Sunday, August 31, 2014

Petite Paul does relocation to Barcelona, Gaudy Apartments (or is that Gaudi?) and Haute Cuisine

Andorra. We sure will miss you.
Today, we slipped the surly bonds of Andorra and our newfound friends from the UK, Ireland, Australia and Nederlands. And our lovely family run hotel in Soldeu. We made the 4 hour bus ride back to Barcelona. To anyone who is looking for a very economical vacation walking in the Pyrenees, we highly recommend EXPLORE, which is a British company for this and many other types of vacation. They make it affordable and you stay in tourist class hotels, eat in reasonably priced restaurants, and meet other interesting low key people. And our guide, Bert, was stellar.

Once we arrived back in Barcelona and said our goodbyes, we trekked to our new hotel, ABAC. Paul and I found this place on line and booked it in March. At that time,they offered a crazy low rate if you paid in advance. So we thought why not? I had planned to walk the St James Way after this trip and although that feel through, one of the reasons we ended up in this non-tourist area was that it was near the overnight train to Sarria...the starting point of the last 100km on the St. James Way.  Wow, were we living in a  state of grace. This hotel is amazing...this is like a hotel ROCK STARS would stay in. Seriously.
Queen sized bed. Nice after sleeping in Ozzie and Harriet's cribs recently. The blinds are remote control!

Chairs in our desk and TV area. Comfy.

You see this balcony???THIS IS JUST FOR US. Nobody else. Eat your heart out BONO and Mick Jagger!

Jacuzzi tub and rain shower.

Paul and I gloating on our deck.

Lunch. Yum.

The cat on the roof next door.
There is also a spa we can use free of charge and some gardens, a lounge, a restaurant that we cannot even get into....maybe they have heard me singing in the shower?  They let us walk into the kitchen and observe whenever we want and pretty much wait on us hand and foot. It's awesome. Better not get used to it. We were actually tempted NOT to go into Barcelona to sight-see at all.

But we did and we revisited La Pedrara, Gaudi's apartment building in the center of the city. What a lovely building. It's very complex in design and has a central atrium.
Looking up from the atrium.

Looking down from the roof.
Casa Milà, popularly known as ‘La Pedrera’ (the stone quarry), an ironic allusion to the resemblance of its façade to an open quarry, was constructed between 1906 and 1912 by Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926). Its uniqueness, artistic and historic value have received major recognition and in 1984 was inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List. It's quite an architectural and artistic icon.
La Pedrera also known as Casa Mila.
We love all the artsy fartsy details...meaning they blow us away!
Vents or flues...and Paul.

An more artistic interpretation!

Paul in one of the archways on the roof. In the background is one of Gaudi's other masterpieces, Catedral Familia Sagrada.

This is the attic. Kinda nice for a storage bin!

I love the apartment they have left set up to represent the period that the apartment was built.
The office. No Steve Carrell :)
I love some of the detailed furnishings and decor.
The maids quarters.

Lovely floors in the potty. A bidet included.

Paul studies his reflection in the old timey dressing mirror. Notice metalwork on the balcony.

Nice stove!

Art deco candy dish

 I loved the dining room and small serving items of the kitchen.
Dining area. The chandelier retired from its career as a flapper!

That olive oil is probably pretty rancid...but I love the container.
Overall, this was definitely worth going back for a second visit since 2011. There were a few interpretive changes, but overall, a nice look into the mind and creativity of Gaudi.

From here, we navigated the subway system back to Avenuida Tibidabo and our hotel and got ready to visit Petit Pau. This is a great tiny restaurant of only 6 tables and two owners/chefs. The food was amazing.

A gourmand considers his options

Scallops with truffle and shaved zucchini. Nothing fishy about it.

Duck breast with mixed berry glaze and a pear from a pear tree.

Squidiliciousness and brown rice. You ain't eating this in Knoxville!

Turbot with lemongrass and carrot slaw. It made me slobber.
Petit Pau owner and Chef in Center

Petit Pau Interior

Seriously, this meal was over the top. I am sure Paul is still pondering it....

Paul's Ponderings:   A great day out in Barcelona, or what was left after the drive down from Andorra!   We had visited the Gaudi apartments before, but they are always stunning and remain that way.   It really is a masterpiece of architecture and design.   The highlight of the day was food at Petit Pau, which turned into a 3.5 hour meal, in typical Catalan style.   We had Cava to start, followed by some exquisite seafood beginners to whet the appetite, then mains of duck breast and fish.   Two guys were running the entire six person restaurant, the owner/chef and a cook.   We booked this a week ago and were not disappointed.   He sent quite a few walk-ups away, due to no booking.  You can tell the owner puts his heart into this food and the experience of providing it to patrons -- he is quite an engaging guy and we talked with him at length, since we closed the place down.   It's a small menu with about six starters, six entrees, a small number of desserts, and three alcohol choices -- a red, a white, and cava.   The menu turns over once a month.  This is really outstanding food for Barcelona, which is a haven for incredible dining, and in total it ended up costing us about $150 with tip.   Wow, it was just great is all I can say.   On top of all that, it's located in the Sants area of town they were having a huge festival for St. Bartholomew outside, with fireworks and more.   Scads of folks out and about in typical Catalan fashion.   Bueno!

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