Monday, December 29, 2014

Ikea again, but with Barcelona thrown in too.

As you might have read, last week we had to drive down to Barcelona and visit Ikea for our new couch, bed, mattress and miscellaneous stuff.  Well, we were putting our new bed together and realized that we needed 6 feet instead of the 4 that we bought.  Argh!  Why couldn't they tell us that? What that meant was, we needed to drive down to Barcelona again to visit Ikea to buy 2 more legs for the bed.  We decided that we'd make an adventure out of it.  We'd go to a different Ikea, closer to Barcelona.  Then we'd park the car near the metro and take it into the city for dinner.  The last time we were in Barcelona was 15 years ago.  Bruce's first trip to Europe.  It was our 1 month trip to Spain.  4 days in Barcelona and then 3.5 weeks on the island of Mallorca for climbing.

Bruce at IKEA

15 years ago we ate at an amazing restaurant called Les Quinze Nits, we decided it would be fun to go back.  Sounds like a good plan, yes?  Well, actually it wasn't.  Once we left Ikea we couldn't find public parking and we couldn't find the metro that we were told was across from Ikea.  So we drove around and around, not really knowing where we were or where we were going.  I had a tiny metro map and finally we saw a metro station, yay!  So now we needed to find parking. Parking that didn't close at 10 pm, as it was now 7 pm.  We found a great place to park, underground, that was open 24 hours.  It was a bit pricey, but we decided to go for it.

We easily found the metro station from the underground parking and off we went to the restaurant. We got off a bit early and wandered down Las Ramblas.  15 years ago it was very different.  There were no Starbucks, Urban Outfitters or other chain stores, I was a bit disappointed with all the changes, it didn't look at all like the Las Ramblas I was on 15 years ago.  But, things change, get over it.

Crazy Las Ramblas

We found the restaurant and easily got a table for 2.  And then we sat there, and sat there, and sat there.  Nobody came over, nothing.  It's not like we were hidden in a corner either.  15 minutes go by, nothing.  I said to Bruce "5 more minutes and that's it, I'm out of here".  5 minutes go by and still nothing.  We didn't have water, wine, menus, nothing.  So, we left.

Me outside of Les quintze nitz 

We walked around a bit and finally found a great restaurant where we settled in, had great service, and a great meal.  It wasn't the "same" place from 15 years back, but we had a great time.  Then we jumped on the metro again and headed back to the car.  1 hour later, we were home.  It was 12:30 am....way too late for me.

Toasting our new life

What did we learn?  Many things.  First, don't visit Las Ramblas - it's just tourists and pricey stores.    Second, we need to do some research and find the best neighborhoods in Barcelona, get off the tourist route.  Third, research the restaurant you're planning on going to, before you go to it....we found out that Les Quinze Nits was sold a while back, to a Chinese company that also has 10 other restaurants and many office buildings in Barcelona.  It's not the original owners and they don't care about customer service, just feeding the masses.

We need to visit Barcelona a few more times to get our bearings and to figure out the best areas to visit and some of the best (local) restaurants.  It's a beautiful city and I'm looking forward to getting to know her a bit better.


Betty Carlson said...

I don't know Barcelona that well as I have only been there for overnight stays, but the El Born neighborhood is fascinating -- not far from Las Ramblas. I always stay away from Las Ramblas myself. You'll get to know the place.

Annie said...

We went to Barcelona last april. Here the restaurant we loved best :

Very good, efficient service, affordable, nice people.

Annie said...