I am in an apartment that has only 2 per floor which means that I get to see quite a few directions outside of the windows. Which way to the sea? That seems like the best way to orient myself. (Today I figured it out thanks to my Find Friends app. I looked to see where I was.)
After breakfast, I quizzed my host, Maria. Heading out of the building, I had two pieces of information - the name of the Metro stop and where I could buy a map.
When I checked the time, I saw that it was 1:30 pm which meant that it was lunch time. Restaurants are open for lunch and dinner but not in between and their hours are much different than home. Lunch is about 2 pm - this is the big meal. Dinner is at 10 pm. There are various other snack times during the day to tide one over - tapas - my kind of meal.
I found the Italian restaurant that was elusive the first day. La Tagliatella. The waiter was most kind. Would you like to see the menu in English? The enthusiasm I displayed was probably excessive given the situation. Let's just say that I like to know what I am ordering. Before the meal, they place a plate of olives as an appetizer. Little, green ones. Unbelievably good! The meal was outstanding - pasta with pork in a creamy mushroom sauce.
By the time I walked to the main drag, I was less interested in the idea of a map. I wasn't looking for a particular street and I didn't know where anything was. I notice that relatively simple quests at home are elusive to me here - where to find a super market or a pair of flip flops. I do know, BTW, where the Sephora is if you need some help with that in Barcelona.
I found my way to the Metro. Which is the underground subway. What if, I decided, that my goal today was to get myself downtown and back? Buying tickets? Which direction? And I found my map, on the wall. I repeated the name of the train inside my head. And I was being whisked downtown.
When I head came out of the ground, I was on the edge of a busy street. This must be Las Ramblas I thought. Indeed. This street is just for pedestrians and is packed with outdoor markets, shops, restaurants and cafes.
I headed in the other direction. In the plaza, Placa de Catalunya, I found an information booth where the woman told me that this was the start of Las Ramblas, a 1.2 km This was the first place all day where I heard people speak English on the street.
My meandering on the way home brought me past about 4 patisseries in my neighbourhood. This is one pastry kind of city.