Wednesday, January 29, 2014

3 Days in Barcelona

   Foul weather and the winter doldrums led us to a spontaneous trip south of the border to Barcelona. We booked an apartment, bought some train tickets and arriba!!! off we went.
   First, I need to commend my children for becoming flexible travelers. As we have encountered, things do not always go exactly as planned. We drove 4 hours, across the border into Spain, then were scheduled to take a train for the remaining 120 km., mostly so I wouldn't have to drive around Barcelona with my beast of a car. Well, the train was 4 hours late- at least- mechanical trouble- they really did not know when it would show up, so they shuttled us in a bus to another train station and put us on a local train that was so slow, it probably really didn't make much of a difference. None the less, we arrived in Barcelona a bit later than expected. Another language- uh, oh! Actually, most people in Barcelona speak very good English. It was no problem.
   Here is what we packed into 3 days- La Boqueria(incredible food court), La Rambla(main tourist drag), Picasso Museum, Chocolate Museum(that was the compromise for getting through the Picasso), Parc de la Cuitadella, Sagrada Familia(iconic Barcelona church by Gaudi still not completed), Parc del Laberint, Guell Park, lots of Gaudi architecture. We had some good tapas, my kids are no longer afraid of subway stations and can even figure out what route we need to take, and can walk for the majority of the day-not without some complaining, but they can do it.
  Barcelona is such a vibrant, hip city, so full of life. Alot of it seems to take place far after our bedtimes, but the buzz was perfectly evident.  You can walk everywhere and supplement with the metro for cross town ventures. The narrow streets are decorated with more graffiti than I have ever seen, but much of it professionally done and well worth admiring. The wider, main streets are lined with beautiful buildings, interspersed with Gaudi's and other very unique architecture.
   The last morning there, Middle Child and I went in search of saffron to bring home. We walked and walked, because, well, I usually get lost and we did, but came out at the edge of the sea. It was gorgeous and a fabulous neighborhood that I will start with, the next time I go to Barcelona. Indeed, we finally found the place I was searching for and it was great. The walls of the commercial place were lined with tins of various fish, 5 gallon buckets were all over the place with a fellow mixing varieties for restaurants in the city who have their unique blend. Various rices for paella and other traditional dishes, tomato jams, spices and all kids of things I did not recognize. The saffron was behind a bullet proof window where the cashier sat. Success.
   I wish I had more time for so many of our adventures. It seems that the discoveries are endless in these places that I have only read about. I can only hope to satiate this desire for travel in the future.

La Rambla 
Notice the Chinese umbrellas on the face on the building
Lots of canine companions in Barcelona
Kimono dragon made exclusively of chocolate
Smurfs- all in chocolate... 
Wonderful street performer showing kids how to make these massive bubbles
Continuing our collage of leaping photos 
On the Rambla de Raval 
Gaudi architecture
Rent-a-bike- they are everywhere, used by all.
Guell Parc and more Gaudi architecture
Overlooking the city at Guell Parc 
The comfort of train travel with the countryside whizzing by.



Ruby Balloon said...

I want to go to Barcelona if only to see Gaudi's art. It is very much like the Cuban artist Jose Fuster. Check him out.

Margery Poitras said...

Barcelona may be my favorite city we have been to- full of life and excitement.