Barcelona 2004

Snow is fine whilst you are on the slopes, and we had great fun yesterday on a 5 km piste on the Altipiano di Asiago. But not so fine when commuting to the office. So I’ll be off to Spain this week, first to Barcelona and then to Vigo in Galicia. Should be warmer than here. It’s a fine start today at Venice airport – plane delayed “at least an hour if not two” due to adverse weather conditions…

Finally arrived in Barcelona one hour late, just after 7pm. As soon as I step out of the airport, the temperature difference from Italy was noticeable – off with the overcoat, gloves and hat! This is the Med – a balmy 13C and the almond trees are bursting in bloom!

Long wait for baggage, then sorted out hire car and lost my way to the hotel amongst the various expressways of Barcelona, so I finally made it to my room at 9 pm. Weaker men would have gone straight to bed, but this is Spain, one eats late and your Gastronaut is undeterred! Quick brush-up, then I head for the Paseo de Gracia, the wide, elegant boulevard lined with the fantastic Gaudì buildings. Just on this street near the Plaza de Catalunya end is *Tapa Tapa*, would you believe it, a tapas bar! I have written about this previously, it is a large commercial establishment, but convenient and with a friendly atmosphere. I sit at the long counter at the bar and order three classics from a wide selection of tapas: _chipirones fritos_ (fried squid), _patatas bravas_ (roast potatoes with mayo and mustard) and _pulpo a la gallega_ (Galician octopus, finely sliced, with olive oil and ground chili). A great snack, accompanied by a cool Löwenbräu Märzenbier (yes, not authentically Spanish as a Cerveza Damm, but one has to take what is available!) A brisk walk back to the hotel in the cool evening air gets me ready for bed.

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