After a quick trip to the market in Plaza Larga to buy cherries and strawberries, I took the minibus downtown. The city was really busy, particularly the churches near the Rio Darro where family and friends were gathering. Young children in long white dresses and smart suits were carrying flowers and heading out for lunch with their families after their first communion. Other groups were gathering for weddings. The women were remarkably well dressed in satin dresses and tiny, frothy hats constructed from a little netting and some feathers.
The downtown core was also busy with families out shopping. There is a whole network of tiny, interconnected alleys full of shops - lots and lots of women's fashions and shoe stores and children's clothing and shoes.
My first impression is that the Spanish are more fashionable than Canadians, but perhaps the real difference is that they are more visible as they are out on the street and even taking the bus to a restaurant rather than locked up in metal boxes. I realize that the Canadian climate doesn't lend itself to a pedestrian lifestyle, but I cannot imagine a party of 15 Canadians in suits and fancy dresses climbing on a bus to continue the first communion celebrations at a restaurant. The minibus was certainly crowded, but it was a happy group singing songs and thanking the bus driver effusively.
I wanted to have at least one traditional Spanish breakfast so I settled myself at an outdoor terrace on the Plaza Bib Ramblas for hot chocolate and churros. Hot chocolate is basically hot chocolate pudding and churros are fried tubes of batter (imagine long sticks of doughnuts). So you are given a plateful of churros and you proceed to dunk them in your hot chocolate. Very tasty, but very greasy!
I came back to my apartment for lunch and the siesta. A cold beer and a fresh salad were the perfect lunch. Although I should also confess that I visited a pasteleria on Gran Via and bought some fancy pastries. They carefully wrap them up with paper in a fancy little parcel. A fresh breeze is coming in my window and a musician is playing flamenco on his guitar at the restaurant around the corner.
Later, when it's cooler as the temperature has started to climb again, I'll go and watch the people passing by over a cold drink at a restaurant.