Yes today is my birthday, the 5th, not the 6th as some of my family seem to think (yes I am calling you out). I woke up to a continental breakfast that blew my mind (yes the included version) there were fresh pressed juices, coffee, cheese, aged meats, fresh bread, and probably 20 different types of cake and pastries ( No I am not exaggerating, I would never do that to you!). For the record Jeff too was awed by the spread (just one of the things in Spain that I will never let him forget).
We then tried to shop, apparently today is another holiday (I don’t mean my birthday) literally all the shops are closed. I am feeling like the universe/Jeff have it out for me on shopping days. De Gracia would have been amazing designer shopping experience had it been open.
So instead of buying things we went to see Gaudi’s Casa Batllo and toured Casa Mila la Pedrera. I cannot tell you with words how much I love this architect. His designs take all the practical forms of nature combine them and create stunning forms (known as Catalan modernism) all of his work is made more impressive by the fact that it was before computers. He not only studied the natural forms of conch shells and trees he also studied the anatomy and bones of all creatures looking at what their uses/strengths are and then implementing that into his design. His mixed media ranges from using recycled glass and broken marble/Stone to shaping plaster and traditional Stone into fluid organic forms. His use of color is stunning and most of his work references divinity in one way or another. His most famous church Sagrada Familia is still under construction today.
The bourgeois of Spain used to commission residential buildings they would have one floor be their family residence and rent the rest out. By doing this they would be able to fund the rest of their lives. Casa Mila is one of these buildings, I am still in shock that the family sold it. Funny note after its construction the neighbors stopped greeting Mila on the street because they believed he had lowered their property value.
Lunch was as all birthday lunches should be, insane! We found a place called Faborit next to Casa Batllo, reasonably priced and for 8€ we got a salad and a green smoothie. Oh, yeah, also they had a vat of melted chocolate on the counter that they were calling hot chocolate so I got a cup of that. Did I mention they had swings for chairs on the back porch? I freaking love this city.
The hotel dropped off a 2011 rioja for my birthday so we did what any responsible couple would do at 5pm, we drank the wine and went to the bar. Our hotels bar has some amazing recipes that we will be bringing home, included is the little blue thang we discovered (of course it is gin based, what else!?).
Dinner tonight was at Tragaluz which specializes in Catalan delicacies. We had cuttlefish (reminder to self, you do not like this), octopus (reminder to self, you love this), and jambone Iberian de bellota (very good), entree was Turbot fish (interesting).
The wine was a tempernillo which had medium to high acidity, full bodied and fruit forward wine. It was very smooth and easy to drink.
A big thank you to everyone who has made this year memorable (you know who you are!) and I hope every year is as good as this one has been!