Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bye Bye Madrid, Hello Barcelona

Today is our day of transition, taking the train from Madrid to Barcelona. This is not one of those ultra fast trains so it is a bit over a four hour ride. We headed out at a reasonable hour and took a cab to the train station. It is quite an impressive train station too with an atrium that wouldn’t look out of place in a botanical garden.



Lots of shops and cafes and it does accommodate the bullet trains that go somewhere, but not, unfortunately, where we are going.

845) La Barrila



After you move your bags through security (yes, they do check your bags at the train stations in Spain) we went into a bit more austere seating area in the departure area. This area also had numerous shops and cafes though. I did find La Barrila though. This is a large bar/coffee shop with a counter that reflects this. The counter has a white marble top and sides of light wood with metal trim on the bottom and a narrow row of blue and white tiles at the top. There is a silver colored foot rest and brown wooden stools.

There was a beer station with four silver spigots at one end of the bar. The bar I got my beer was pulled from a spigot coming out of a gold stein being held by a hand at the end of an arm emerging from a beer barrel.



The lights over the bar had rippled fabric shades and were mounted on those complicated pulley contraptions. These worked though because I played with them a bit and managed to bonk my head as a result.

Up front was a shelf with some beer mugs on display and there were a few wine bottles on shelves. Large round white lights hang form the ceiling over the good sized dining area where you could take your food after buying from the counter. They had little tables and also green booths along the wall.

Despite the elaborate dispenser for the beer it only pumped the generic San Miguel.

846) The Fastnet



My first bar in Barcelona and it was an Irish bar with a decidedly nautical theme to it. This was only appropriate because it is right across the street from a large boat basin. The top of the bar is thick wood that looks like it has been hewed from a large tree. It is well varnished with a pronounced grain and the edges look like it has the original bark. The front is dark brown wood planking and there is a narrow ledge for your feet. The chairs are brown wooden box-like affairs.

There is a nice set of wooden shelves behind the bar that holds the liquor and an espresso machine. The beer station is encased in wood that matches the top of the bar. There are five spigots. There is an old pendulum clock on the wall above the shelves and there were pictures of old sailing vessels, schooners, I believe, on each side. Further to the left of the clock is a display of nautical knots and a picture of the Alfred Daniels, a ship, and a pen sketch of the bar. I hate to mention it but there is also a Billy Bass hanging above the bar. Bar Man has one of these, courtesy of his sister. A narrow shelf above all of this stuff holds small mugs and little figurines. There is a ship’s bell behind the bar that gets rung whenever the bartender gets a tip.

The walls have dark wood paneling going about half way up with a narrow ledge on top of that and trim on the bottom that matches the top of the bar. The rest of the walls is pale orange. There are pictures of the waterfront and an impressive series of pictures of a huge wave lashing o lighthouse. There are a few models of sailing ships, a porthole on the wall, and plenty of beer signs. There little spotlights over the bar but more interesting copper shaded lights hanging from the ceiling elsewhere.

I had a bottle of Estrella Damm, a beer, and then we headed to one of the numerous waterfront restaurants that ringed the boat basin.

Just two for the day bringing my total to 846 for the year and leaving 154 to go. I am looking forward to checking out more of the city tomorrow.

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