Monday, April 21, 2014

A Wonderful Lunch And An Afternoon In Barcelona

I love Barcelona it is a charming coastal city with history and ruins back to the Romans. It's not hard to imagine some of the mid evil walls and buildings looked very much the same when Christopher Columbus walked these same streets.

I have a new favorite travel app. Trip Advisor City Guides. In the process of checking it out I found a little cafe which looked interesting. I had filtered the thousands of restaurants down to the cheap ones. I may indeed be one of my favorite dates but it doesn't mean I'm going to break the bank on myself either.

My destination was El Casal and without the aid of Trip Advisor City Guides and the map function I would have been very hard pressed to locate this little gem. In making a comment on apps I will point out a weakness of the app. It's map representation  lacks a directional arrow. City Maps to go is another great app and it has the arrow but lacks the depth of ratings and recommendations which City Guides has. Use them both! They are both free.

They have a standard pre fix 10€ lunch. Which gives some limited choices but great pricing. I had a bowl of soup, a beef stew on noodles, a beer, and coffee or desert.  I chose espresso.

The soup was a chorizo lintels and cabbage creation which was excellent. The stew was really more like roast beef and carrots. Really hardy food. The espresso was a fine ending on a great lunch.

My afternoon continued with my next quest. To find the old mid evil synagogue. This was truly an adventure in GPS maps. I knew I had to be right on top of it but couldn't see it and then I saw it.

I was looking for a more impressive entrance for sure. Of course the streets are now 6 or 7 feet higher up. So a little humbled  stoop door to now the entrance to a basement which was once the main Synagogue.  A tour guide gave me and a couple of American college girls a nice presentation. The Christians blamed the Jews for the Black Plague. It seemed the hygienic rituals of washing kept the Jewish community safe from the Plague but not the Christians who were persecuting them. Many were killed during the period. Then along came a more tolerant King and ended the blood shed.

My day continued by winding my way through the tiny streets.

I found this shot interesting showing three distinct periods in the arched windows.

Made my way to the basilica where I prayed for my readers around the world. My day was winding down so I headed to the more tourist laden Las Rambalas for people watching while waiting on my crew for dinner.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Amsterdam's Cafe Piazza

There is a wonderful little quiet Italian restaurant at the end of the canal at Nieuwmarket square in old Amsterdam. The owner is a delight. She is a vivacious young lady from Poland who makes you feel comfortable in her place. Agata will answer your questions and help you pick the correct meal for your tastes.

The laid back quaint nature of the establishment will be a true vacation from the noise and mayhem that can consume the inner city.

Don't forget she has some great local beers on tap to accompany your meal. You won't be disappointed on your experience here. Oh and by the way she also has Polish perogis which may or may not be on the menu so be sure to ask.