After listening to the two camera-touting Texan tourists discussing what they were going to eat, I saw the waitress approach and could not help but look up.
Tourists: “we wanna a ham and cheese sandwich” - said loudly and slowly so that the fluent English-speaking Spanish waitress could understand.
Waitress: “Would you like Spanish ham?”
Tourists: “no, we want REAL ham”.
I am always surprised at the number of tourists that travel to countries with amazing cuisine, yet insist on eating exactly the same way they would at home without trying any of the local specialties.
Spain has more delicious, addictive, fresh and cured ham varieties than most people will try in a lifetime. There are entire shops dedicated just to ham and if you ever get bored with eating the fantastic ice-cream and gelatos, you can buy a “ham cone”. Yes really.
Week two in Barcelona has involved a lot of looking up. Much of the city’s incredible architecture is found up high and many of Gaudi’s well-known buildings need to be appreciated with an angled neck. But it’s not just the famous sights - I have enjoyed looking up to see the wide blue skies and trees in the parks as well as the tiny balconies with intricate metal railings, the patriotic flying of the Spanish and Catalan flags, the hanging washing, the flower pots and the colourful shutters. The myriad of narrow alleyways in my neighbourhood and the old part of town are becoming familiar and I no longer need to look up at the street signs to navigate my way back home.
Last night I was lucky enough to spend an evening looking up at an amazing six foot tall Cuban amazon woman, belting out incredible tunes with her 12-piece Spanish/Cuban jazz band. The music on offer in this city continues to blow me away.
Even when things start to look the same, sometimes it’s good to change the angle and see the world from a different perspective.