Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Barcelona, Spain: Vicky Christina Barcelona

To my surprise, on television tonight was the Woody Allen film, Vicky Christina Barcelona, one of my and Mui Alto's favorites. We watched it for the "umpteenth" time enticed by the romantic setting and seduced by the dreamy bohemian story plot. Some might suggest that, "I'm the pot calling the kettle black", acknowledging the comparison of the film to my freespirit lifestyle. Mostly, I was excited to watch the movie because it took me back, yes, back to Barcelona. My friends and I were there for the scheduled Gaga concert a month ago. Following that, we had two days off before our next show in Lisbon. We had the foresight weeks earlier to plan a mini pre-Christmas vacation for ourselves by extending our time in town. This past stay in Barcelona now has me convinced that it is one of my top 10 favorite cities ever visited. I can see how someone would chose Barcelona as the backdrop for a romantic film set. It's a city full of beauty, art, culture, history, food, passion and soul.

I guess in my own way I was living the Vicky Christina experience, sans the romantic encounters, by visiting the Antonio Gaudi cathedral, Sagrada Familia, the Geull Park, commissioned by Gaudi and situated atop the hills surrounding the city, sightseeing other infamous Gaudi structures around town, visiting the Pink House, Gaudi's actual former residence and the Miro and Picasso museums, all the while eating tapas and drinking sangria along the way.

Our first day in town, myself and my wardrobe buddies, ventured out for a nice dinner along the coast not far from the hotel. We found a touristy restaurant area, where we indulged in sangria, our staple beverage throughout our stay, and chicken paella. Yum! The evening was mellow. We appreciated the moment. Once back at the W, we decompressed even more, gathering at the hotel bar for more sangria's, a special brew of Spanish red wine, Campari, syrup sweetener and assorted fruit and juices. We couldn't seem to get enough.
The day after our show, a day off, I awoke in my room in awe of the breathtaking view. Having to barely lift my head from my pillow, in front of me was the stunning unobstructed view of the Mediterranean Sea outside of the expansive picture windows. I felt lucky being in room 529, a corner room, with a full clear view to the west and north. The room was sexy, with it's modern contemporary monochromatic decor, a full shower room with a rain shower head, lounge window seating and a martini cocktail selection, including the stainless steel cocktail shaker, in lieu of the typical mini bar. It was heaven!

For convenience sake, I started the day around noon, on the Hop-on Hop-off tour bus. It was the perfect way to get around town, covering lots of ground in a short amount of time and for a reasonable cost. My day was spent with Laura, making all the pertinent tourist stops and sightings. The highlight of our day was sipping sangria and snacking on pizza while overlooking the city from the Gaudi Park. Ahhh, memorable... Laura and I found our way back to the designated bus stop and carried on to meet up with Tony for a proper tapas meal at a popular local spot recommended by the hotel.

We ate at Cerveceria Catalana, an excellent suggestion. The energy of the restaurant was alive with tourist and locals, alike, dining on assorted selections of fresh, healthy sized portions of small plate dishes, openly displayed along the counter top, as to help tempt the palette upon entering. We found seating at the sidewalk patio area, hovered under a heat lamp, and dined on our choice of prosciutto, fish, chorizo, potatoes, mushrooms, salads and toasted bread, washing it down with none other than,.....sangria.
After good food and conversation we wrapped up our night heading to the hotel by taxi only to collect in the lobby for one last night cap of sangria.
The next morning, I was eager to take in what I could with the remaining time I had. Accessing the tour bus again, I headed to the Picasso museum, located in a very charming section of town. The museum was indiscreetly located along a tiny alleyway in a neighborhood of streets full of art galleries and tiny shops. The streets were ambient with clothes lines straddling above me, shuttered windows, cobblestone pavement, buildings of pastel colored plaster and decorative Mediterranean architecture throughout. The perminent in-house exhibit captured me, covering Picasso's history as an artist from his early beginnings in Spain to an established master in the art world of the early 20th century. As a treat, on display as well, was exhibited artwork by Degas, showing the comparison and influence between the two artist despite their generation gap. It was interesting to see.

To conclude my day, I wandered the streets stopping in a local shop for a cafe con leche and parma ham sandwich and found a nearby holiday market displaying all things Christmas. Continuing on, I was drawn to the main pedestrian shopping street, La Rambla, where I did a bit of window shopping before heading back to the hotel for our 3pm lobby call.
In all, it was an amazing and very full couple of days, leaving me feeling the magic of the city and a desire to come back. Once in the lobby, we promptly collected as planned and in keeping with our established routine while in town, and in the spirit of Vicky Christina, our send off was toasted with, what else, a final glass of,.....sangria.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Ah, Barcelona. Thanks for the memories. I had the most delicious, juicy peach I have ever eaten while strolling through Guell Park.
    xo Sharon

  3. Sharon,
    I'm glad I was able to ignite sweet memories.
    Love, love, love Barcelona!