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Another day characterised by walking and food. We tried to go to the really good, and the really really good tapas places that we keep getting recommended, but they were impossibly packed out. Instead we wound up at Matamala, which was pretty up market and does Catalan slow food. A bit pricey for what we wanted, but stupidly delicious.

Today we tried to be more Barcelonan, and slept late, ate breakfast late, and strolled out late. The entertainment in Barcelona on Sunday seems to be strolling, because everyone was doing it, the whole city on foot with dogs and prams beneath the autumn plane trees. We intended to find coffee and a pastry, without much luck: I have an unerring ability to not find what I am looking for, although there was ok coffee and a reasonable pastry at La Taverna de Barcelona
. Each time we have walked out we have rambled off in different directions to see what turns up, but this time we were sort of rambling with purpose: on Sundays after 15:00 entry to the Pablo Picasso Museum is free, so we were aiming for a late lunch, the museum, and then early tapas.

We found the local Arc de Triomphe, although it’s not particularly clear what the triumph was, the down into the botanic gardens, turned right for the museum and then got lost in the Barri Gòtic again. We settled for an overpriced and somewhat bland tourist tapas in the square near an old market building at Casa Delfín, got lat again and finally joined the queue at the museum. It was worth getting turned round and wandering though, the area near the museum is amazingly lovely.

The museum was pretty cool, being in a damned old building whose story I need to dig into, and the collection interesting. Of course, because most of the big known paintings and other works are held in other collections, it’s dominated by his early work, although there is a large section dedicated to showing his various interpretations of Velasquez’s Las Meninas that really shows how careful and intelligent his work is.

The other tapas place we were seeking, which apparently has life changing ham, was just beside the museum, and closed. Because the signs were in Catalan, we guessed they meant it reopened at 19:00, so we wandered off for churros and chocolate and a drink first. I found Barcelona’s first and probably only Brazilian cocktail bar where we had some pricey and dangerous cocktails, then went back to our original destination. Having lubricated our brains and consulted the Internet we worked out it was closed until Tuesday. Sigh.

Still, we accidentally found a seriously awesome small non-tourist tapas bar, Bastaix and stuffed ourselves with cheese and olives, and learned how to make tomato bread.

Toast paninis or similar. Rub it with a clove of garlic. Rub it with a tomatoe that’s been partly roasted or grilled. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt. Serve it forth.

Tomorrow, the big fancy famous catherdral.


It turns out when I looked it up that my suspicions were correct: the Picasso museum is made from a row of 5 adjacent 14th and 15th century houses, that had been reworked in the 18th century, then turned into the museum from the 1960s onward. One thing that was amazing was some 14th century painted roof beams… We stood and watched for a while, and virtually none of the museum visitors looked up to see them.

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