We could not have planned this trip better. My husband and I are in Barcelona, Spain in time for Columbus Day, which is tomorrow, October 13, 2014. As we disembarked from Oceania’s “Riviera” cruise ship after hosting a 10-day culinary cruise, and our taxi drove out of the city’s port area, we passed a tall, impressive statue of Christopher Columbus, standing in the center of a busy traffic circle at Mirador de Colom.
As Randy and I walked through the city today, exploring major thoroughfares and ancient, narrow streets, there was an air of celebration everywhere – in town squares crowded with busy outdoor cafes, in front of Barcelona’s 13th century gothic Cathedral, and from residents’ balconies, many of which were draped with flags.
I spent a lot of time peeking through café, restaurant, and shop windows as we walked, many of which featured pizzas, gorgeous sandwiches with thin slices of locally produced ham, and freezer cases heaped with a colorful array of frozen gelato. For lunch, Randy and I decided to skip the oh-so-appealing cafes in favor of a shop that featured racks of Iberian cured hams. The proprietor was slicing paper-thin pieces of meat from the bone as we walked in, and the aroma of freshly-baked bread filled the air. We chose one of the few remaining empty tables, glanced through the menu, trying to decipher the descriptions when neither of us speaks Spanish, and ordered ham sandwiches with brie and Havarti cheese. They arrived warm and toasty from the oven – a little slice of culinary heaven in Barcelona.