Barcelona…pulling myself together

After a quick call home warning my husband that I was going to break the bank with my weekend away, he suggested I just relax and have a good time. He’s a good guy. But as I mentioned in the previous post I still have some things to sort out myself.

The great thing, and the bad thing about living in Portugal is that food and drink are VERY cheap. This is great when you are in Portugal, but it warps your thinking when you are out of the country. Everything seems so damn expensive, even when it’s not. Even in Spain I had to adjust my thinking.

After a a quick drink I went back to the hotel to await the ladies’ return. The hotel being a Ritz affiliate. No joke. My cot costs what I would normally pay for a room. But people, this cot was the shit!

Fortunately I was more dressed up than normal for traveling because I wanted to be able to wear my outfit out to dinner that first night. Normally I look much more sloppy when I travel. But there was no hiding the fact that this was not my normal scene. Everyone else had handbags more expensive than everything on my person. Whatever must they have been thinking of my over the shoulder duffle bag that I had borrowed from my husband. But who cares, right?

Not the ladies. When we saw each other there was no hiding our ‘American-es’. With a big hoot and holler we hugged and kissed in the foyer before each grabbing a glass of the free Dom Pérignon that was being offered (these people know how to live!)

From the hotel veranda bar, we moved up to our room so everyone could clean up and get ready for dinner. I ran out to grab a couple bottles of wine. To be honest we would have been happy to be anywhere together. Barcelona was a bonus, but the real gift was us being in each other’s company.



Barcelona…but first Salvador Dalí

A year or so ago when I mentioned to my sister-in-law Diane that I was planning a trip to Barcelona, she suggested I make a detour a few hours north of Barcelona to Salvador Dalí’s home. Diane and my niece had been before, and both raved about his home as well as his museum. It did mean having to rent a car and a taking a drive, which I wasn’t looking forward to, but I felt that with such high praise for the place we needed to make the effort.

In my research I discovered that there are three Dalí sites: His museum in Figures, home in Portlligat and castle in Púbol. All three are in different locations so our plan to maximize our time and reduce travel was this:

  1. Friday – Arrive in Barcelona, drive to Pubol and visit Dalí’s Castle, then drive to Figueres to spend the first night in our hotel
  2. Saturday – Drive out to Cadaqués, visit Dalí’s home, spend the day at the beach town, back to Figueres for the night
  3. Sunday – wake early, get to the theater museum and drive back to Barcelona….that was the plan. The plan changed:)

We really hadn’t thought about traffic, but there was a bit of it as Easter is a 4 day weekend in Spain. By the time we arrived in Púbol we were good and hungry. I will admit that my kids still like McDonalds and the like, but they have come to understand that part of traveling is experiencing new food flavors, so they did well holding out for a restaurant in town. We found a restaurant right before the turn off for Púbol. It reminded me a bit of a place that we had dined at with our friends the Powells in Tuscany. It was more the memory of them, then the memory of that meal that made me stop.

As we parked, we noticed a gentleman wrapping bundles of scallions. I figured that it was a road side vegetable stand.


But as we entered the restaurant we saw the people next to us eating e bundle of grilled scallions. Authenticity in food is always a bonus when you travel. We knew we were in for a treat, Little did we know it wasn’t the only one.

To begin with, we ordered the house wine (for the adults:) and what a wine it was. YUM! We also were pleasantly surprised with a little tapas tray for Stephen and myself. Even Sophia was interested and ended up eating the spicy pasta. Brat!

While everyone ate the starters I popped outside to take some photos of the preparation of the calçots.

It was messy and slimy, but yummy.

And one last note about Restaurant La Trobada. Should you order a ‘bowl’ of soup, this is what you get…


And our table neighbors must have ordered the meat lovers platter, because this was just mad. Note, they had already had a serving each.



But back to business. Our job was to get to the castle. Dalí’s Castle in Púbon was Dalí’s residence after his lover, wife and muse Gala died. I warned my children that this would be the least exciting of the Dali spots that we would visit. It was a warm up, so to speak.