Weekend in Sant Cugat (Barcelona)

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We kicked the trip off with Vancouver to Heathrow in British Airways First class (after a one way Avis rental in a tiny Nissan Versa from ZAAZ).  This was our second international first class experience, and our Cathay Pacific flights last year to South Africa set a pretty high bar.

Nonetheless, there was a “who am I?” moment when we were served our post take-off bowl of nuts.  Two pressing questions immediately crossed my mind:  (1) why haven’t these nuts been warmed? and (2) kinda cheap to only have cashews—where are the macadamias?

Otherwise, the pajamas and lay flat bed were totally fine.  And you can’t beat sitting in the first row of a 747 in the nosecone with windows that face slightly forward.  I’ll share some photos of the cabin in a future post on the way home.

After our 15-minute back massages/facials at the British Airways lounge, we were on our way to our first destination of Barcelona.  Ten years ago, Lillie was an au pair for a family there, and we’ve stayed in touch and visited many times since.  The little infant from back then turns ten this year—crazy.

So we spent the past two days at the family’s house gorging ourselves on Catalan food—best food on the continent, for my money.  I made a big mistake not taking a picture of the homemade paella we ate on Saturday—comprised of rabbit, chicken, squid, clam, and prawns.  So take our word it was delicious.  Even our friend Mark from Toronto happened to stop by to have a bite (he coincidentally was in town for the Mobile World Congress).

We had a late dinner at Braseria la Bolera in Sant Cugat, where we enjoyed just in season calçots.  They are a young, green onion chargrilled then served with a sort of romesco sauce.  Here is our paella chef Marcel demonstrating the Catalan eating technique:

Sunday morning was quite the breakfast of champions—xurros/churros dunked in your own personal bowl of thick chocolate soup.  It was obviously delicious, but you can’t help but but think the whole time that it’s not something you should be eating at 9am.

Jet lag aside, we had an amazingly enjoyable time hanging out with the family in little Sant Cugat.  We even managed to watch two of the kids play basketball on Saturday morning at the local gym!

Huge thanks to Marcel, Montse, Joana, Laia, and Pep for hosting us.  And also to Teresa for making the 2 hour trek from Lleida to spend Saturday with us.  This was an incredibly pleasant way to start our trip.

I’ll end this now with some selected shots taken with my camera (with a new 50mm f/1.4 lens) by 13-year old Joana: