Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Not Even Not Traveling 19: Barcelona 2, On Segways, On Food, and On Our Own

Barcelona, 2022

The Segway Tour

The next day, our tour guide was Oscar. Oscar had grown up elsewhere in Spain, lived in America for a few years, and eventually toured Europe and decided Barcelona was the best city for him.

He had excellent Segway skills. We have quite a few photos from our three hour tour. Whenever a picture shows all four of us, Oscar took it, and he usually did it with both hands on the camera, not on his vehicle. He balanced in whatever direction forward or backward he preferred, sometimes at different angles in multiple shots. Really, he was as comfortable on his vehicle as an expert can be. 

Oscar navigated the traffic of Barcelona with a strong sense of timing. On a few occasions, he negotiated spots in the traffic for our group by talking with the drivers or pedestrians around us. He took our previous bicycle trip into account as well. When he heard that we had toured an area he had intended to visit, he took us somewhere else instead. Under Oscar's guidance, we ranged farther than he usually takes tourists. We traveled northwest across most of the city. Of course, we had to drive a long way back but it was worth it.

As it turns out, a city built for bicycles is also built for segways, power scooters, wheelchairs, and more. Our vehicles were in great condition with perfect tires, responsive gyroscopes, gears, storage, and everything else needed. They were an excellent choice for active visitors. Oscar kept the tour moving. He was personally informative and sometimes funny. 

I recommend the experience. It's fun simply to ride the segways. Our guide made the day better by keeping our group together and circling back for anyone who found a slope or intersection difficult. Oscar adjusted our sightseeing on the fly. Three hours is a lot of riding. We saw a lot. And it was all good. 

Dinner at Disfrutar

I'm going to leave most of our food experience for Norm to describe. He was our leader in those events. He's the one who orders the best wine, understands the rating systems for restaurants and, for everyone's reading purposes, also writes about it all.

For my part, it's enough to say we spent five hours eating dinner. It was a culinary adventure. There were twenty-eight courses, all of them small. They arrived with an attention to detail that requires dining patrons to remain on sensory alert. 

This was probably the best dining experience I've had. And I've had a few.

Strolling through Oldtown Barcelona

The next day, Diane and I wandered through the streets. 

We started out as a group of four. As two couples, though, we had troubles getting in synch. We found ourselves interested in different aspects of our surroundings. In addition, I can be a slow strider nowadays. Although everyone was patient with me, after a while we split into couples and arranged to meet up again later. 

Diane took me to a bookstore she'd noticed. We browsed through it, found and explored a similar shop with magazines, and ventured into more retail vendors in the area. We had a good time being window-shoppers in a leisurely way.  

When we met again as a full group, it was to take a taxi to another dining experience, this time at a place called Enigma. The restaurant wasn't even close (in my limited view) to Disfrutar as far as the food quality. The general experience, though, was good. We spent about three and a half hours on the food and drink courses. In our conversation, we reflected on our views of Barcelona so far, the health of the people, the energy, the clean parks and sidewalks, the high quality roads, and the modern technical infrastructure. The place looked well run.

Diane had noticed a number beautiful buildings with somewhat ugly electrical cable nests on the outside. We had to guess that's what happens when the structures are hundreds of years old and workers can't rip them apart to install power cables.

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