Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dining in Barcelona

For this trip, the whole idea is to eat the world-renowned food and maintain my weight. The focus will be good food choices, small portions and lots of walking.

As I was traveling on my own, this should be easy. I’ll be eating on my time and choosing restaurants that appeal to me.

Starting off with eating on the plane, coach class. The food was plentiful - salad, pasta, chocolate brownie, ice cream, cookie, tea - not necessary to finish all, but I was starved; ate everything and slept well.

Beverages:

Tap water is meant to be fine but drank bottled water; brushed teeth with tap water.

Decided not to drink wine as it’s not my favorite beverage and there’s no need to waste calories. Also it’s not fun to drink alone.

Walked into Starbucks –the same as the US - same coffee options, sandwiches, pastries, comfortable couches, cool people – my daughter will be happy to know that.

Meals that I tried

For lunch, 2 appetizers or tapas for lunch. To understand the menu, a Russian salad is mayo, potatoes, boiled eggs, veggies and more mayo. A lentil salad is lentils and a little proscuitto (cold meat) which looked perfect. Then they poured a cup of olive oil on it. What is that about? The portions are meant to be for two I am sure. I couldn’t finish these salads yet still felt stuffed.

For dinner, I bought an apple. That was all I needed especially as I was going to bed at 9 PM with jetlag.

For my next lunch, I was looking for somewhere local to eat and saw a sign with Spanish and English menus. It was very cute. I sat at the bar and ordered grilled sardines. They were really large and I didn’t know how to eat them. Carefully separating the fish from the tiny bones still ending up with bones in my mouth. I asked the waiter if I could eat the bones but he said they were too large. Also they didn’t break up in my mouth so I would have to remove them unceremoniously. Rather than choke on a bone, I left most of the sardines. Then had a chickpea salad with onions and peppers. It was tasty but again drenched in olive oil. I need to catch them before they do that. You just don’t know it when you see the nice salad in a serving dish. I was still hungry so ordered one small ham and potato croquette. It was delicious. For dessert I had a fruit salad, although their dessert selection was incredible.

The people next to me ordered a bottle of wine and 5 dishes. Their food was much more delicious than mine - bruschetta, sausages, fried potatoes with cheese sauce, etc. Food envy!!! I daren’t wait to see what they ordered for dessert as I was already lusting after their food too much.

For another lunch, I had to try paella, so found a restaurant that had mini-paellas - 1 cup delicious rice with a tsp of chicken and 2 tsp veggies in a cute cast-iron saucepan. With a caffe con leche (café au lait), the meal was enough.

I did try a small hot chocolate one evening, just couldn’t resist it.

If you’re homesick, there is Mc D’s.

Activity

Pack layers, as the weather can be really cool out of season and this is a walking city.

Start with an organized bus tour that allows you to explore at the many stops. Every day I walked from 11 AM to 4 PM, seeing numerous churches, beautiful buildings, designer furniture and ornaments. Barcelona is world famous for it’s incredible architecture and that is obvious. I also walked along many cute side streets, some 4 ft wide, to discover historic places. Often I’d get lost, then find more interesting squares and buildings, then find my way again. Such fun! Again, walking alone is easier than explaining to a traveling companion why you decide to change your plans every day.

When I got tired, I’d get on the bus again and watch the scenery through the windows.

Evenings were also fun, consisting of walking around and exploring different areas and parks.

In the end, I maintained my weight. Yippee!!!


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