Monday, June 16, 2014

Barcelona, Spain

We traveled to Barcelona at the beginning of May (where did the time go!) and truly enjoyed our time there - so did our taste buds :)

Fresh paella, Iberico ham for the carnivores, tasty cheese and delicious local wines.  There was so much to see and do, we did almost everything we wanted to and still just uncovered the surface.  We visited some more far flung sites than maybe most would have but I had my motives, which I will reveal in my next blog entry.

Unfortunately, I missed the night life, but that is what happens when you bring along your two year old. Hannah was a traveling champ as usual and a huge fan of the Iberico ham and the Spanish chocolate milk (me too!).  I was trying to hoard some of the brown & yellow boxes of delicious Cacaolat, but as it turns out I knew where they were and all were consumed before we had to pack to return home.  Good intentions!
We rented an apartment between the city center and the El Poblenou neighborhood which turned out to be one of our favorite areas with its laid back Rambla del Poblenou full of restaurants and shops.  The apartment was about a 10 minute walk from the beach and a 10 minute walk from the great park Parc de la Ciutadella  which is also home to the zoo Parc Zoològic de Barcelona.  A perfect location for a rental.

The public transportation was easy, clean, frequent and great for getting around the city.  We bought the T10 card and used it quite a bit.  Travis was traveling a bit further out of the city for the Barcelona Formula 1 races and found the metro useful.  From the BCN airport we hopped on an Aero Bus to get into the city center.  The Aerobus is a bit faster as it only makes a handful of stops.

There was so much to see, but I must admit that I was eager to see the beach.  The beach was nice with a great promenade and many bars, cafes and restaurants to choose from along the way.  I was very happy to be on the beach, seeing the ocean and listening to the waves.  However, the man made beaches do not compare to the shores of Lake Michigan and the dusty residue left by the imported sand was unexpected.

Of course, we saw much more than the beach including Palau de la Música Catalana (need tickets in advance), Barcelona Cathedral, Montjuic, Magic Fountain (which we missed seeing the evening light & music show), Tibidabo, markets, Ciutadella Park, Park Güell, the Antoni Gaudí architectural points of interest and strolling down the many ramblas.  I only saw a few of the Gaudi sites, but would like to see more one day.  There was so much to do and only so much time.  A half day could have been dedicated to Park Güell, but I was ill prepared.
Palau de la Música Catalana

Fountain in Parc de la Ciutadella 
Fountain in Parc de la Ciutadella 

View from Tibidabo
Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor
Inside the Sagrat Cor

Park Güell
Park Güell