Barcelona has always a port and they added a beach to make it even more attractive to the flocks of tourists who come to enjoy the temperate weather and escape the cold (like I did). Port Vell is home to many pleasure boats, a mall, an aquarium, the tram to Montjuic, restaurants, a marina with sports venues, and commercial interests.

The walkway from the end of Las Ramblas is a beautiful way to reach the MareMagnum shopping Center

and this floating sculpture reminds you to relax as you enjoy the port and marina.

After all my sightseeing and walking, my legs and feet could not take the long road to the other end of Port Vell along the street Passeig de Colom

or by the beachside path behind the neighborhood of Balconeta,

so John Paul used HIS legs and feet to pedal the path for only 15 Euros or about $17 USD per person, it was well worth the cost (thank-you for the treat David).

Arriving at the beach without pain was priceless, as was the view.

The other end of the Port is also home to the museum of Catalan, and these yachts

all empty, sitting as if they are waiting for Summer.

This sculpture is called “The Faces of Barcelona” and sits at the Balconeta/Gòtic end of Port Vell because there are many facets to life here and every neighborhood is different.

John Paul (he says his father was a Beatles fan) suggested Salamanca Silvestre for paella and the display in front was so tempting, I decided to try it.

They have a patio overlooking the beach, but since I came at night, I went into the dining room which was quite formal. Many different patrons were dining in the restaurant, including a family with two small children who were casually dressed, and two very demanding Asian tourists who seemed to have mistaken Barcelona for Paris or Rome because they wanted French wine and Italian pasta in a Spanish restaurant. There was also a Spanish “Godfather” who ate in the corner table by himself, catered to by everyone of the staff members. He was served without a menu (no, he wasn’t the owner) and he never looked up from his mobile phone aside from acknowledging the staff (yes, I was afraid to take a picture of him)!

They served me sliced sausage as an appetizer gratis, and delivered tomato bread to the table. Even though I didn’t really want it, I tasted it and I regretted that decision for two reasons, 1) it was nothing special, and 2) once I ate a slice, it was an additional Euro on my bill. They also tried to sell me a half bottle of wine instead of a glass, but relented when I said I could not drink that much, and they added a charge for bottled water which I never ordered. Even though I spoke some Spanish, they knew I was a tourist, so be aware of how they might pad the bill.

I ordered a salad before my paella and was shocked at how copious it was when it arrived! It could easily have been shared by four people and the waiter graciously said in Spanish, “Just eat what you can.” I could have easily made a meal of this, with tuna, green and white asparagus, olives, corn, tomatoes, and romaine lettuce. I would recommend this for your meal if you want a light repast under 10 Euros ($12 USD).

John Paul said that Silvestre, the owner, was also known as a philanthropist giving away food to the poor and homeless who came to his restaurants. I ordered the mixed seafood for 18 Euros or about $21 USD. The calamari, clams, mussels and rice were addictive, but I found the langoustine and shrimp over cooked. I might order a mixed meat version next time so that the chances of overcooked shrimp would be eliminated. Nevertheless it was a good paella, not the best I’ve ever eaten, but certainly not the worst.

A wonderful finishing touch were the complimentary limoncello and cake they served me before my bill, to sweeten the memory of my meal 🙂

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