Saturday, March 3, 2012

Barcelona Fun in February

This was the second trip to Spain for everyone except Bridget (her first international trip), but our first to Barcelona. What a great, family-friendly town!

Let's begin with the longest flight EVER! Fortunately, our coach seats had a little bit of legroom and free movies. How on earth can you be expected to entertain yourself for 8+ hours without TV?! I got my Ryan Gosling-George Clooney fix by watching the Ides of March. And I gotta admit, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti stole the show! Really great scene between Paul Giamatti and Ryan Gosling that I didn't see coming. This was Bridget's first flight exceeding 5 hours, and she was a trooper!

We left Saturday afternoon, had a short layover in Newark, then arrived Sunday morning in Barcelona. Our hotel was outstanding and would highly recommend the Grand Central or anyone traveling to Barcelona. Knocked around the area close to hotel, enjoyed a much-needed pastry and cafe con leche. Had a long nap to make up for the fact that we had no idea what time to sleep.

Beautiful old church near our hotel.

Best part of our first day in Barcelona was the Flamenco show and tapas dinner at night. Spectacular!

She was an amazing and passionate dancer!

Monday started with a late breakfast at hotel. Because we were jet-lagged, we nearly missed the complimentary breakfast as it ended at 11am and we arrived at a fashionably-late 10:50am! After fueling up on fresh fruits and pastries, we headed out in search of La Boqueria on Las Ramblas. The market is like the Westside Market, but on a grander scale. So worth the visit!

The grand entrance to the chaos!

The inside was filled with thousands of people shopping for fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, fresh herbs and little shops.

Jamon was hanging on every corner shop in La Boqueria.

We snaked in and out of neat little shops, logging in 5 miles! I know this to be true because I activated our Cyclemeter app just to see how much we might have walked. And we were hoping that all the walking to somehow negate all the chorizo, cheese, pastries and cafe con leche (with whole milk) that we would be consuming!

You can see the amazing design elements of the buildings in Barcelona.

We also soon became big fans of the afternoon siesta! What a great way to recharge with a nap. Feeling refreshed, we wandered around for a bit before finding a quaint little tapas bar where the three of us shared a lovely bottle of Rioja while leisurely sharing small plates with each other.

Early Tuesday, Greg headed to his conference while we went to the Aquarium. When traveling with kids, it always helps to do fun kid stuff. No 5-year-old enjoys shopping all day! We did realize that we've become aquarium snobs as we've visited about 10 different aquariums while traveling to knock out 50 states. Our "fish" demands, I suppose, are quite high! But we did have great fun for a couple hours here.

Love this picture of my girls on this trip!

Here fishy, fishy!

Shopping near hotel proved quite expensive, resulting in a dress (Zara) and purse (Shana) for Megan, a full outfit for Bridget (Benetton) and a scarf (Mango) for me. For lunch, we broke down and found someplease where Bridget would eat.

Neat row of bicyles spotted during our walk.

Up to this point, she was existing off of the applesauce and shredded wheat cereal I had packed. She is not an adventurous eater. So we lunched at the Hard Rock Cafe, where she had Mac n cheese, which she thanked me over and over for with kisses! Now that we were fueled up, we found the wonderful shopping along the Passeig de Gracia.

One of the Gaudi-style buildings along the Passeig de Gracia.

Bridget was exhausted from all the shopping and fell asleep while meg and I enjoyed a late afternoon cafe con leche.

How beautiful is this work of art?!

Another great work of art - an LV purse as the "cherry on top"! *swoon*

Met up with Greg outside Burberry then headed back to the hotel for an early evening rest period. We walked at least 6-7 miles today and earned that rest period! Found another neat little place around the corner from our hotel...that turned out to have a big gay and lesbian following, but an excellent sangria con cava!

As part of the Paella, Megan enjoyed eating this little fellow!

Finished off the evening with a bottle of Tempranillo on the rooftop.

Enjoying the evening at the rooftop bar of our hotel.

This would be our last full day in Barcelona si we wanted to see as much as possible. Greg headed out for his conference and, after studying the metro system, the girls and I headed out to take the train to Parc Guell. Parc Guell was designed by Gaudi and was supposed to be a must-see when visiting Barcelona. We had no idea what we were getting into! But my conservative estimate has our trek coming in at around 5 miles! Fortunately, Bridget was in the stroller. Unfortunately, Megan wore her trendy boots! Ouch!

The entrance to Parc Guell.

View from the top of Parc Guell, which really was incredible.

Great story while wandering around Parc Guell. First, we had no idea how long of a walk it would be to the top. After awhile, I was "committed" to seeing this walk through. Bridget was starting to fall asleep in the stroller. Meg was whining. We reach the top, and decide to take the "alternate" route down because it was more concrete and less pebbles (hard for pushing the stroller). Turned out the "alternate" route down took us behind a school and toward a neighborhood. Not the direction we needed to go! We ran into this lady walking her dog that held her hand up and said, "No!" She only spoke Spanish. Crap! Megan, who has had 4 years of Spanish, had to do the talking/interpreting. I'm snickering loudly from a combination of exhaustion and hearing Megan saying No Arriba! Abaho! She sounded like Dora and Diego at this point!

After making our way to the bottom finally, we rewarded ourselves with jamon con queso sandwiches and icy cold water! A foot massage would have worked wonders, if available!

Consulting my Metro cheat-sheet, we headed over to visit La Sagrada Familia and let B burn off some steam at the playground across from the church. Took the train back to Passeig de Gracia and I got a trench from Zara and a Burberry scarf for my birthday! Tapas and beer then walked back to our hotel. Phew we were tired! A long, exhausting, but fun last day in Spain!

La Sagrada Familia was breathtaking and so overwhelming in size.

This girl can never get enough playtime!

Time to get some sleep, get up early and head back to the states! What a wonderful trip!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds absolutely fantastic!!! i was going to ask how lil Bridget was managing all that walking, but then you mentioned a stroller. You guys packed some serious walking and site-seeing into a short amount of time. I loved reading this and seeing the pics...and I also love the picture of your two daughters cheek to cheek. Could it get any better than that?