Wednesday, April 13, 2011
As we're driving we realize that Mike and Browen's "Barcelona" airport arrival is at Girona, which is a city actually 45 miles from Barcelona. So we adjust our plans, in part because Empùries was so interesting and we spent longer there than we thought we would.
We decide to drive into the middle of Girona to check out its old parts of town and have tapas before going to pick up Mike and Browen at the airport. We picked up a second rental car in Béziers before heading to Spain as we will need room for 6 on the way back. So with the Peugeot with its GPS as lead car and Christie and Katie following in the Renault Clio, we navigate to a parking lot under an overpass and figure out how to pay (put in money, get ticket, put on dashboard of car). Seems simple enough, but it won't take coins. Christie manages to get her credit card to work and so we head off with 2 hours "in the meter".
It's a fair walk with Katie directing us. Luckily we had bought a map of the region at a rest stop along the AutoPista (Interstate) and it has a map of the center of Girona. We wander along some pedestrian streets to a street along the river, the main "Rambla", that has many cafés and shops. Katie and Christie are delighted to be back in Spain. Katie loves the way the Spanish have tapas (small plates of hors-d'oeuvres) after work and then stroll the city. The stores are all open for business until late in the evening, when the restaurants start serving dinner around 9 PM. We see a 2 L "bidonette" (Katie and Christie's invented word) in the wine section of a small grocery store. It is cheap, so Christie buys it to have wine in the hotel room.
We stop for tapas at a restauraunt that Christie and Katie determine has typical spanish tapas. They offer a menu of 4 tapas, chorizo sausage, croquettes, patatas brava, and pintxos (in this case, pork with curry) with a salad for 9 Euros which 3 of us order, Christie choosing something more suitable to her intolerance for lactose, tortilla espana, and cheese and meat plate. We share a pitcher of Sangria which is tastier than most of the Sangria found in the states. I wonder how it's made and wonder if the wine makes a difference (I'm sure it must, but one can hope).
Then off to the airport to pick up Mike and Browen, who arrive as scheduled. RyanAir made them check their carry on bags (for a fee of course) so while we can see them through the arrival doors, (whew!) we have to wait for them.
We caravan off to our hotel in Barcelona where we carefully squeeze our already small cars into even narrower parking spaces carefully avoiding support pillars that seem to be right in our way in the parking ramp below our hotel. Parking will cost us 30 Euros ($45) per day per car, which makes the cost for what should have been a moderately priced hotel into something quite a bit pricier. I head for bed, but the 5 remaining tap into the bidonette, discovering that the wine is truly terrible. We wonder if it is the wine used for making Sangria ... we end up dumping the remainder at the hotel before leaving Friday morning.