Monday, August 2, 2010
What I was grateful for in Barcelona, Catalunya
Hello! Sangria jugs full of apologies for being off-line for so long. I’ve been on the road as you know, back in Syds now and catching up on all that I have been grateful for the past few weeks. So, for my ten days in Barcelona with my tidda Julie... here goes:
1. JULIE’S COOKING: It’s no secret that I like food. There’s rarely an entry on this blog that does not involve one or all of the five food groups. So you won’t be surprised to learn that I travel to the other side of the world to eat delicious food and talk about life with Jules. As an added bonus to many pearls of wisdom Jules shares with me, she just happens to be the best cook in the world. Only she can make a midday sandwich into a gourmet meal without effort. Jules can also turn boiled chicken and some walnuts in the world’s best salad. And she can add basil to a dish in a way that makes me want to put the herb into every dish I prepare at home from now on. Ok, I know you know I have only three dishes in my repertoire, but thanks to my time with Julie I have a few more dishes under up my sleeve... and all over my apron it seems!
2. EL BORN: Julie’s apartment is in El Born. So, my little piece of paradise while living in Barcelona is in the heart of all good things. I can walk to the Picasso Museum, there's great fashion shopping nearby (but we boycott the Hugo Boss because he once dressed the Nazi Party), and the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar and the Picasso Musée are both only minutes walking distance away.
3. PARC DE LA CIUTADELLA: One of the physical things I am most grateful for in Barcelona is the park right across the road from Julie’s home. It’s an oasis with a lake and fountain and palm trees. I walked there in the mornings and I was as interested in the museums and zoo bordering the park, and the Catalan Parliament building in the Centre, as I was in the interesting people walking, jogging, stretching, sleeping. One man played a guitar and sang softly – affectionately calling me ‘Australia’ when we tried to converse. Years ago I use to be able to jog up and down the stairs of the Cascada, but after Julie’s daily menu of all things delicious, I was grateful to be able to get up and down the stairs at all!
4. SANGRIA AS ART: Sitting in Crepes El Born I was mesmerized by the concentration of the barmaid who ‘built’ my sangria, starting with too many spoonfuls for sugar. My focus on the installation art was only broken by my friend Mr Wright being hit on by another man. Go figure; two gorgeous women sitting at the bar and the bloke to my right is the only one to get any attention...
5. CAVA – it’s Spanish for champagne. I don’t know about you, but every day I recognise how lucky I am, there is something to celebrate! So, I’m grateful for the fact I have something always to celebrate!
6. BUBO: I’m not kidding, the BEST desserts in the world are in Barcelona... and my favourite spot is Bubo. Check out the photos of their desserts here. OK, I can’t be expected to learn new main courses and desserts at the same time, so until I’ve master the basil and boiled chicken things, I’ll be buying my desserts for dinner parties. I wish we had Bubo in Oz!
7. WORK: In between the basil and the park and Bubo - I was working about 10 hours a day on the edit of PARIS DREAMING, pulling together two travel articles and writing the synopses for two new books. Of course, I am grateful for my ability to have a complete day including work and play.