August is the Cruelest Month
I don't know when I got to be so particular about planning vacations. I never even took vacations for a good majority of my life (well duh, I just answered my own question–that's why I'm so obsessive with making the most of my time off). Growing up, we might annually go to Canon Beach for the weekend and rent a cabin from an old couple from church. We went to Disneyland twice and Canada once. That's about it. Oh, in '85 I drove with my dad and sister (my mom stayed home) to northern California to visit some of his relatives that we rarely saw.
Surprisingly, two of these California cousins (who are closer to my mom's age–their kids, my second cousins, are teens and twenties) are coming to my sister's wedding, which is kind of odd, though not in a bad way. Odd, because I've seen these relatives maybe three times in my life that I'm old enough to recall. I did see them once as a grade schooler, once as a young teen, and then again in 2004 when my dad was in intensive care. That's it. They are the few semi-well-adjusted relatives I'm aware of on my dad's side, though I don't know much about the progeny of my father's eight other siblings.
Now that getting out of town is close enough to get excited about–two weeks from today–I'm ironing out details, making restaurant reservations (or rather forcing James to call since he can handle rudimentary Spanish and I'm useless. I'm really convinced that Asia is an easier travel destination than Europe. But then, I just have a weird Asian fetish and am admittedly lukewarm on much of European culture. As far as continents go, I would prefer visiting South America or Australia over Europe.) and getting really disappointed.
It wasn't my idea to go to Barcelona in August, I was just trying to squeeze in a fun side trip from Wales. As it turns out, the entire freaking city is practically closed. Goddamn lazies. I'm trying to cram as much goodness into my lame eight days off work and these people are out of commission for an entire month. Almost every place I want to go to is closed for the month of August. Yeah, I'm being a crybaby, but if I'm going to pay over $900 just to fly to the U.K. and blow good money on blah B&Bs and eat so-so food, I want the rest of my vacation to bend to my will.
I'd wanted to try Cinc Sentits for modern cuisine, Enric Rovira for chocolate, Papabubble for pretty handcrafted candies and Quimet i Quimet for tapas. None of these places will be open. I had to work my way down the list of must-dos. But really, third best will likely wow me since I'm hardly a first hand expert on Spain's nueva cocina.
On the bright side, my first choice restaurant El Celler de Can Roca in Girona (about an hour out of Barcelona) will be open and we got reservations. I've never followed the whole Michelin star thing, but I've definitely never eaten in a two star European establishment (they don't even have twos or threes in Barcelona proper). I would've gone the three star route, but I've heard better things about Can Roca in comparison to nearby restaurants, Sant Pau or Can Fabes, and reservations are kind of out of the question for El Bulli. I think they were always tough to get, but with the recent mainstream attention the establishment has been getting in the U.S. it must be even harder now.
Ok, enough boo-hooing. I have to go watch Henry Thomas in tonight's episode of Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King on TNT. James and I are taking bets on how many minutes he lasts before getting killed off. It's going to be hot.