Monday, August 22, 2016

Barcelona: A Day Trip to Sitges & Unforgettable Tapas at Ciudad Condal


It's now Saturday, our 5th Day in Barcelona and we decided to change things up a bit. The first 3 days were all about us exploring the city on foot. The 4th day we decided to treat ourselves by riding the Hop On Hop Off bus where we covered lots of historical sites without having to walk that much. For today, I suggested that we go to the beach. After all, we were just a few minutes away from the beach and easily, we could be on the Mediterranean Sea within minutes. However, you should know that would have been too easy....to walk a few minutes to the beach.


On Friday night, I reviewed different TripAdvisor posts about beaches just outside of Barcelona, or day trips outside Barcelona. We chose Sitges. So on Saturday morning, after grabbing a quick breakfast, we took a cab to Passeig de Gracia, that's where we caught the train to Sitges. Each way was around $4 Euros, so that was around $32 Euros total for us. When we went to buy the tickets, the guy at the counter suggested that we get a T-1 for Zone 3, the heart of Barcelona is Zone 1, but Sitges + the heart of Barcelona was Zone 3. Buy doing that, not only do we get 4 roundtrip tickets but we still had enough left over to catch a few more rides. Oh and instead of paying $32 Euros, the T-3 was around $26 Euros. Thank you, Mr. Customer Service guy!





We found 4 seats quite easily, we caught the 11:37am train. It got us to Sitges just past 12 noon (within 1/2 hour). That was actually enough for us to take a very quick nap. A quick left out of the station and we just tried to follow the street that somehow led to the ocean. We were in Platja San Sebastian within 10 minutes. It's a much wider beach compared to Cascais Lisbon. The best part - the water. Much warmer than Cascais. It reminded me so much of Maui. Nancy stayed close to the beach while I played with Evan and Caitlin.We must've enjoyed our time, we didn't realize that we spent 2 hours swimming.









La Picara
Hunger finally called, and La Picara answered. We were craving for another tapas-style experience. So I checked TripAdvisor and found La Picara. It was a small restaurant with a bar and a few chairs. You can order things by pieces, or a full portion. Between me and Nancy, we tried pork sausage, codfish, chicken curry skewers, papas fritas and eggs....it was quite filling. The atmosphere was relaxed. The server explained every single tapa. So there, tapa craving was satisfied.




Back to Barcelona, now what?

We headed back to Barcelona around 5:30pm. The kids wanted to head back Placa Catalunya to feed birds. On our way there, we saw Ciudad Condal, another tapas restaurant that our good friend, Judy, recommended. We were still so full from our tapas at La Picera, so we decided to go feed the birds, not us.

Caitlin and Evee bought a bag of bird seeds and did all they could to attract the pigeons. Once they did so, it was a thrill just watching them feed the birds from their hands. Oh to be a kid again!




This was our last night in Barcelona, and we were getting ready for our next move - Madrid. We walked across the street to my other Disneyland, la tienda manzana, the Apple Store. This allowed me to do some last minute review regarding the things that we need to do for our trip to Madrid.



Next thing you know, it was already 9pm. We headed back to Ciudad Condal, and it was a market place. Think of the New York Stock Exchange. Customers were lined up to get their names listed. While others, stood in front of the tapas bar and called out their orders. We were told that our wait would be 40 minutes. Luckily, 4 seats opened up at the tapas bar, and I immediately grabbed opportunity. I was skeptical because of the "bar" experience knowing that I have kids. But this was not your typical bar. It was more of an eating/serving bar. Plus, to my left was another family with 3 kids (very young kids), and they were all enjoying their tapas.






TPT - The Pinoy Treatment
Ciudad Condal had quite a few Filipino waiters and servers. It was nice to hear them give us a very warm welcome the moment we walked in earlier that evening, and to have recognized us when we came back that night. It was even a bigger plus that we ended up sitting right in the middle of the bar which allowed us to see them more in action.

It was a feast for the eyes to be sitting at the bar. It was so lively, so much fun. We ordered their seafood platter of steamed clams, shrimp, fried fish, pimiento de padron. We also ordered their baked cod fish. Everything was delicious. The biggest knockout for me was not the seafood, but the pimiento de padron....just good ol' grilled peppers. It was so good, I had to order two.





It felt good to be served by our fellow Pinoys at Ciudad Condal. They spoke spanish very well, and communicated well with their customers. Above all, they enjoyed what they were doing and it showed.









That was our last night in Barcelona....next blog, Madrid!!!

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