Barcelona Day Five (Cardona to St. Pau de Mar)

We started the day today in Cardona with the traditional huge Parador breakfast buffet. I also had another long hot bath upon waking up while corwin and Kate were still asleep. Third bath of the trip. My muscles are really sore from all the walking and walking and walking so the hot baths have really helped that. Plus, hey, nothing says “I’m on vacation!” better than spending an hour doing nothing but… nothing.
I thought maybe today would be the first break in our string of perfectly sunny days, because when we woke up it was completely overcast, foggy, and misty. But it being the mountains, as soon as the sun hit its peak around noon the fog burned off and left us with a completely blue sky. It’s been absolutely perfect every day so far.
After breakfast we stowed our luggage at the front desk and went to visit the salt mine in Cardona which can be very easily seen from the castle we were staying in. We had no idea what to expect. As it turned out, it was a really cool underground tour inside the mine. Salt is beautiful. We were not allowed to take photos for a lot of it, but there was one large underground cavern (the “Sistine Chapel” they called it) where we could. (Once I get somewhere that will allow me to connect to my websites again I’ll post some more photos from there…)
tl;dr — the salt mine was way cool and way better than expected.
And then we went back and did the actual walking tour of the castle where we stayed, after which we were hungry, so we had lunch on the terrace by the Torre de la Minyona (Tower of the Maiden). And then we hit the road for the seacoast, which is where we are now.
We are at the Hotel Gran Sol, with a beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea from our room balcony. Kate is sitting on the balcony itself sending some email. I’m writing this blog entry. I can’t actually post it, though, since the hotel’s internet blocks me from my website because it’s GASP! pornography!! Sigh. I put in a request to the service provider to change the designation, and I actually got an email back saying they had reclassified both Daron’s Guitar Chronicles and as “Personal Blog or Website” but it takes an hour to take effect. Sigh. It’s been almost an hour and nothing. I won’t hold my breath.

Six hours later and the supposedly reclassified websites are still coming up “porn.” Sigh. All it really means is that I can’t post the fantastic photos I took of the mind-blowing meal we just had at Carme Ruscalleda’s Restaurant Sant Pau.
The meal goes easily into the top ten best meals I’ve ever eaten, and might crack the top five if I think about it hard. In that top ten list I include my first meal at Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit and last summer’s trip to Moto in Chicago. The wow moments in this meal were no less numerous as they were at Roca Moo a few days ago, but they were sometimes from more subtle elements. It’s rare for me to not be able to identify most of the ingredients in something, but Carme Ruscalleda so perfectly blends and balances things that I not only couldn’t pick out the separate elements in some sauces and dishes, I didn’t want to.
Since we had the wine pairing, I’m way too out of it and sleepy now to write up the meal. It takes a lot of things to another level.
One thing that seems to be on the amenities of fine dining at this level in Spain: purse care. At Roca Moo they brought us special hooks to attach out purses to the table with, and at Ruscalleda, they brought tiny wicket stools for bags to sit on at our feet.
The moon is up, meaning we now have moonlit Meditteranean Sea below our window. I’m going to sleep with the sound of the waves washing on the beach and a very full stomach.
Tomorrow: Giron, where we couldn’t get into Celler Can Roca. We might drive to Figures to see the Dali stuff there before backtracking to Giron. We’ll see.

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