather blemished my plans. Anyone selling decent jamon or Manchego was going to be shut and food tourism has become a sadly defining personal trait. In any event my hotel didn’t have a room for tonight.
But by the time I came back to check out, they had; and so I didn’t and off to the MACBA I rolled.
Barcelona is lovely in a wheelchair. All the kerbs descend gently to the tarmac, and there isn’t even a lip. It’s a joy. The pavements are flat and I could really move.
The MACBA is a beautiful, stunningly minimalist affair. But of “contemporary art”, I have to say I am either intellectually challenged (highly possible) or there’s a lot of guff (highly probable).
And then to lunch.
A supplier the previous evening had recommended Dos Palillos, started a couple of years back by a Ferran Adria acolyte and as I meandered back to my hote there it was, all grubby exterior and calm cortille tot he side. And so I mixed with the international clientèle (American to my left, Swiss-Ialian – with a smidgen of French Canadienne? – to my right) and tucked in.
Sea food galore, I took full advantage of Elodie’s absence. The fresh seaweed and molluscs sunomono was superb, all rock-pools and iode, and the sea-anenome with lime skin tempura was really something very fine. Aérien et léger.
After a couple of glasses of fino and glass of cava it was time for some exercise; with my terrible map I set off in search of the Barri Gotic, scene of a previous all-night adventure with Mark Harvey in September 1992. I rolled and I rolled, and and I rolled and I found. There are parts of Barcelona which remain profoundly populaire. There were rare moments when there was not even an American, English or French voice to be heard.
My ultimate goal was the Museu Picasso but my plans were foiled by a dearth of tickets and I was left to explore anew. I comforted myself that I had at least been before. but I still had at least two hours to kill before the early-bird dinner – Spanish rules apply – at nine o’clock your Barcelonistas are barely sipping a first fino…
And off I went, enjoying the old sensation of chaos, taking turns and streets at random, that travellers’ goal of just falling upon the unbeknown.
My evening goal was a highly recommended family run fish restaurant Can Mano in La Barceloneta, down by the port a little way across town. Alas, when I finally got there, and it was quite a long way, it was, inevitably, shut. Good Friday was not looking like a good Friday for fish.
I sat on the placa, ordered a consolatory cerveza and pondered what was quick becoming a thwarted affair. A suivre…