Monday, February 4, 2013

A little bit of Cairo, Figueres, Bracelona, and Cava country.

It was time for Ana to discover Barcelona over Christmas break. So we headed out of Alex with Kortlucke-Ortegas in tow to the land of jamon y vino. Over the 10 days we ventured on a train north to Figueres for some Dali, south to Sitges for fun in the sun, and the hills for lessons in cava.

The only bad part of the trip was losing my camera, laptop, Ipod, etc.Thankfully Ana had a camera so we could at least document part of the experience.

Before Barcelona there was our classy Cairo hotel.
Toilet flushing device of our hotel room.
A little bit of Zamalek art.
Record shopping in Barca
 Seeing The Meat Puppets was a nice early gift from Santa.
Sin gluten pero una wudy con queso!
A 5 hour plane ride sure builds up an appetite. Our first meal on land and it was a monster one....this was only for starters.
El has the best life mostly consists of playgrounds.
I would love to walk through Egyptian customs with hoof poking out of my backpack.
Hello Dali!

A bowl of good olives, life doesn't get much better.
After Dali was the toy museum in Figueres
Faster dude!
Man on stilts for sure!
Mom, I want the Catholic school play set for Christmas.
Toys our parents never bought us.
It was Ana's turn to see the Sagrada Familia.
If we could make a salad like this in Egypt, we would be staying.
The way Gaudi left his desk when he bought the farm.
We took a train up to Vilafranca del Penedès for a cava tour at Pinord. To make sure the bubbles didn't go straight to our head, we had lunch. For 8 euros you get this delicious plate, a salad, dessert, and a bottle of house vino (skip it, pay a couple of extra euros for the upgrade). Set menus and chowing with the locals is the way to go.
Xavier at Pinord was very kind to give us a 2 plus hour personal tour of the facilities. It was quite an education learning about the cava making process.
The story was that the original owner would ride his bike to work.  We sampled a type drink that was invented by Pinord called vino de aguja.
Sampling vino from the barrel.
The 5 Euro bottle we sampled was tasty but the 11 euro bottle we bought was fantastic!

More products.
Door ideas for the home.
It is always an adventure when you step off a train in a new town, it's nice to have corks to point you in the right direction. Sant Sadurní d'Anoia is the center of cava production. One should note that when visiting cava country be aware of holidays and many wineries are closed for lunch (1-3 pm) and not the normal siesta times of 2-5 pm.
Conde de Valicourt was our best find in Sant Sadurní d'Anoia. The small winery is run by a husband and wife team. The wife, Alicia, opened up the shop and a bottle for us with a plate of crackers! Yes, expect to get plate of crackers or potato chips at tastings, strange but true. Pas de Sucre Brut Nature Gran Reserva is a 4 year old cava and one of the best we tried. It is 100% sugar free after the cutting of the neck. The husband bottles each bottle of their very limited production. They only sell in small shops and at the winery. Our kind of place. 

After sipping cava at Conde de Valicourt it was lunch time. Alicia sent us to a place down the road. We walked in one door and the server asked if we wanted cloth or paper napkins. I asked "what's the difference?" He replied "one Euro for cloth." I told him paper was fine. He told us to walk next door. We did and when we opened the door we were greeted by the same server. I chuckled and his eyes shot daggers at me. The wire art on the wall of the paper side was lovely. We had the place to ourselves while the cloth side was lively.
Then there is the cava giant, Codorníu. We took the guided tour and learned that if they put all their bottles side by side it would be 35 km long. The grounds were amazing and if you need a lovely place for a future wedding, its yours for the renting. 
Endless cava caves.
Museum of the former cava bottling equipment.
Ana's new lamp. The relief in the background has a couple of bullet holes from the Spanish Civil War.

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