Tapas and Napas

April 3, 2024

  So here’s the thing. The main part of this Spain trip was to be two weeks in the Atlantic coastal city of Cadiz. That meant our three nights in Barcelona and then two more in Madrid were just a holding pattern awaiting the beginning of the real trip. Barcelona and Madrid, Spain as mere waystations? Have you ever heard of such loutish traveling? What a poltroon!

  So there we were walking the electric promenade of Las Ramblas to watch the children scatter the pigeons like fall leaves at Plaça de Catalunya and then onto Catedral de Barcelona, where Carol sat me in the square to listen to Segovia level (my ear anyway) Spanish guitar. 

Hitchcock would have loved this

Sidled into a tapas bar near the Picasso museum (didn’t have museum legs this day) and the meatballs I thought I was ordering turned out to be more of a arancini, but the wine was cold and dry. Happily, Carol bailed on a walk to the marina at the other end of Las Ramblas, and we settled in for a quiet evening of wine, cheese and a great Brian Simpson stand up special on Netflix. And yes, you’re quite correct. A great travel day for Reid is not doing much of anything and squeezing as much out of almost nothing as you can. (This, by the way, is not Carol’s philosophy at all, so my nothing days have to be balanced with those more recognizable to the normal traveler.)

  Thursday, however, was borne of the necessity of buying train tickets to Madrid and onto Seville and Cadiz. If you’re going to purchase with a live agent, you need to allocate at least an hour to an hour and a half before you see one. True, you can buy these same tickets at a machine. The last time I did that though, I wound up with a same day return that was actually for a week later than I had thought. I also once chose seats for Carol and me that turned out to be in two different cars.

Not the meatballs I was expecting, but decorative little fried something or other

So, when the screen flashed our queue number, I felt I was putting our itinerary in the best possible human hands. That it only took thirty minutes to reach the window seemed like a gift of time. Then, right at the moment of completing the transactions with my credit card, the entire computer system crashed. By the time the system rebooted, we’d achieved the usual 1 ½ time frame for buying train tickets. 

  That put us right back on schedule for showers back at the apartment, and then a layabout until dinner. Which turned out to be a tapas bar at the St. Joseph Mercato along Las Ramblas for plump juicy garlic shrimp and fat, steamed mussels. The productive day ended with the movie Manhattan, courtesy of a previous guest’s Prime Video account. (It was a free movie; we didn’t abuse his lack of security.)

A farm-to-belly market. The shrimp and mussels were plump and succulent.

  Friday was moving day, and we bid a fond farewell to the supercharged energy of Barcelona, which we’d tamed with a couple of great naps, Netflix and somebody’s Prime account. We were off to a great start to our Spain adventure.

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