At the Hotel Ferrero we had a choice of taking our breakfast in a few different locations. We opted to take breakfast in our room, which given the beautiful sunny morning and the lovely patio outside our room, proved to be a great choice. With excellent croissants, a cracker with freshly hand-sliced Iberico and caviar, toast with fresh, local butter, quince paste, orange juice, steamy coffee and yogurt with fruit, we were quite satisfied.
Paco Morales had offered to show us around the property before we left and we took him up on it after breakfast. We saw the impressive kitchen as well as the equally impressive vegetable gardens and orchards. Morales has big plans for the restaurant and the produce here. At one point he stopped by some almond trees and we sampled the fragrance and the bitter flavor of the green almonds from the tree. As wonderful as the restaurant is now, the given the horticultural potential here, the future holds even greater promise as this can rival the greatest restaurant gardens in the world.
We did stop again at the Autogrill for more paella on our return. Though not quite as fresh and therefore not quite as delicious as on the prior day, the paella was still quite good, especially considering its roadside source. If only the US had roadside rest stop restaurants with this kind of food quality!
Kitty and I returned to find a Barcelona packed with strolling revelers celebrating the holiday of the city’s patron saint, Sant Jordi (Saint George). As part of a long tradition, it is customary for a man to give a rose to his love and for her to give him a book. Nowadays, those gifts remain customary, but who gives what to whom is no longer so clearly written in stone. As such The Passeig de Gracia in front of our building and as well as all the rest of the main streets were jammed with people selling roses for charities and also with booksellers with tables piled with books.
We enjoyed passing through the throngs as we made our way to visit Cacao Sampaka so we could buy Easter chocolates for the boys as well as chocolate to bring home to replace our now eaten stash of Bernachon.
While my main objective for any trip to Spain is to enjoy the food, Michael’s main wish was to see FC Barcelona play soccer. I had been looking for tickets online throughout the week, but had been unable to find reasonably priced tickets located together. Due to a serious threat of heavy rain that had been forecast for the evening, I had been unwilling to pay for the best seats , but by late Saturday afternoon, it was clear that the rain was not likely to materialize. I bit the bullet and managed to the nearly impossible task of finding four seats together and purchased them. Five or more together was impossible. Lucas declined an invitation to go with his cousins, so I would go with them.
With the sudden change of plans for the game, our dining plans needed to be expedited. We had planned to have our Easter dinner on Saturday since LJ would be leaving for home early Sunday morning and Lucas would be returning to Germany early in the afternoon. So instead of a nice measured meal, I hastily cooked the lamb cutlets, searing them in olive oil. I also fried some potatoes and made a simple salad. It was all quite tasty, especially the lamb, though it would have been nice to have had a bit more time to enjoy it properly (and take some photos of the finished product).
As it was, by the time we arrived at Camp Nou it was already 30 minutes into the game with Barca leading Osasuna 1-0. Our seats were at field level right at the goal line. They were actually pretty incredible seats. Barcelona had so far only played a few of their stars and Messi was not in the game. Andres Iniesta came into play, however, shortly after our arrival. The half finished at 1-0, but the crowd grew excited after half-time when Messi and Xavi started warming up right in front of us. Messi entered the game first, replacing another star, David Villa, who had scored Barca’s lone goal to that point. The play of Barcelona seemed to step up a couple of notches once Messi came in and indeed he scored directly in front of us to make the score 2-0. It proved to be a milestone goal for Messi, soccer’s reigning top player. It was his 50th of the season. The game finished at 2-0 and we happily made our way back to the apartment. Once again, for some of us, it was time to get some sleep.