Thursday, January 17, 2013

A visit to Vic

It was someone's birthday yesterday and we decided to celebrate and escape the painting going on in the house by taking a road trip. Our destination was Vic, a charming city in Catalunya situated between Girona and Barcelona. The trip across country was very pleasant traveling through green fields with either winter vegetables or grass growing. Early cherry trees were just starting to bloom and the Pyrenees in the distance had a light dusting of new snow.

We arrived in the town of Vic about one o'clock. Most of the shops were closed and there were very few people about. Obviously, the people of Vic are enthusiastic followers of lunch and siesta until four. Very quickly we discovered the town square with its beautiful arcades. The vast square is packed-down sand, and from pictures we saw in a coffee shop many events are held there including markets, performances, fiestas with giant people and even those acrobatic competitions, where people climb on each others backs to form a pyramid. We located the cathedral, which was closed until four and the Roman cathedral and Episcopalian museum both closed until Tuesday. Not to worry, it was time for lunch. For ten euros we had wine, water, a salad with smoked salmon, escalope of veal and a lovely very moist cake with what tasted like butterscotch dripping over the top. All this was finished off with an espresso.

Our hotel was in an old renovated stone farmhouse with stone walls in the room and lovely, crooked, woodworm beams gracing the ceiling. We returned to Vic to visit the Cathedral first built in the Romanesque style in the fourteenth century. It was quite different from other churches we have visited as the overwhelming theme was black and gold. The black pillars looked like they had gold leaf or at least gold paint on them. All the pictures were very dark but decorated with quite a bit of gold.

By now the town had come alive. Shutters had been raised on all the stores and people were everywhere. What a vibrant spot. We wandered around the Ramblas  and the narrower pedestrian lanes passing the beautifully lit Roman temple before deciding that it was time to return to the hotel.

Nine o'clock. Time for dinner. And what a dinner it was. It started with a tray of local cured meats, which the area is famous for with toasted bread and tomatoes. You cut the tomatoes and rub it on the bread and then eat the delicious pan tomat. This was followed by small balls of cod deep fried in batter. Next came two fried eggs with the most amazing deep yellow golden yolks. Main course was grilled sea bass. Since it was Seamus' birthday the server brought, unasked, his dessert complete with numbered candles showing his age. All this was accompanied by a hearty rendition of Happy Birthday. Now this is service since I hadn't asked for anything. They knew it was his birthday from his passport at check in. Another coffee with petit fours. What a lovely meal but much too much eating.

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