Friday, August 16, 2019

Barcelona and the saga of my new shoes...

 It’s a bit cooler in Barcelona and we arrived smoothly on the beautiful, efficient AVE train.  AND invigorated after the sick day in Madrid yesterday.  Our hotel is two blocks from the underground Metro station and I vaguely remembered the name of the stop near Las Ramblas.  We made it!  Plaza Cataluña was swarming with so many people, we were stunned.  So we did the same as everyone around us, we jumped right into the mix.  I led Caroline down the tree-lined avenue and we were like two children in fairyland.  We dodged women in spike heels, children, vendors, outdoor cafes, police and men trying to keep their families together.
When we spied a side street off the main area, we changed directions and found a quaint Catalan restaurant.  We decided we could eat and maybe drink some wine even though our stomachs were not normal yet...Caroline ate baked chicken and I had pork sausage and white beans.  The cute waiter brought us toast, two pieces of garlic and two halved tomatoes.  He made the motion of peeling the garlic, rubbing it on the toast, scooping the innards from the tomatoes over it and drizzling olive oil.  It was DELICIOUS.  Added to the ambience was the friendly waiter who gave us two of his personal maps and told us to hold onto our purses and watches because professional thieves are fast and smart.  When he told us he had dessert, we said why not?  Crema Catalán with café con leche was perfect.  The frothy coffee was the smoothest and best we’ve had so far.
Afterward, we finished our walk down Las Ramblas to the Christopher Columbus statue that sits at the mouth of the port.  Here, they call him Cristóbal Colon. It’s surrounded by gigantic lions and when we walked around the huge area, parents had their children propped on them for would be a very long fall down...
When nature called, we had to go across a long walking bridge at the port to the fancy shopping market, which was edged in more outdoor cafes.  The bathroom required 1 euro to enter and I was glad Caroline had some coins or we would’ve been in trouble.

Now, the most intriguing part of the evening was while we were nearly back across the bridge where the sea gurgled beneath us and we sat on a bench to breathe in the essence of the evening as lights began to twinkle in the darkening sky.  All of a sudden, we heard a yell and more men than we could count were running toward us like stampeding cattle.  They were foreigners with huge white sheets slung over their shoulders filled with items to sell.  They jockeyed for position to lay down their sheet on each side of the bridge and quickly laid out, women’s purses, mens and women’s tennis shoes, sunglasses, watches, sports jerseys, key chains and much more.  Some men started fighting over a space he was sure was his... Caroline and I think there were fifty or more shuffling their wares and we did not stop to take photos.  We just wanted away from the mass of human craziness.  The men were lined up all the way to the street.  We think that they must have been given the green light to set up and away they went.  It sounded like thunder and the tourists on the bridge all froze.  We were lucky to be sitting to the side on that bench...

A child stepped on the back of my new polka dot shoes and broke the heel Strap loose!  I wanted to cry, but decided that I’d look for super glue instead...or maybe another shoe store??

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