Barcelona, diverse, dynamic and FUN!!

Posted: February 22, 2013 in Spain, Travel, travel journey, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I have to say Barcelona sure took me by surprise.  Maybe I thought it was going to be like Madrid?  I liked Madrid.  Had a trip there in May.  Surprisingly it is nothing like Madrid.   Spain reminds me more and more of Italy with each place you visit having its own personality.  Since I’m new to Spain I am just discovering these aspects.  It’s a grand discovery.  That’s what travel is about for me, different people, places and things.

Now to the man, Gaudi.  I am most enchanted with Michelangelo.  I love everything about him, contrariness and all, that’s what gives him spice I think.   I didn’t expect that Guadi would be so artsy and so interesting.  As you explore Barcelona, visually taking in the delights Gaudi has left you, you feel gobsmacked (learned that from my British friends).  What a man way before his time but who came along at exactly the right time.  Here is a link for a bit of background on him.

The Food:  Jamon, Jamon Jamon !!   I need it everyday.  We almost had it every day.   I found my self staring at it in shop windows mesmerised just as much as looking at a pretty dress!  Ahhhh, there it is……come to momma !

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The Flamenco:  Saw my first show in Madrid and once is never enough.  I never knew the dance would make you feel like you can’t breathe.  I don’t mean while dancing, I mean while watching, while sitting.   We went to Tarantos two evenings and the first night got to meet the papa of one of the dancers who was so proud.  No wonder, she was terrific.  The second night, this time it was a guy who stole the show.  I do believe my friend Vivian started to whimper and cry a little.  Flamenco does it to you like that you see.

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The Market:   We were only able to get to one incredible market called Boqueria.  Before visiting inside we decide to have some beer and jamon right outside of it which was nice because we got to meet two couples that were interesting to talk to, one from the midwest in the USA and the other from Sweden.  Sweden made my eyes go big for a second since I am a big Alexander Skarsgard fan liking that he’s not too big for his britches and doesn’t let fame go to his pretty head.  I also like his family especially what I read of the granny.  The husband has done work with the family.    Of course, I joked well if you see him around town tell him Jeannette said hi.  For you ladies who don’t know who Alexander Skarsgard is take some time to view google images.  It won’t disappoint.  Fire engine hot baby!  lol, True Blood fans well, I guess I don’t have to tell you a thing.   Okay so after meeting these two nice couples I hear a fellow from a nearby table asking, “did you say you are from Baltimore”?  Yes….we are, he said me too”!!!   Well fancy meeting you here in the dead of January in Barcelona.  I asked why are you here?  He said vacation.  I don’t know why I had in my head that I’m the only person in January visiting for a vacation but somehow I did.  He had a plate of seafood and we say, oh you are a Baltimore boy for sure.  So after the snack, we head into the market.  This market is sensational and graphic all at the same time.  Some things I am not used to seeing in a market or anywhere for that matter.  I saw a bowl of I think rooster heads?  What is somebody going to do with that?  I bet something good I don’t know about.  I saw rabbits hanging and fish so fresh it was still blowing bubbles.  Now that’s fresh!  The Swedish couple we met told us they always go to the seafood inside the market that cooks it up for you.  Stools are scarce so I suggest hang on the sidelines and dash to one if you see somebody get up.    Deciding what to choose is hard because there are so many choices.  Watching them grill it is a delight in itself.  I want to squirt my seafood with all the things I saw in bottles at home when I’m grilling.  We asked finally, hey what’s in that bottle?  It looked like greenish water.  It was delicious and I will ask my friend Vivian what was in it exactly because I can’t remember right at this moment but I will tell you.  I have every intention of grilling shrimp or something this summer with that concoction.

The trip:  Now to explain my trip a bit, me and Vivian started our trip in Amsterdam.  To be honest when I was researching a reward flight ticket to Europe in January Amsterdam had the lowest taxes so Amsterdam it was.  Now as you know, that could never be a bad thing.  It was cold, wonderful, beautiful and sad meaning the Anne Frank house.   My friend Chris got to fly in from London and meet us in Amsterdam.  We had a great time together, laughs, frozen feet and a bit of humor from an older local in Amsterdam who told Chris (when she had been saying she was tired from the flight)  oh yeah!….that jetlag from an hour flight will do you in,  we laughed but to her defense she arrived at night.   lol…..  She couldn’t go to Barcelona with us so it was me and Vivian exploring Barcelona together. Searching for warmer temperatures the south of Spain was looming in my head as well.   Between friends advise and researching the trip it slowly evolved into Amsterdam, Barcelona, Seville, Granada, back to Barcelona than back to Amsterdam for the flight home.  A lot of traveling yes which is exhausting but sometimes I get a wild hair and want to fit in as much culture and change as I can possibly muster.  Other trips, I like to hang in one place and not move around so much.  With this report I’ll include Seville & Granada separate.

What we saw and did:

Sagrada Familia – from the outside…. we were too late for our timed ticket, yes a bummer!

La Pedrera, Casa Mila ….don’t miss this if you go to Barcelona

The Barrio Gotico – we did a walk from National Geographic traveler guide, what a wonderful area

La Ramblas – oh up and down we will go…..many times but only ate at one restaurant there

Park Guell – incredible views over Barcelona.  We stayed till dark, what a park !

Barcelona Cathedral – don’t miss the geese in the side courtyard, the Cathedral is stunning

Palau Guel – again like all items by Gaudi, incredible!

Columbus monument – next time I want to take the elevator to the foot

the Port area – reminds me of Annapolis

Hop on and off bus – we spent two days riding this bus.  What a wonderful overview and was so easy.

We met a bunch of girls in a restaurant, there were several tables and none of us knew each other but we all started talking and the waiter said why don’t you all move closer together so we did and when the restaurant closed we took him too!  We partied like rock stars us and the young girls.  The waiter took us to a place that was like a speakeasy.  They played ragtime music and I started feeling like a flapper.  We all loved it, what a cool place!  We danced at bars that I cannot remember.  I had a spill on one of these black things in the road that are like a road blocks, hurt my knee and hand.  That was a huge ouch for a few days and I limped around and took Aleve.

We had shopped at the market for items for a picnic.  The day of our picnic turned chilly and very windy so we found a great looking bus stop with a cool seat, spread out and made our picnic right there in the sun.  Funny watching the people in the buses watching us.  With our leftover items from the market we had one more picnic in a spot I never would have dreamed of having a picnic at complete with wine (but no glasses) and that was at the airport leaving Barcelona.  We just walked till we saw a sunny spot, spread out our bounty and had a wonderful brunch before the flight.   Barcelona airport rocks and with their smoking section too!

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This is my list of what I am saving for the next time:

Casa Batllo

the Music Palace

the Magic Fountain

the countless museums

Monastery of Montserrat

the beach (if summer)

day trips and countless more.   There are lots and lots of things to do in and around Barcelona.  I can see exactly why people return again and again.  I will.   Hey and the Spanish men are kinda cute!

  1. Pat says:

    Great report! If you go again in warmer weather, count me in!!!

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