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Day 8 – Booze, Cruise, Mountain House and Diesel Tries to Put Women’s Clothes on (But Is Stopped!)

After spending the night in peaceful and mysterious Montserrat, we got the car and started driving towards the Penedes region, which is dotted with dozens of cava makers.  Cava is sparking wine, basically Spanish champaigne, but don’t tell the French that.

We stopped at a small cava maker that had very cheap cava (about 10 euros) and even cheaper wine (5 euros).  The hosts were super friendly and told us about the vines and the wine.  But the best thing about that place (besides the reasonable prices) were the snacks, man!  No delicate crackers.  Instead, I gorged on the crackers, potato chips and fuet (cured meat, it looks like a small salami).  Diesel got quite embarrassed that I indiscriminately took the fuet out of another group’s plate, but I figured since we didn’t get any of our own, it was ok to share.  Apparently, Diesel didn’t agree, and he made his opinion known–as always…very opinionated indeed.

Our second stop was Jean Leon, a winery that we had visited four years ago and enjoyed.  The main office is located in a very modern and cool building, where we had our wine tasting.  Marc, our host, rushed through the tasting because, as he told us, he had some very important guests arriving soon:  the CEO of a N. American company and his wife.  He escorted us back to the lobby, where a lady wearing an oversize sweatshirt that proudly announced her hometown of WINNIPEG across it and matching sweatpants, was waiting.  She should have accessorized with a leather fanny pack, but I guess wives of important CEOs just don’t carry their fortunes that way.  Too showy, probably.

After being rushed out of the place, it was time for a late lunch.  Diesel and I figured we would find something on the way to Vilafranca, where we were supposed to meet up with Anna and her friends.  Sure enough, we spotted several cars parked outside a local restaurant and decided that was the place.  We had a fabulous meal (aioli bacalla with potatoes for me and steak with mushroom sauce for Dies) and lingered for a while.

A bit before 4:30, we arrived at Vilafranca’s train station, where we were supposed to meet Anna and her friends, who were leaving Barcelona that afternoon.  I called her to see how close she was, and in true Spanish fashion, she informed me that they still 30 min away, as they had just left the city.  About 30 min later, she arrived with friends Monica (who we had met a couple of times in Barcelona), Monica’s bf, and Gemma.

The plan was to brave the winding roads leading up to Anna’s parents’ mountain house together.  And so we did.  Another half hour later, there we were, at Anna’s family’s 200+ year-old house.  I had been there 4 years ago, and it was even lovelier than I remembered, with grape vines adorning the outside of the house (and the last grapes still on the vines!), the old wood fire stove in the kitchen, the makeshift cellar where Anna’s dad keeps the wood fire and the wine, and the rooms upstairs with high ceilings with its beautiful old beams.

I just really knew that Diesel would love it, and he said he did.


We settled in, started the fire in the kitchen and proceeded to cook dinner together. Dies watched Gemma make tortilla a la espanola (a Spanish stable; sort of a fritata with fried potatoes), which we ate with salad, dense bread and cheese.  All of that was washed down with cava and wine that we had purchased earlier that day.

After dinner, we sat around the fire and Anna decides we should play telephone:  somebody says something in somebody’s ear, and the 2nd person whispers it in the 3rd person’s ear and so forth, until the last person, who has to say what he heard.  The original word/phrase often gets distorted–which is the fun part of the game–but in our case, the distortions reached new heights, as phrases were passed on in Spanish, Catalan, English, German, Basque and even Chinese (YES, I know *a little*).  With the exception of English, SOMEHOW the words/phrases always seemed to change completely when they got to Diesel, whose difficulty with the foreign languages was exarcebated by his inability to roll his “r’s.”  Once Anna asked me why he has a JAPANESE accent, and by that, she politely meant, why the heck does he turns his “‘r’s” into “l’s” as in pronouncing  “choLizo” instead “choRizo.” I seriously did not know what to say, except that sometimes I think Diesel is a bit Asian on the inside.  I get glimpses of his Asian-ness when he slurps his cup-of-noodles like a Chinaman or decides he needs to buy a How-To-Speak-Chinese book.

Anyhow, after our unanimous and quiet acknowledgment that with Diesel in the game no word would be transmitted correctly, we decided to call it quits and just chat.  We had a great time.
Somewhere during this conversation, I decided to take a shower.  Anna had been playing with the buttons on their water heater, so I was unsure if I would be showering in hot water.   And lo and behold, 1 min after I get in, I realize there is no hot water coming out whatsoever, so in all my desperate nakedness, I start shouting from the bathroom that I’m in need of hot water.  Fortunately, Anna found the right button and I enjoyed my hot shower.

The night wears on and as people start yawning, we decide it’s time to go to bed.  Diesel and I got to sleep in Anna’s parents bedroom.  At this point I realize that the magical charm of an old home is inversely related to how cold it is, i.e. when I realized how cold it was going to be at night, sleeping in the 200-year-old house didn’t seem so awesome anymore.  But it was worse for my poor husband, who had left all his pants outside in the car.   He resigns himself to the fact that he was going to freeze at night, until, all of a sudden, he jumps in excitement:  “HERE! I’m gonna wear THIS!”  And as I turn around I realize in horror that he is taking Anna’s MOTHER’S PJ BOTTOMS and getting ready to put them on!  “What do you think you’re doing?  Do you think her mom would appreciate you hairy man wearing her clothes? ” I find myself screaming.  And PJs, nonetheless, which I consider intimate apparel.  Lucky for me, he grabs the pillow case instead, which is resting on top of the actual PJ set, but I never told him that. Better let the husband freeze than 1)  embarrass himself by putting on women’s clothes 2)  contaminate Anna’s mother’s clothes (and she is a very clean lady, so I KNOW she would mind).

In the end, it wasn’t that bad, since we slept with sweaters on and found extra blankets in the closet.

The next morning we woke up at 5am to drive back to Barcelona and drop off our car at the airport.  Sweet Anna made us breakfast and we said our good-bye’s.  Love ya Anna and miss you and your beautiful city already…

Dinner with Anna, Sikna (sp?), Monica and Gemma

Diesel gets some grapes for dessert

Diesel fetches some wood fire in the makeshift cellar

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