Our last day in Barcelona arrived – all too quickly – and there were still many, many items on our ‘must see’ list unexplored! So we wasted no more of the precious time remaining, and packed up our stuff, tidied our flat, left our keys on the dining table and headed out dragging our wheelie bags like all noisy tourists arriving in or leaving a city.
As our flights did not leave until late afternoon, we dropped the luggage at the left luggage centre near Catalunya station – very central, reasonable rates. We even had a discount voucher for this place from the booklet given to us when we did the tourist ‘hop on hop off’ bus, so it was a bargain (mind you, it was the only voucher that we thought to use the whole time – and there were plenty more!).
Went to the MACBA – Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (another one included on the ArTicket Barcelona). Three floors that share a dizzying atrium with a ramp that lets the visitor gradually experience the changing view as they rise. Each floor has it’s own agenda with connected rooms of surprises that either stop you in your tracks or move on. A room of art for vision-impaired people, with tactile versions next to the original was just one example of how a well-conceived and run gallery can involve its guests in creative ways. The forecourt was graced with clothes lines with pegged portraits that kept you guessing and looking up as you walked.
From there we went to lunch at Teresa Carles vegetarian restaurant, which was high on my ‘list’ for vego places in the city. We hadn’t had the chance to try this one out before, but it was between the museum and our luggage, so we decided to give it a go. This place was established in 1979 (!) – impressive for a vegetarian restaurant in Spain – and is THE place to go if one is not carnivore and is after fresh, healthy and very tasty food. When we arrived (without a booking), it was chockers and there was a wait list. We said thank you, but we had to get to the airport and turned to go. The maître d’ didn’t want to lose us, so asked us to wait for 2 minutes and he sorted it – basically bumped us up the wait list. Impressive – naturally, we left a tip. The food was probably the best vegetarian we had had in Spain – and its influences span 5 continents. Our favourites were a lentil and vegetable stew with oyster mushrooms and crunchy seitan dices, and a tomato, mozzarella and basil ravioli with tomato and pesto.
After our culinary highlight, we parted ways with our friends who were flying back to Vienna a few hours later than our departure for home, and we caught a cab to the airport – so much easier than lugging suitcases on the metro! (And much kinder to my back!!) The airport experience for the homeward bound journey is never brimming with the anticipation of what lies ahead. But it does allow time for pause and reflection (especially if you arrive in plenty of time so as not to have to rush for a flight). Spain has been a delightful ride full of wonderful culinary, cultural, historical and artistic experiences, and I can see why this city in particular is the favourite of so many visitors. Goodbye, Barcelona – you are one fiery, seductive, exciting broad! I hope we meet again.