Monday, May 16, 2016

'A Day in Barcelona' or 'Putting 22,500 Steps to Good Use' by Philip S. Kampe

                                                       Nuria, Diane and Manos


                                                          Coffee near the Basilica

I have spent much time in Barcelona during the past several years. It is my wife’s favorite walking city. We have come on vacation and I have come on assignment.

This little tale of ‘A Day in Barcelona’ encompasses day one, the day three journalists, Diane, Manos and myself arrive at the Barcelona airport at 7am on a Sunday.

Our assignment begins on Monday.

We were met at the airport by our friend and trip coordinator, Nuria Ruiz, a wonderful and charming woman who organizes and facilitates journalist’s visits to the vineyards and restaurants of Catalonia.

It was early and as we drove into the center of Barcelona, we noticed that the streets were empty. Today was going to be a free day and one that was in the hands of Nuria. We were her sheep, following whatever she thought best for us.


                                                     Basilica de la Sagrada Familia
We were dropped off near the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudi’s architectural masterpiece, a basilica dedicated to God and the expression of light. It was a bit too early to enter, so we found a lovely, local outdoor café and had coffee to attempt to wake us up from jet lag. We managed to talk long enough for us to hear the mass bells ringing in the background. That was our cue to visit the church, observe mass and apply for press passes to view the Basilica.

Our day had begun. We managed to spend four hours inside this magical architectural wonder.

Afterwards, we wandered through the streets of Barcelona, clocking, 22,500 steps, according to my reliable IPhone.

During the course of our walk, Nuria telephoned two friends to meet us for lunch, one was the legendary Ramon Raventos, a restaurant aficionado and founder of and Merche Dalman Cartes, owner of the well known vineyard, Clos Galena ( ).

The plan was to meet us for lunch at the BOCA Grande restaurant, , located in an ally, just off the Passeig de Grande, which is one of the main shopping streets in Barcelona.

We followed the plan, met inside of this overwhelming restaurant and that is where our introduction to the classical food of Catalonia began. We ate family style, drank bottles of cava and wine with our hosts and had a grand time. Service was  impeccable, the dishes were memorable and sophisticated.

BOCA Grande lived up to its reputation and relishes the ‘savoir faire’ style of service in an age where good service, high standards and quality cooking are a key to success. Add the visual uniqueness, designed by Lazaro Rosa Violan, of BOCA Grande and you have a restaurant that can stand on its laurels.

After a three hour tapas and main course meal, our party, now of six, chose to take the all, too familiar, after Sunday lunch walk.

Walking for hours, through the maze of beautiful and historical Barcelona only made me envious of those two million that live in the metro area.

Manos, a fellow journalist on the trip, had an assignment to write an article on Barcelona’s tapas offerings. Our culinary guide for the day, Ramon Raventos, suggested that we visit Chef Daniel Rueda’s two tapas bars, named Tapeo and Tapeo Bar, ( ).  We took his advice, had an amazing two hours of various tapas from both locations and managed to drink a bottle of Merche’s, Clos Galena 14.5%, well-balanced, fruit forward and velvety, red wine..

It looks like our 22,500 steps on Day one in Barcelona were put to good use.

                                                           Sagrada Familia

                                                      Tapas ar BOCA Grande
                                                    Grilled Turbot at BOCA Grande
                                                    Olive oil from Clos Galena
                                                             Catalonia Wine
                                                              BOCA Grande

                                                             More dessert

Philip S. Kampe 

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