Well, we made it back from Barcelona safe and sound. Kirk and I are very grateful to have had the opportunity to visit such an interesting city, but we are both very happy to be home after 2 weeks of living out of a suitcase. We attempted to keep a journal during our trip that we wanted to share with you:

Friday, February 16th – Krispy lands in Barcelona Spain at 9am local time (3am EST). Takes a cab to Kirk’s hotel and gets about an hour nap. Check out is at noon, so we gather our belongings (4 suitcases plus 2 backpacks) and grab a taxi to shuttle us to the apartment we rented. We found the apartment relatively quickly but ended up having to wait 10 minutes or so for the landlord to get there. After settling in, we head out to start the discovery process. The apartment is about 5 blocks from the beach and the weather is low 70’s so we gravitated to the beach. Krispy rejoices at the sight and sound of the ocean waves crashing on the beach. We spend some time hanging out by the water and then start the search for a place to eat. This particular area has a few restaurants close by with tables and chairs set up outside. We randomly select one, order a couple of cerveszas and some paella. For those who don’t know, paella is a very traditional Spanish dish which consists of rice and seafood…yummy! We devour our lunch and head straight back to the apartment so Krispy can grab another nap (turned out to be a 3 hour nap)…ok, should be good to go with the local time 🙂 After our first siesta of the trip, we dash back out to the streets of Barcelona. We ended up walking around the town for over 4 hours. Highlights from the walk:

  • Barri Gothic – this is an area of town that has many buildings dating back to ancient roman rule (we both thought this was pretty cool)
  • Barcelona Cathedral – this church is part of the Barri Gothic and has absolutely unbelievable architecture inside…how did they ever build this stuff way back then???
  • La Rambla – the main tourist drag. I’m sure this is very pretty in the spring / summer as it is lined with trees, but in the winter, it is just a mile long pedestrian boulevard with a lot of touristy shops…not much attraction for Kirk or me.
  • Starbucks – yes even in Barcelona…nothing like a mocha frappacino to help with jet lag
  • Just 1 Euro store – equivalent to the $ store here…do I need to say more?
  • Sixties Bar – we found a bar with the best beers ever! Well, actually, the cheapest beers (1 euro each)
  • Irish Pub – more beers…3 times as expensive…oh well, live and learn
  • Dinner at Can Romonet – more paella, bottle of wine, lots of laughs…right next door to the apartment!!! Coincidently, this restaurant was highly recommended in one of our Barcelona books but we didn’t realize this until after we had already eaten there.

Saturday, February 17th – oh so hung over! Must have been a combination of the travel exhaustion, dehydration and alcohol. Didn’t get up until 12:30. Actually, I should say, Krispy did not get up until 12:30…Kirk was a fabulous husband and got up around 10am, headed to the market (right around the corner) and purchased some chocolate croissants, oranges, grapes and Coke Light (Europe’s version of Diet Coke). Weather was more overcast and a bit chillier (50’s). We did manage to make it out of the apartment for a couple of hours to see a trendy neighborhood called The Born area. This is where the Santa Maria Cathedral and Picasso Museum are. Lunch included potatas fritas (french fries) and cheese pizza. Hang over was not going away without a fight! Lunch was followed by a 2 hour siesta (I LOVE this country!). Rain settled in as we awoke from our nap so we hung out at the apartment for awhile. After the rain let up, we tackled the subway (known as the Metro). Kirk was absolutely awesome trying to communicate with the Metro employees and was able to get us directions on how to get to the Sagrada Familia. This is an absolutely fabulous cathedral that is still being built after over 100 years of construction. We didn’t get to take the tour this day as it was later in the evening but we were impressed the moment we stepped out from the Metro. We have lots of pictures and video on this that we’ll be sharing. Dinner was at an Istanbul restaurant (gyro type food). After dinner, drinks were at an overpriced restaurant called “The Picasso Restaurant”. We ate/drank a little and then made our way back home (in bed by 11pm which is extremely early for Barcelona).

Sunday, February 18th – After waking up, we headed to the Christopher Columbus statue at the bottom of La Rambla. For a couple of euro you can take an elevator ride to the top and have a great view of the city. Truly amazing to see Barri Gothic in the midst of all the relatively modern architecture. After this we jumped on the Bus Touristic (south route) and saw the following sites:

  • House of Bones – this is an apartment designed by Antoni Gaudi to look like a dragon (inside and out). This was very cool stuff!
  • Casa Mila – this is an apartment building designed by Antoni Gaudi. My understanding is the goal was to design the entire building without using any straight lines. of course, Kirk and I are pretty sure we found some straight lines (although only 2).
  • Port Olympic – this is a very popular area for “clubbing” (for those that don’t know this term, clubbing refers to going out to nightclubs). Just an FYI, nightclubs don’t open until 10pm, are pretty empty until 1am and remain open until 5am. Kirk and I did not participate in the Barcelona clubbing 🙂
  • Olympic village – Barcelona hosted the 1992 summer Olympics and constructed the Olympic venue on top of Mountjuic. We only saw the village from the bus on this day as Krispy had been feeling under the weather since the morning and by this time was overdue for a siesta.
  • 3GSM Conference area – we have no idea what this area was called, but it was at the bottom of Mountjuic and was where Kirk spent his first week in Barcelona.
  • Football Stadium – remember, football in Europe means soccer. Apparently, Barcelona has the largest football stadium in Europe and the 3rd largest in the world.

Overall we were pretty unimpressed with the bus tour but at this point hadn’t said anything to each other as we still had tickets for the north route that we were planning on taking the next day. we didn’t do much else the rest of the day as Krispy was definitely ill and immobile at this point.

Monday, February 19th – Today was dedicated to the north route of the bus tour. At this point in our trip we have become experts on the Metro…people are starting to think we’re locals (except for that english language thing 🙂 The weather on this day was wonderful…sunny and warm (low 60’s). Here’s what we saw on this bus tour:

  • Parc Guell – another Antoni Gaudi creation. Beautiful park that was originally designed to be private and only accessible to the very weathly. Ultimately, it was purchased by the government and opened to the public. Definitely one of our favorite places in the city.
  • The Palace – I’m sure this has some official name but I don’t know what it is. However, I do know that it was summer home of the queen.
  • Sagrada Familia – we drove by this on the bus but again passed on the tour as it wasn’t open yet.
  • We saw some other stuff but it really wasn’t all that interesting…as evidenced by our lack of remembering any of it 🙂

Food consisted of more chocolate croissants and Starbuck’s sandwich. Then it was time for siesta. Following the lovely traditional siesta we headed over to the local bar for some food. We managed to pick a place where they spoke zero English. Kirk did a fabulous job trying to communicate that we wanted beer and food. He managed to get us a bikini sandwich (this is actually just a grilled ham and cheese) which we devoured in about 2 seconds. We decided to leave the establishment in search of a place with more options when Kirk attempt to ask for the bill…unfortunately, he inadvertently asked for “the forty”…oh if only we knew the language! Our next food establishment was on La Rambla…we were desperate for a touristy place that would accommodate our no habla Espanol. We ended up at Ideal Restaurant where Krispy had spaghetti bolgenese and Kirk had more paella. After that it was bed time.

Couple of quick notes:

  • Our apartment was in the local fishing village of Barcelonetta.
  • We totally did not care for the bus tours. The guides did not provide any additional information about the city or sights that we could not have gathered from our tourist books.

Stay tuned for more trip highlights…