What is it with that dog? More on that later, but first an update…
I’m back in Spain! After another painless Air Norwegian direct flight last Sunday night, I arrived in the now very familiar Barcelona airport, collected my bags (full of boating equipment purchased in the States to avoid the local 21% VAT fees) and jumped in a cab to our favorite Barcelona Hotel.
The Barcelona Colon Hotel is right across the square from the amazing Cathedral of Barcelona and is located within easy walking distance of just about any place we’d want to see.
Deb and I have stayed here several times now and we always spend a few more Euros to get a room overlooking the plaza and the cathedral. I nabbed this photo of the moon passing over the cathedral there a couple of years ago! Timing is everything.
On the first morning following my arrival, I woke up at 5am to a tremendous lightning storm. It was amazing, right out of a Hitchcock horror film and I couldn’t stop watching for about an hour. This clip provides an idea of what things looked like.
May 1st (May Day) is a holiday in Spain so Morpheus remained high and dry that first day while I wandered around and re-acquainted myself with Barcelona to jump start my very limited mastery of the Spanish language.
I started with a trip to the local coffee shop. Cafe Americano & some sort of a pastry that contained all of my favorite things!!
Moved on to lunch at the beach.
Wandered around long enough to check out the daily protests and justify a nice long nap!
Many who know me will question my nap.
This is because my theory on dealing with jet lag is that in order to “adjust”, you need to start living the local time immediately regardless of how tired you might be. The difference here is that “normal” in Spain is dinner at 10pm, followed by after dinner drinks (gin & tonics), and perhaps more drinks until 2am or later! So actually, in this case, an afternoon siesta fit my theory well.
I woke to the sounds of guitar music filling the plaza below. So great…
And now, much as I might want to go back to sleep it was time to get out and enjoy the best of Barcelona! Barcelona at night!! I was soon off to revisit some of my favorite spots and a couple of news ones along the way.
Far and away, the highlight of my night was a return to our favorite late night spot La Alcoba Azul.
Four maybe five years ago, Deb and I were wandering around town. We took a small narrow street off of the City Hall Plaza and stumbled into a real gem of a place. La Alcoba Azul is a long, very narrow tapas restaurant/bar built long ago out of stone. The decor is funky and very difficult to describe but features several candelabras with an accumulation of years worth of melted wax.
When we wandered in that first time we grabbed two stools at the bar and immediately found ourselves talking to an incredibly nice bartender “Rodrigo” that has traveled the world and loves to make the most amazing gin & tonics.
Over the next few years, we would return on a semi regular basis and Rodrigo would always remember us. He became “our bartender in Barcelona”! It wasn’t quite Cheers where everyone knows your name, but it was still our local bar.
Unfortunately, last year we lost track of Rodrigo and thought that little adventure had come to an end.
My plan was to hit La Alcoba Azul last that night. I wandered by hoping for a spot at the bar and the place was packed! So…I thought I’d check back later, but as I turned to walk away, I noticed an employee waving and banging on the window. What’s up with that?
So, here is my highlight for my first night back in Barcelona.
Rodrigo is back!!
The remainder of that evening was a predictable series of gin & tonics with gins/tonics/ingredients that I had never tried, and a series of short conversations with Rodrigo to learn that he had had left after a disagreement with management and gone to work for Fubol Club Barcelona. He hated that job and jumped at the chance to return to La Alcoba Azul when new ownership took over the restaurant and offered him the opportunity to manage the bar.
At the end of the night, he offered to write down a couple of his gin&tonic recipes for us to use at Patrick’s rehearsal dinner in July. I promised we would serve one and name it the “Rodrigo Gin Tonic” in his honor.
It’s worth noting here that Rodrigo did ask where Debbie was, and did not ask about Ita. But, more on that later…
The next day…
As you might imagine, morning did not come early for me that next day. But, that’s ok because EMV Marine in Badalona is only a 15 minute cab ride away and Morpheus was not scheduled to be launched until about noon. Not only that but my previous experiences with “about noon” here gave me the comfort of knowing that about noon did not mean earlier than noon!
I rolled into EMV Marine at about noon, Morpheus was still high and dry and at first it seemed like a wonderful reunion of old friends! Everyone seemed very excited to see one another again. How great is that, to have friends so far from home I thought!
And then, the question started. Always the same question. And, seemingly I did not have the right answer, because each time I responded people seemed to lose interest in me and wander off back to doing whatever work they had left to say hello.
That question? “Donde Esta Ita?”
Yes, that’s right. Everybody loves that little dog, and apparently Debbie and I are simply her caretakers. Perhaps even just “the help”.
Back to the update…
Morpheus looks to have weathered the winter well. The travel lift arrived 30 minutes after I did. Luckily, without Ita nobody wanted to talk with me, so I was able to jump onboard and reconnect all the batteries, open the engine water intake thru hull and power up the basic systems before she was lifted from her winter spot and delivered to the water.
A new project manager whom I had not met in the past joined me as we motored Morpheus from where she was launched over to her new temporary home. By way of introduction he said, “I am very new here, but I can tell you that the entire office has been waiting for you to arrive. They can’t stop talking about your dog!“
SO…Donde esta Ita?!?
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Ita is with Deb (or Chris) in California!! Deb’s not leaving until AFTER Patricks wedding!!
So Jim. Where IS Ita?
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Ita is where she always is. Within a few feet of Debbie. As you might guess, Debbie has no desire to leave California prior to Patrick’s big day. So, I am flying solo here for six weeks getting the boat ready for her arrival in late July. Not actually solo, as I do have a few visitors scheduled to join me over the next few weeks!!
Excited to try your night spot and meet Rodrigo, I’ll tell him Ita sent me
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Ita is the International “It Girl” … love it!
No offence, dear friend, but Ita is pretty special! Glad that you had a good trip back “home” and found your special bartender friend. Miss you ! enjoy your travels.
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