Posted by: facetothewind | July 23, 2010

The concrete maze, opera house and eating like a pig

Here’s a one minute explanation of why maps are of little use in Barcelona and why I keep getting lost…

* * *

I took a tour of the Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house today. Spectacular. They’ve had the chance to refine it since they’ve rebuilt it from ashes twice. I have never seen anything like it. I was unable to photograph the auditorium itself, but each seat (with cast iron back) has its own subtitle screen in a variety of languages and seats with obstructed view include movable viewing screens. The building is masterfully constructed without a trace of tacky modernity. Real squeaky wooden floors, marble stairs and brass fixtures. We got to tour the opera members’ club room which survived the fires. It was outfitted with an extraordinary art collection (sorry no pix were allowed) and a whole Art Nouveau club room with its own jewel box elevator. Unfortunately, the theater workers are on strike so tonight’s opera that I was planning to attend was cancelled. They did let me photograph the Hall of Mirrors…

* * *

Onward to lunch at the La Boqueria (the open air food market). Summer fruit is at its peak.

Fruit and candy are to Spaniards what beer and bread are to Germans.

My laptop lunch consisted of a whole wheat, seeded croissant with a stunningly good goat cheese and spinach quiche. Later on for dinner I had a radicchio salad with that same wonderfully gamey goat cheese with ripe figs, a touch of honey and toasted hazelnuts. OMG! I’ve made a point of complimenting the chef whenever my belly is genuflecting. Almost always women, they light up and smile graciously. Spaniards are warm people — forgiving with trespasses of language and happy to help you, especially if you ask in Spanish and even better if you can ask in Catalan.

Someone’s idea of a joke. Yes those are real pigs in the refrigerated case…

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