Tom & Roberta take on Spain and Portugal 2015 travel blog

Tonight is the night we are finally going to have drinks and tapas at Hotel 1898. After two misses we are adhering to the notion that the third time is a charm, and indeed it was. As we entered the Hotel the guard in the lobby asked us if we had a reservation. (The first time we attempted to come here we were asked the same thing and I had looked around at all the empty tables, because it was cold and windy that night and thought "really?" a reservation?). Only tonight it was warm, we told the guard no and he said well you could try. Up the elevator we went and at the top we saw they were moderately busy there were certainly plenty of places to be seated.

It's difficult to describe the set up here, there were many different types of seating available. They had high top tables, along one edge of the roof ran a long narrow counter top with maybe 15-20 chairs all facing out towards La Ramble. Then there were small lounges areas surrounding the roof for bigger parties with low comfy couches arranged in a square with a table in the middle. If you were seated here you really didn't have a view of anything but the sky but could enjoy a private party like setting all the same. There also were regular tables for 4 all around and lastly a "cabaña" sort of setting for couples, much like you would get at the beach at a resort, sort of a bed/lounge.

At the top we were asked if we had a reservation, we said no and then he seated us at a high top table facing La Ramble below (you could not really see it) but also the old town La Gotica and we could see the church spires. Our waiter came up and I ordered in Spanish "Buenos Noches Senior por favor una cerverza e una basso de vino tiento.". "Oh you're from California" says Claudio. (The "You're from California" has now come up several times and I'm beginning to think that either the Catalan's are clairvoyant or I must have a Golden Bear tattooed on my forehead). I asked him "How is it you can tell we're from California?? Is it my incredibly bad Spanish accent? "No" he said, Californian's are the only ones that attempt to speak in Spanish. No other American's do that. (Here in Barcelona the locals think every one in California is fluent in Spanish and English.

So Tom and I spent to evening in casual conversation with Claudio. Every time he came up to our table the conversations became longer and longer. We spoke of sports, Barcelona, and finally got around to Claudio and his background. He speaks many languages and I asked him what his first language was. He said Portuguese. We told him we would be there on this trip and then Claudio took out pen and paper and gave us a list of "must do item" while in Lisbon. Claudio told us to pronounce it "Lishboa"

Then he said pointing to the cabaña lounge area, "why don't you two come sit over here on these lounges, they are so much more comfortable?". With that I felt we had done our job to ingratiate ourselves to him. BUT we said it was time to go and discover other tapas taverns and bars. Claudio said "Okay but you must come back tomorrow, I'll be here and will see you then, tomorrow." With that he walked us to the elevator and as the door closed Claudio said "okay see you tomorrow!"

We headed towards the Gotica area just kind of meandering back towards our Hotel. We really hadn't eaten any substantial dinner so we decided to go into the Hard Rock café for dinner. I decided American fare was in order and had chicken tenders with BBQ sauce. Completely hit the spot. Music and entertainment abounded ad they were playing music videos from the 1980's. A Queen song can on showing a guy dressed kind of like a 60's house wife with a mustache and singing while vacuuming. I'd never heard of this song but all of a sudden the seating host dressed similarly jumped up on the bar and sang his heart out with the wand of a vacuum in his hand. He got a bit sloppy and a few glasses on the bar fly off and shattered on the ground around the people taking IPhone videos. No harm done; all in all a very satisfying evening.....

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