or for all you non-Spanish speakers out there ... “What’s happening in Terrassa?“
As I am already back from my Spanish voyage, I should be using the past tense, but I can’t because then it won’t rhyme with Terrassa. =P
So yes, I was chillaxin’/chillin’ like a villain in a town on the outskirts of Barcelona, called Terrassa!
I landed in Barcelona on Thursday (Aug 5th) late afternoon and took a shuttle bus from the airport to the city center. I felt like Superwoman as I was attempting to navigate the public transportation system of Barcelona all by my lonesome! Woot Woot!
I played up the tourist card and took photos from the shuttle bus …
The shuttle bus dropped us off at a main plaza in Barcelona called Plaza Catalunya.
I wondered if Catalunya translated to ‘an insane amount of pigeons’ because that was seriously the case here. The melody ‘Feed The Birds’ from Mary Poppins popped into my head. ‘Toppins a bag’ anyone?
Once I reached ‘Plaza Cata-Lots of Pigeons-lunya’, I was instructed by my hosts to find the nearest entrance to the underground subway system and then look for the S1 and take it to Terrassa. Well, go figure there was all this construction and I was getting all sorts of flustered, so being a woman, I decided to ask a transport officer for directions … and he told me not to take the S1 but another line instead, so I assumed it was due to the construction that the S1 was unavailable. I am a bit rusty on my Spanish, but I figured I got the gist of what he was saying.
Apparently I found all the right trains because I ended up where I needed to be … in Terrassa.
… OR SO I THOUGHT !!
As you can tell, from the video, my hosts were no where to be found. I was waiting and waiting and waiting. Then it dawned on me … there might be two different stations in Terrassa, one serving the S1 and one serving the one I took.
So I harassed this little old Spanish man sitting outside the train station I was at. Of course he didn’t speak any English, so I had to dig deep to find the Spanish I learned back in middle/high school. I probably sounded something like this:
Friend me tell take line S1. I no take S1. Man tell me no take S1. I no see my friend. Where to be other station in Terrassa.
There may or may not have been some SPAN-FR-ENG-ISH going on in my attempt to find out if there was in fact another train station, but the old man totally got what I was saying, because he walked me over to the nearest bus stop and told me what bus I needed to take to get to the other train station.
So the bus came, took me to the other train station, and there was my friend/host for the trip!!
Well ‘one half’ at least. The ‘other half’ was back at the apartment preparing the welcoming feast on their rooftop garden!
AND FINALLY, after me being a ‘bit’ late due to transport/language issues, the welcoming dinner was served!!
We dined on a MEAN BBQ-ed stack of lamb chops ‘a l’Espagnole’
I was then ‘forced’ to drink massive amounts of this GORGEOUS INCREDIBLE Bubbly Wonder known as Cava.
2006 ‘Odisea’ – Naveran Cava (link to wine)
This Cava in particular smelt like you walked by a bread shop in the morning with a zest of lemony goodness thrown in for good measure. ‘Whooooaaaa Nelly’ this CAVA was FREAKIN’ GREAT!! It is made from Chardonnay and Parellada grapes. Here is a link to the winery’s site.
For those of you wondering what CAVA is exactly:
- It is a Spanish sparkling wine.
- It is made in the traditional method used to make Champagne.
- It originated in the late 19th century in the Catalonia region at the Codorníu Winery, the world’s largest producer of sparkling wine made by the traditional method.
- Around 95% of Spain’s total Cava production is from the Catalonia region.
- It was originally known as Champaña until the term “Cava” (cellar) was adopted in 1970.
- The primary grapes used to make Cava are: Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel·lo, but some producers experiment with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.
The next wine I was ‘forced’ to drink was literally HEAVEN, CLOUD NINE, AND PARADISE in a bottle!!! HOLY MACKEREL this wine knocked my socks off and then some!!
2000 Vina Bosconia Red Reserva – Bodegas López de Heredia (link to wine)
This is one of the wine producers you have to know about to be part of the ‘Wineaux’ Fraternity. If you don’t, you better get to knowin’ it son, cause this is THE stuff!
Bodegas López de Heredia is located in Haro in the Rioja region of Spain. Here is a link to their site. This wine had hints of watermelon jollyrancher ;), spicy strawberries, that sweet/spicy Mexican lucas, and even some Chinese candy. I know that sounds strange, but trust me … IT WAS ‘LIKE WHOA!’ This wine could definitely be ‘part of my balanced breakfast’! YUMM!
Well I am sure you are dying to know who my hosts were in Terrassa and the reason for me going to Spain.
[DRUMROLL PLEASE] ….. RddRddRddRddRddRddRddRdd ….
. . . . . . . . .
HERE THEY ARE FOLKS …. . . . . . . . . .
The hosts of my Spanish adventure! Please give a round of applause for the ‘Infamous Wine Blogging Couple from Spain, Ryan and Gabriella OPAZ of CATAVINO.NET!! A couple of rad Americans who bought a one way ticket to Spain a few years ago to live there for a while …. just ’cause they could =P Check out my previous post about them for more info.
And as for the reason I was there to see them, well you have to wait for that. I can’t give away all my secrets this early in the post =P
So after severely intoxicating me with OUTSTANDING wines and DELICIOUS food … they finally let me get some rest =P But it was an early wake up call because we had some BIZness to take care of in Barcelona the next day.
Woke up early, took the ‘right’ train into Barcelona and headed to a fancy-shmancy hotel to ‘have a coffee’, but really it was just to use their free WiFi. Hahaha!
Isn’t the architecture of the hotel neighborhood gorgeous!? The swanky hotel lobby!! Fact: True bloggers always know where there is free WiFi and are not afraid to use it!! Me being swanky =P We tried to stay the whole day in the posh hotel lobby, but they caught onto us. One can only nurse a cafe Americano for so long. But do not worry, we had a backup … ‘Free WiFi Location #2’, Muahahaha! Fact: Do not mess with a True blogger. We will find your free WiFi and we will taketh over!!! We set up camp at a hip art gallery/cafe in Barcelona called Galeria Cosmo. This place was very welcoming to us WiFi squatters. Fact: If you provide bloggers with Free Wifi and do not push us out, we will love you long time!
So we dealt with our BIZness and then it was on to do some sightseeing in Barcelona and get our vinous action on and do some tapas/vino bar hopping!! Hope you enjoy the photo journey! This St. Josep open market is said to be world famous! I didn’t know what was more ‘off ‘ … store your wine near your dried pork products or storing your dried pork products near your wine? The famous European food tradition of dried salt fish, in Catalan it is called bacallà and in Spanish bacalao. FYI, in french it is called morue. Yes folks, she is handling your fish! Fish heads … it’s what’s for dinner! :/ If that isn’t a kissable face, I don’t know what is? If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! Ooooooo! Endless shelves of yummy Spanish wine! I was in heaven! Cava as far as the eye could see! Barcelonan architecture is incredible! Tapas at a Galician Tapas Bar!! I forget the names of these bad boys, but they were hushpuppy-like with a spicy tomato and cream sauce! Delicious! Next up was some steamed octopus with some spiced olive oil drizzled over it! Yumm! Due to their Celtic origins, the Galicians use cider cups to serve their wine! Got Wine … in a cider cup? As a matter of fact I do! Me battling the tapas fork! If they replaced library books with wine bottles it would look like this! I felt like the wineaux version of Belle from Beauty and the Beast when she discovered the library in the beast’s castle! … I know I’m a dork. Don’t judge =P Do you think this wine tastes as vulgar as its label? I was professing my love to all the Spanish wines. The Santa Maria del Mar Church Tapas Bar #2 … movin’ on to some Cava Sangria! I don’t really remember much after the sangria, it was all a bubbly haze. Apparently we went home on the train and had MORE Spanish wine?!?
The next day was a workin’ day for us, but when evening rolled around, Ryan and Gabriella set out again to continue spoiling me … we had an appetizer of delicious Spanish cheeses, while waiting for …. ‘Chef Ryan’ to make some HOMEMADE PAELLA!! Being a fellow lover of the kitchen, I just had to bother him with cooking talk and taking photos of the Paella-making process!
Making the chicken stock… First the Chorizo … Then the fish, carrots, and onions! Add in the stock, saffron, and other spices … Throw in some cheap dry white wine … Verify that the wine is in fact cheap … Yup, tastes like 99 cents. I think it even whitened my teeth and stripped my stomach linings, but it was all in the name of having wine blogging material !!
Final step, throw in the shellfish, calamari, and shrimp … then wait for it … and VOILA!! Ready to go in my belly! IT WAS Deeeeeelicious! To pair with the Paella, we sipped/gulped down on the next two wines made from the Xarelo-lo grape. You can read a delightful article by Gabriella about these wine on the Catavino wine blog, by clicking here. You can also read our reviews of these wine on the social tasting notes/wine tracking site we use called Adegga by clicking the link underneath each photo.
I encourage you to sign up for Adegga or another social tasting note site that suits you. I had always been old school, soaking labels off my favorite wines and placing them in a wine tasting notebook with my notes, but it was on this trip that I saw Ryan and Gabriella inputting pretty much all the wines they tasted into this site. After browsing around Adegga I realized it would be a neat idea for me to do the same. I could build up my ‘wines tasted’ portfolio, I could link up the wines I show/taste here on my blog to their Adegga tasting note site, it is a great way to remember the wines I have tasted, to see what others think about the wines, meet new people, and they support the AVIN system to identify wines. AVIN is to wine what ISBN is to books. An AVIN looks like this AVIN6452997073019. The AVIN uniquely identifies each wine and eliminates the problem of referring to a wine by several different names. Pretty cool huh?!
So now for the reason you kept reading all the way to the end of this post for … What was my reason for visiting Ryan AND Gabriella OPAZ from CATAVINO ?????
I think I will keep teasing you until the next post … I am not THAT nice ;)
Also this post is already a bit lengthy so its best to split it into two posts =) And its a sneaky way of getting you to come back =) I wouldn’t be a woman if I didn’t at least play a little game of ‘hard to get’ … tee hee!
See ya on the next post!
Vinously Speaking & Vinously Yours, The Ceci Sipper