Sunday, October 4, 2015

Day 4: Gau&Cafe

We hopped on the motorbike and sped off to Lavapies, a neighbourhood I hadn´t spent much time in. After twisting and turning down narrow, meandering streets, we parked outside an industrial looking building.

"We´re.... here?" said Tall Guy, clearly as convinced as I felt.

No signs, but we pushed open a door anyway and walked into a student common area, bulletin boards covered in curling papers, an idle photocopier, some vinyl couches, empty pop cans on the window ledge.

We stopped and looked at each other. Then we spied some people coming from the back corner of the room. Aha! An elevator.

Up, up, up we went.

"NOW we´re here," he said, and this time I agreed.

At the top there is a small bar and indoor seating area, and a glass door leading onto a softly lit terrace, every table filled despite the chilly night.

The building is actually more interesting than first meets the eye. The more modern structure is built around the original Escuelas Pías de San Fernando, and dates back to 1729. Apart from the cafe, the complex houses a university library.

a view of the ruins from
Okay, okay, the views aren´t stunning, certainly not as spectacular as I expect they would be from the top of Edificio España, but there is something magical about the terrace at gau&cafe. Maybe it´s the semi-secret location, or the intellectual ambiance, but I felt I had been transported and was dining at some in-between place, neither here nor there, nor now nor then. A sort of Spanish Mary Poppins kind of thing, up there with the chimney tops. María Poppins? And the food was good. We had a tower of crispy eggplant and zucchini, and a sweet and tangy lamb couscous. Tall Guy wanted carrot cake, usually a favourite of mine, but this one had chocolate icing, and had me wishing we´d gone for the cheesecake, or perhaps just ordered a piping hot manzanilla - chamomile - to wrap our hands around on the cool fall night.

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