A Spanish Birthday Celebration - Drinking Our Way to Barcelona (Day 11)

September 9th, 2015

We were only staying in Sitges for one night.  And this was the time that the error of our trip really came into focus.  I may have mentioned this in the past (I have been working on this trip report for the last four months, so cut me a little bit of slack about remembering here), arriving in Sitges last night then leaving in the morning was not enough time to spend a ton of time in the city.  Or specifically, at the beach.  Adele was desperately wanting a beach day.  But we had to check out of the hotel at noon.  So we had to have breakfast, go to the beach, come back, shower, pack and check out.  All in a short amount of time.

The morning began at breakfast.  And even if you don't want breakfast at your hotel, you're gonna want to partake in this one.  It was free with the stay and it was amazing.  What do you want for breakfast?? Omelettes??  Done.  Pastries??  Of course.  Pineapple??  Now you're just embarrassing yourself.  YES, PINEAPPLE!!  I mean, I could keep listing foodstuff, but you get the picture.  There was food a plenty.  As I mentioned yesterday (I mean...a month or so ago...look, let's all play along with the timeline at this point), we were full on in the minority.  No other women had graced the Hotel Platjador with their presence during this time of the year.  Bear Week and all.

After scarfing down breakfast at a record pace, we made our way upstairs to our room to gather as much as we could as quickly as possible.  There wasn't much time to hang out on the beach.

The good part was our hotel had towels and other beach items to rent.  So we partook in that particular amenity.  We were able to spend a little bit of time relaxing while listening to the soothing sounds of the waves.  They really are soothing.  I finally started reading the September issue of In Style I had been carting around this entire time (note to self, you are not going to read these giant magazines on a trip).  Unfortunately, before we achieved peak relaxation, it was time to head back upstairs.

I went first, because of my hair (it does not like not being pampered on a daily basis).  And Adele wanted every last second she could gather at the beach.  We have gotten into a rhythm in getting ready in the morning, so by the time I was just finishing up, she was coming back into the room, feeling dejected that we had to leave.

Had we planned a little differently, we'd have stayed in Sitges for another day.  Then we could have had a full day of beach time.  Where I am completely sure I would have been sunburned.  Because, that's how I roll.

After checking out of the hotel, we had several hours to wander a bit around the town of Sigtes.  But neither of us had our heart in it.  It was a bit like The Walking Dead.  We shuffled from store to store. "Do we want to go in there??"  "Meh."  The thing was, we had plans later in the afternoon.  So we couldn't vacate the city just yet.  We did a little shopping, then sat on the water for a light lunch.  After a while, we gathered our luggage and made our way back to the car.  Sitges became a speck in the rearview mirror.  Do I think I'll ever see Sitges again??  Honestly, probably not.  But it was fun while it lasted.

Before we drove the 30 minutes to Barcelona, we had our final tour planned.  We'd gone on a few tours in Haro and Elciego.  We wanted to go on the Cider tour, but that didn't happen.  The final stop was for Cava.

Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine from the Penedes region of Spain.  We were passing through the region, so of course, we had to stop.  Back in the planning stages, I actually said to Adele, "What if we're all wine'd out by this point in our trip??"  Yeah.  We weren't.

While we were in the "Cava Region" it seemed there weren't a ton of places for tours.  Or the ones we found were super commercialized.  I mean, I guess that's what they want.  Tourists.  But it just rang false to us.  So we found a tour that seemed a bit more intimate.

Recaredo is a family owned wine that has stood for nearly a century.  The building itself was in a bit more of an industrial area in Sant Sadurni d'Anoia, outside of Barcelona.  We found out during the tour that the vineyards cover areas of the region, but the bottles are housed where we were touring.  And how many bottles there were.  Man.  So many bottles.

We couldn't take pictures while on the tour.  But we saw everything we needed to see on a tour.  We saw how bottles were supposed to be turned so the sediment could be easily pulled out at a later time.  We saw how the sediment actually was pulled out.  We met cousins or relatives of the original owner.  The tour was really nice.  But really, we were there to drink.

Obviously my favorite.  As you can see by the heart drawing.
Eight of us started out at the tasting.  It included three bottles of Cava.  Everyone got a pour.  And like all other wine tastings we've had in Spain, it was a full pour.  We worked our way through the glasses, each deciding what was the better bottle.  We talked to a couple from Milwaukee, Cindy and William, and Midwestern chatter.  We got along so famously that we eagerly accepted when the guide asked if we wanted another bottle opened.

Sure, they want us to drink so we spend more in the store.  And for that, we happily obliged.  I wasn't planning on buying much.  The bag was already becoming heavier and heavier.  I was concerned about how this was all coming home.  But Recaredo also had a cute little wine stopper.  I asked for that, then a bottle of the Gran Reserva.  The guide kind of paused.  When she brought out my order, she had wine stoppers for everyone.  A "gift" for taking the tour.  Woo Hoo!!

Though I took no pictures of the chocolate itself.
Cindy and William asked if we had made it to the chocolate factory we passed as we were walking to the winery.  They had taken a tour earlier in the day and were going back for the shopping portion.  And they wanted us to come back to visit the factory.  While I'm not really a chocolate person, I knew it was a good place to pick up a few gifts to bring back home.  Though, consuming chocolate isn't the worst thing in the world either.

Apparently, I'm a sucker for cut out photo ops.
Looking back, both Adele and I regretted not picking up more chocolate.  

Barcelona was really not that far from where we were.  We expected about a 30 minute drive.  But what we didn't quite expect was that we were headed into the city at precisely the wrong moment.  We hit Rush Hour.

Now, Rush Hour at home is one thing.  We know what to expect.  Here...not so much.  We were entering Barcelona via a very main road.  One that stretched four to six lanes across in each direction.  And it was wall to wall cars.

God Bless Adele.  Seriously.  She loves "city driving."  Me...not so much.  So we were praying the GPS was directing us in the right way (there was a first time for everything).  And we were hoping beyond hope that we could get to where we needed to go without too much trauma.

"Ok, it looks like three blocks ahead you'll need to get into that right lane that juts off slightly.  That's where...you'll turn??  Does that make sense??"

These were the types of conversations we had.  It sucked.  But again, Adele was a goddamn Rock Star.  She moved the car when it needed to be moved.  And we found our hotel with minimal issues.  I'm going to talk about the hotel in a whole other post, so I won't go too crazy right here.  But Driving Karma was on our side as a hotel with no loading area had one open space for us to unload our luggage.  It was about time something went very right.

By this time, we didn't have much in us.  We'd checked into the hotel and dropped off the car, where it would sit for the next three days.  It was time for dinner.  And after 11 days of Spanish food, we were ready for a respite.  Not for forever.  Just one meal.  We ended up at a place you wouldn't really think of in Spain.  We ended up at an Indian restaurant.

Swagatam Bar is an unassuming restaurant tucked down a side street in Barcelona.  TripAdvisor definitely steered us in the direction.  And it was perfect.  We got possibly one of the last tables in the restaurant.  It looks like they do a steady Take Away business.  But they were also turning people away due to the lack of seating.  I was so hungry and tired that I never even took pictures of the food. I know, sacrilege, right??

We made our way back to the hotel and collapsed into a heap.  As always.  While the day didn't seem to be the most frenetic we'd had, it was long.  And we were getting steadily more tired as the trip went on.  But we still had more to see and do.  Just tomorrow.  Not today.


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