On the plus side, the rain scared away the construction crew and so we got to “sleep in” until 8 a.m. on Friday morning. On the negative side, there was rain. I showered in the narrow bathroom and was grateful for the hot water and an actual shower curtain (not all European showers have them, as I experienced) even as I was irritated by the tiny wash cloth I was given to dry myself (turns out it actually was a wash cloth and larger towels were available). We grabbed a quick cafe con leche at the cafeteria up the street before returning home for a breakfast of pan (bread) amb (with) queso (cheese – goat in this case), pan amb honey and butter, and pan amb melon. When the rain finally let up, we ventured outside for our Gaudi-filled day.
Our first brief stop was to Illa de la Discòrdia (Block of Discord) as we walked up Passeig de Gràcia in the Eixample District. This photo of Casa Batlló was taken a few days later but it lies – the day we went to see it, it was fittingly gloomy and dismal to match the theme: the roof represents the scales of the Dragon of Evil impaled on St. George’s cross, and the skulls and bones on the balconies are the dragon’s victims.
A quick fortifying cup of coffee to warm our own bones and then we were off to visit Casa Milà, better known as La Pedrera (Catalan for ‘The Quarry’). The ticket line was immensely long. While the boys held my place, I browsed through the gift shop and was asked about prices of items by several customers thinking I worked there (confused by my funky outfit or maybe just my brown skin?). In hindsight, I should have told them that it was a special day and those items were offered for free. Then, I could sit back and be entertained. Ah well, next time.
The rain started to come down pretty hard while we were on the lunar landscape of a roof so we sought shelter below amongst the miniature models, the video exhibition, and a tour of the period-furnished apartment. By the time we completed our viewing, the rain subsided just enough to convince us to walk to lunch but cruelly and abruptly pointed and laughed at us by dousing us until we ran into a Turkish restaurant for lunch.
We played “who is your stupidest/smartest/funniest friend” while waiting for our meal to arrive which, with the sole sour Russian waitress, took some time. I must confess to a shiver of pleasure when TP announced that I was the funniest friend he had. The preening battled with a pang of guilt because I had earlier proclaimed him the stupidest husband I had. I KEED BECAUSE I LOVE!
The shower was still on by the time we finished our lunch so we ducked into the Orxataria next door and had some delicious and smooth horchata for dessert.
We ran to an internet cafe to make a phone call to check on the kids (5 min 1€) and the small enclosed booth coupled with the complete lack of ventilation left me with clouds of steam emanating from my damp clothing. The day was … sultry.
Hey, ladies! Do you ever need to attend to lady business while attending to lady business? Well, with El Corte Inglés‘ free wifi and interminable lines for the restroom, you can do both! Just take the serpentine escalator up nine floors to the top where the restaurant is, log in, and by the time you reach an empty stall, you will have updated your facebook page, checked all of your email, and still have time for some useless web surfing.
We had grand plans to trek through Barri Gòtic to enjoy some churros con chocolate but the rolling thunder and sky-splitting lightening made us reconsider. Sheets of rain pounded our windows and because we are too canjoose to go out and buy umbrellas (11€? per person?! interro-no-way!), we decided to stay in. Sars and I played Cash Cab while TP whipped up a lovely dinner of linguine with tuna, garlic, onions, and mushrooms served with manchego cheese and a side of rustic bread and chocolate drinks.
A re-enactment of Billy Jack, a collaborative screen-writing effort regarding Sars’ tragic and doomed romance kindled in Madrid, and a genial discussion about television shows both old and new rounded up our evening.
Stay tuned for the next exciting installment where we scour the city and search high and low for a doll that turns out to be available on Amazon all along.