Last night we left our apartment and headed in a different direction, this time into the El Born neighborhood.  It's just as close as every other area we've explored, just across a street that we've never crossed before.  (When you actually look at a map you see all sorts of cool things!)  We were happy to find a multitude of little squares and quaint streets with lots of different restaurants to try.  The evening cooled off nicely so we were completely comfortable, and the mosquitoes stayed away too which was a very welcome event.  We ended up at a great place and tried a variety of different tapas. The kids had some chicken skewers and we also ordered potatoes with a spicy mayonnaise which was really delicious.  (Patatas bravas - they appear on every tapas menu we see but it was the first time we'd ordered them.)  A nice salad, a little steak, and we were very satisfied.  We happened to be across the little roadway from a gelato shop so the kids had already staked it out and decided their flavours.  I fear they will go into a gelato depression after this trip!

This morning we all slept in late and then ate bowls of Special K while huddled around our little kitchen table.  It amazes me that we haven't had coffee this entire time, and although I'd sure love a cup it's not worth searching the streets for it in the morning.  We've seen a few little cafes that would be nice, but by the time we are up and organized it's so hot outside and I no longer feel like it.  This may be a record for us in going without coffee, because in both Scotland and England we weren't really 'fond' of their type of brew so we've had maybe 3 cups in the last 2.5 weeks.  I think we'll be making a giant pot the morning after we get home!

After our brunch of cereal, we went off in search of some cool looking old buildings and a church that we saw from the taxi window yesterday.  The first thing we came up to was the old 4 A.D. Roman walls of the city of Barcino (which is now Barcelona).  Very old, and very cool.  Pictures never do those things justice but I try anyway; the best thing is to just take a memory snapshot and hold you don't accidentally delete it!

Up the road a little bit was a very impressive Barcelona Cathedral (also known by the very long name of 'Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia') with a huge area with museums and various buildings around it.  It was built mostly in the 14th century and was very beautiful.  The best part of that area (besides the impressive looking church) was the great restaurant we ate lunch in.  I may have mentioned this before, but both Jeff and I are very scared of paella.  We know it's a very famous Spanish dish, yet every time we've ever had it we have been very disappointed.  On our honeymoon in the Canary Islands (owned by Spain) it was everywhere so we ordered it.  It looked beautiful and impressive, yet had absolutely no flavour.  Then in Spain 4 years ago we ordered it and although the kids loved it, we again thought it was pretty boring.  I've heard from so many people lately how much they love it, so today we were brave and went for it.  The restaurant was really nice and the menu said it would take extra time for the paella, so we felt that was an indication that they cared about their food and gave it extra love and care.  Well, it was delicious.  Lots and lots of flavour and I can see why people like it.  I will not make a face anymore when someone else says they enjoy it; I get it.  Julia ordered the very (non-Spanish) spaghetti Bolognese and ate every single bite, and Chloe went out on a limb and had spaghetti with olive oil and parmesan.  The adults drank Spanish wine and ate a very Spanish dish and were super-duper pleased.

We saw a market nearby on our map so we made our way over there with grand expectations after our recent market experiences.  This one was very beautiful and shiny and clean and had amazing architecture, but it was missing the energy and life of the previous market.  Lots of meat and vegetables but not a single gelato stand… what?!?  It was interesting to see, but it didn't make us want to buy anything.  Instead we walked the little streets back, went into a few souvenir shops, and had some ice cream.  By then it was definitely pool time so we spent a really nice few hours lounging around and relaxing.  At one point I looked up and all 4 of us were engrossed in our books; what a great way to spend an afternoon.

After enough sun it was time to relax in our apartment and wait until the appropriate time to go to dinner.  I saw Julia sneak into the fridge a few times and cut a little piece off of the block of Manchego cheese we keep in there.  (It's a Spanish sheep cheese that she has developed quite the taste for!)  Waiting until 'dinner time' here is sometimes difficult, especially when you're 9.  I'm going to do a pre-dinner post again tonight as I'm reading a good book right now and as soon as we're home from dinner I want to hop into my pj's and keep reading it!  (I'm on vacation after all…)


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