Here’s the last bit of journal stuff from our trip to Spain.

Tuesday, February 20th – Rise and shine! Time to walk across the street to get some breakfast. We went to a little shop (New Orleans Tea & Coffee Shop) for a chocolate croissant and some really good fresh squeezed orange juice. They cut & squeeze the oranges right in view so we’re positive it wasn’t a bait and switch organization. After the yummy juice we headed back to the main touristy area as we were scheduled to go on a walking tour in Barri Gothic. But first we needed to exchange some money. We had attempted to do this early in our trip but found out the hard way that banks close at 2pm…uh, missed that in the tour book and we’re definitely doing it all wrong here in the U.S. Anyhow, we hit a couple of banks that absolutely refused to exchange American Express travelers checks. Apparently this form of currency is taboo in Barcelona. Running out of time so we had to skidaddle to our tour without having exchanged a dime. Tour was the highlight of our trip so far. We had a very animated tour guide and the information was very interesting. We learned that Barcleona was built on top of the old Roman city. They even have an area where you can see all of the columns from the old city…pretty damn cool! The tour lasted a couple of hours so we were pretty hungry by the end. Lunch was at a cervesseria near the apartment where we had a couple of beers and bocadillos (sandwiches). By the time we finished lunch we had hit the official siesta hour so we walked back to have our obligatory nap πŸ™‚ Post siesta we hit the Metro and headed up to Sagrada Familia to finally take our tour of this incredible construction. We were able to take the lift to the top of a steeple and then slowly walk down. We were up very high with minimal safeguards…my legs literally were shaking the entire time we were up there until about 1/2 an hour after we hit sea level. Not many people up there spoke English but we all knew what the other was thinking by the expressions and noises everyone was making. Maybe fear is the universal language…not love. After the infamous church tour, we decided to walk home. We had planned on walking through Parc Ciautdell but the bulk of it was closed so we had to take a detour. The detour was taking us a little out of the way so we decided to go completly out of our way and go tour Port Olympic. What could have been a short 1/2 hour walk home turned into a much longer 1.5 hour walk home. It was definitely a nice walk along the beach, but our footsies were pooped by the time we sat down at the apartment. We had contemplated taking a train (not the metro) to a neighboring city to experience the carnival parade, but we were just too exhausted from our action packed day. It would have been cool to say we went, but let’s face it, we’re no spring chickens anymore πŸ™‚

Wednesday, February 21st – Our plan for today was to spend the bulk of the day tooling around Mountjuic. The 1992 Olympic village was up there so we figured that would take a lot of time to tour. Our mistake. Our first clue that it wasn’t going to be what we thought was when our funicular ride (tram ride) was about 2 minutes. Looking at our map we thought for sure it was a good 10 minute ride to the top…oops…miscalculated that one! Ok, so what, the ride was short…the Olympic village will be entertaining and take lots of time to tour. Well, it was cool to see the village, but other than walking through a large “courtyard”, there really wasn’t much to see. All the buildings were locked and there really wasn’t anything to do other than walk through the courtyard. Ok, time to re-evaluate. Let’s look at the map and see what else there is. After about 15 minutes of looking at the tour books we determined that there really wasn’t that much to do so we started walking down. We did end up coming full circle to where Kirk attended his conference. It was fun to watch everything click for Kirk. One of his comments was something like: I looked at that building every day for a week and thought, that looks cool…wonder what it is. Now we’re here standing right next to it!. After leaving Mountjuic, we had some lunch (more bocadillos and beers), took our now standard siesta, called Michigan to check on Rip and then headed up to the Fraggi in the main tourist drag. Fraggi is an ice cream store that has some pretty darn good ice cream…no asking us twice if we wanted to go! After the ice cream treat we went back to the apartment, packed up, had us some Sudoku competition, found some dinner and hit the hay. Our Barcelona trip had come to an end.

Our travels home went pretty smoothly on both ends. We had flights that were to land in Detroit within an hour of each other. The only glitch we had was that my flight landed an hour early and Kirk’s flight landed an hour late…oh well, can’t win them all! The weather in Detroit was significantly colder than in Spain so we were REALLY glad when the rental car shuttle FINALLY showed up. When we finally got to Mimi and Gumpa’s house, Rip ran into his Daddy’s arms and gave him a huge hug. I had to ask to get a hug…and then Rip had to go back to Daddy. Ah, so good to be back in the U.S.

Our trip to Austin was smooth sailing. Rip is a great traveler. In the airport he contents himself by running down the moving sidewalks until the flight is ready to board. On the plane he prefers the window seat, puts his seat belt on no problems (zip click for all the closet Blue’s Clues watchers) and sometimes he’ll fall asleep as the plane takes off.

That’s our how our trip went. We’ll work on getting pictures and video edited over the next week and will post as soon as humanly possible!