Day 34: An Old Fashioned Tapas Hunt

by Eli Hodapp

I woke up with one thing on my mind today: Just how good tapas sounds right now. As I get closer and closer to the end of my time here in Barcelona, it’s starting to hit me how much it’s going to suck to live somewhere that doesn’t have a corner store literally 10 feet from my door, and enough fantastic tapas places right around our plaza that you could eat at a different one every day of the week and never go to the same place twice.

The problem with this whole plan today is that most traditional Spanish restaurants seem to be closed on Monday. I walked past every great tapas place I had been to, thinking that surely one of them had to be open. But, no, no such luck. I eventually figured I’d slum it and hit up one of the horrible tourist restuarants near the ocean. Where I ended up going was entirely unremarkable (doubly unremarkable was paying €4,00 for a bottle of Estrella) except for one thing: A gang of traveling Spanish minstrels.

On Passeig de Joan de Borbó, there’s two sides of the street. The one directly frames the waterfront of Port Vell, and the other is packed with all of these nearly identical seafood places. Each have huge outdoor areas, penned in by these half glass walls that look a little like the barriers that you’d see on an ice hockey rink. These restaurants go all the way up and down the street, and as far as I know, they could even all be owned by the same restaurant mega-group. That’s how we’d do it in the USA, anyway.

Anyway, I’m sitting there waiting for my food to arrive and I hear this in the distance. About two minutes later, I hear this, a little louder this time. Then, another two minutes later, once again, I hear this, only just a little louder.

This pair of two incredibly dirty Spanish guys, with two guitars that maybe had five strings combined between both were wandering down the street stopping in each restaurant, playing the exact same song. I mean exact same. With the same inflection and everything. I can’t even imagine how many times they must have played it over the years. Each time they finished, they wandered around with their hats out trying to get change from anyone that’d give it to them.

It’s sort of crazy to me that everyone that runs these restaurants are totally fine with vagrants just wandering in and pestering their customers. Don’t get me wrong, the novelty factor is sky high for me, but I really can’t see someone like the rose guy getting anything but the bum’s rush if they tried to pull that in the USA.

Today was irritatingly slow with work. Presidents Day and all. I expected as much, but if I would have know nothing was going to happen I would have gone out wandering around in the evening instead of refreshing RSS feeds looking for anything noteworthy to throw up on the site.

Oh well!