CHEESE! : Girona, Dalí, and Le Motel Restaurant 

Tuesday   10/4/16:

Today we woke up early in the dusky Barcelona light to grab coffee and pastries before meeting our guide for a tour of Girona (a medieval Spanish town) and the Dalí museum in the town of Figueres. My parents are not into the espresso scene, so we found a Starbucks to get them something that resembles drip coffee with milk. I have always loved cappuccinos, so I am happy just about anywhere in Europe. It just so happens that my best coffee was at a gas station on my first day in Italy. Enough ramble, I better get back to today’s events, not coffee stuffs.

We met Abel in front of our hotel and got in our car for Girona. It was refreshing to be going on a day trip outside of the city with such a knowledgeable Catalonian. While driving, I had a re-crash course of Spanish history that I had forgotten from my walking tour the day before. So now I can say that I’ve actually learned about Barcelona as it fulfills its Spanish and Catalonian identities, which are surprisingly more similar that I had anticipated after my Comp. Gov. lecture yesterday.

The Milby Trio climbed out the van of sorts and followed Abel over a bridge in order to enter town. We bustled through a retirement home’s field trip to get to the base of Girona’s hill. At that spot, which was outside the original fortifications, there is a church and a pole with a lion on it. People have been kissing the butt of the lion so they could one day come back to Girona. I was no exception; I did kiss it’s bum as documented below.

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We then were led through small streets, gardens, and the local cathedral. I was so happy to not have to look at a map, to not to have to gain consensus among many people, to not worry about anything besides what Abel took me and my family to. It was so relaxing to just walk and learn without a crowd. I think this was my favorite part about traveling: knowing that I have nothing else to do besides relaxing, thinking, and wandering.

This favorite part does not allow me to be lazy, though. We all jumped back in the car and made our way to lunch in Figueres before the Dalí portion of the tour. The car pulled up to this kind of dinky building right off the main road and dropped us off for the restaurant. My dad and I looked at each other, clearly very skeptical about our lunch location. However, upon walking through the petite hotel lobby, we reached a terrace that had a classy 50’s vibe. It felt like we should be running into Grace Kelly or some member of The Rat Pack. It was beautiful to say the least.

So we sit down and let the waiter know that my dad is allergic to gluten, per usual. To our surprise, the wait staff comes out with a selection of GF bread and other goodies for my dad to gnash on before the rest of the meal. My mom and I let our jaws drop; we had never seen or tired such a beautiful or tasty selection of goodies sans gluten.

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We then feasted on an apple purée with blueberry compote (or something of that nature). It tasted like buttery goodness and made all of our mouths water for more before our entrées arrived. I thought our beginnings couldn’t be topped, but boy was I wrong. My dad had a steak, so no complaints from him, but my mom and I shared pumpkin soup and a cheese platter. First the soup comes out in all its orange energy. It may have been the best soup I’ve ever had in my entire life. But this doesn’t compare to my mom’s and my joy when we see a cheese cart roll up next to our table. I thought perhaps we would pick a few types to try, but oh no, the waiter begins cutting us little slices from almost all the selections on the board. It was incredible to see the delicacy with which he treated the cheese and the intent he had on how we should eat the cheeses (order and amount). So here are some pictures of that experience.

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This was definitely a meal to remember. It made me think back to other special gatherings with family and the magnificent memories they carry.

The rest of the day seems anticlimactic after “The Lunch.” The Dalí museum was amazing! Abel pointed out things I would never have in a million years been able to see in the artist’s pieces. I felt like I got to know Dalí on a personal level and felt stupid more than once, like when I thought there was a cart featured in a painting and there wasn’t one at all. It was fun to be there, in the same way it is fun to see optical illusions or magic tricks. Leaving the museum was not fun because it meant that our day was coming to an end. I and my mom had missed out on the gift shop, but this was probably for the better.

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We got back to Barcelona in the early evening, well before our “early” dinner reservation of 8:30 PM. It is true that people here eat at 10; it still seems absurd, but the Trio did a good job trying out the typical Spanish life. I don’t think I will want to do it again because you’re never too hungry as you fill your time in between drinking and getting little munchies. But its fun to try, so if you find yourself in Spain…. give it a go!

Nerd, Dad, and I made our way to the restaurant, Solero, slowly but surely. We explored a new neighborhood and visited the cute local shops there. I had a blast window shopping and finding cute cafés I would return to once alone. I was anticipating that the cuisine would be Spanish, but instead it was Asian fusion. Good, but not expected. The deserts at the restaurant, however, were so great. One of the sorbets my mom tried was tea flavored, and let’s just say it was interesting…. definitely memorable. The bonbons were SO good and so was the vanilla ice cream; everyone was happy.

To not let the night end so soon, the Trio sought out a fun bar. Not finding one that was “perfect,” we sat out in a square and enjoyed a nightcap. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.

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As my dad tells the roses, sayonara

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