After purchasing the food for our lunch, the group (2 couples from Australia and two people from Pennsylvania plus ourselves) returned to the cooking school and spent the next three and a half hours cooking and eating.
We made some antipasto and a cold soup of tomatoes with bread softened in vinegar. It was garnished with Iberico ham, hard boiled egg and onion sprouts. Delicious. Second course was flatbread with sautéed spinach, pine nuts, raisins and salt cod. Also delicious. Our main course was, of course, paella and for desert we had Crema Catalonia (similar to Creme Brûlée). It was a great experience and a good value too.
After our cooking lesson we went to Palau Guell, an early Gaudi building. It was a high-end residence in which Gaudi used many of the techniques and ideas that he would later become famous for most notably mosaic tile work and "crazy" chimney treatments. It was not our favorite Gaudi building but it was interesting and well worth the visit.
Dinner tonight was on our own and we chose ... wait for it ... hamburgers. To be fair, they were from a local place and 100% organic. Still it was a far cry from last night's dinner at El Glop. This not so attractively named restaurant was friendly and the food was tasty. We had fried artichokes and ham followed by black rice paella (made with squid ink) and grilled meat. It was quite good and we enjoyed getting to know our tapas' tour guide Claire and her friend Mery (not a spelling error).
Earlier in the day (yesterday) we visited Casa Mila which is also known as La Pedrera (the Rock Quarry). I am sure you've seen pictures of this wavy concrete building. The most remarkable feature of the building is its roof which is quite striking -- full of decorated chimneys some of which look like helmeted warriors.
Before La Pedrera we spent several hours touring the Joan (pronounced Zho-Ahn) Miro museum and the Museum of Catalonian Art. We had an excellent guide named Bernat and he explained to us the Miro art and made sure that we didn't miss the best of the Modern Art section of the huge Catalonian art museum. It was a lot of walking so by the end of the day, well obviously I was too tired to write.
On a totally unrelated note, can we talk for a minute about how painful it is to be surrounded by great stuff to buy and not be able to buy it because you have no room in your luggage? (And this is after we went out and bought an emergency fourth suitcase!). It's almost as painful as tons of bookstores with no books in your language! Or huge, beautiful food markets and no cooking facilities. Why it's downright cruel.
Seriously though I can't believe our time in Barcelona will soon be coming to an end. Two more nights at the hotel and then two nights on the ship in port here and then no more Barcelona for us. We've really enjoyed ourselves here. Russell has said on several occasions that you need a month to explore all that this city has to offer and I am inclined to agree with him.