So to be honest, I was starting to feel a little downhearted. I had not counted Good Friday in a highly Catholic country into my weekend plans and now the fish restaurant I had wheeled right across town to was closed. Awry is too short a word.
And so I wheeled myself back towards the Rambla and my hotel. I suppose I felt I had to stumble across something, but the thought of the tourista infested Ramblas did not fill me with joy. I decided to diversify, and using that old aged trick, ” just strike a right at random” I quit the monotonous coil and headed into the labrynthine streets of ciuta viejo….
For the first time of the weekend I began to feel less in a cosmopolitan euro-trash tourist trap and closer to something Barcelonian. And just as I thought I was never going to hit lucky I rounded a corner and fell upon a teeming local restaurant. Using the principle that you should always eat in a Chinese restaurant full of Chinese, I acively hung about the entrance, this was was clearly full of Spaniards.
I had to wait to get a lift up the large step, but they found me the end of a table. They spoke no English, French or Italian and I no Spanish. But the magic world polpa was understood and I found myself with large plates of whitebait, fried squid, patatas bravas and gorgeous, delirious octopus. To be honest, patatas bravas I can live without.
Where do they get these octopi in Spain? Their’s are Kraken to the stuff I find in Dijon. The slices of tentacle are two centimetres across, marinated, tender, cooked and doused in olive oil and paprika. Washed down with a little more than half a bottle of (curiously) non-vintage Rioja I found myself in a Barcelona of yore. It was loud, raucous and delicious.
Sated, I wheeled myself off, back to Las Ramblas and reality. But for a brief half an hour I had been transported back to my first visit to the city in 1992. It was just like Barcelona of old.
To complete the memory all I needed was to be accosted by a down at heel putana and the memory set would have been complete.
Alas, in the tourist maelstom of Las Rambals the nearest I came to bing accosted was a group of Scousers out on a “Staggie”.’tis the reality of this Easyjet world.