Sunday, September 26, 2010


Very early on September 2, we headed to the Madrid airport to catch our vueling flight to Barcelona. We arrived in Barcelona pretty early and we took the cheap bus option in to town. We arrived at our hotel, the Hotel Aranea, dropped off our bags, and started walking toward La Sagrada Família. As it was about lunch time, we ate on some snacks before going in. I have to admit that I had not read much about Barcelona before going and had no idea what to expect here. The Church of the Holy Family has been under construction since 1882 and is expected to finish around 2026. It's architecture is nothing like any other church we had seen before. We walked around for a while and enjoyed seeing a unique church still under construction.

We wandered back to our hotel to check-in and take a little nap. Of course Nolan had been napping already and woke up as we got in to the room, but we were able to rest some nonetheless. After our nap we decided to walk toward the water by way of a large park. This led us to the Arc de Triomf and the Parc de la Ciutadella. We slowly wandered through the park and when we ended up near the zoo, we headed toward the city center. We ended up close to the Santa Maria del Mar so we walked there and went in. This was another pretty interesting church and fotos were allowed, so we spent some time walking around and then decided to look for food.

We were near the Jaume I metro stop and walked down Carrer de Ferran. There were many restaurants in this area. We found a chinese place and got some noodles for Nolan, and Kacey and I ate at Trobador Ferran. We liked this place! While Kacey did not exactly like the way her fish was prepared, mine was good and the goat cheese salad was yummy. They also had a traditional Catalan appetizer, toasted bread with a special tomato-based sauce grilled in. It is pretty simple, but most restaurants in Barcelona seem to offer it. On our way to the hotel after dinner, I finally inquired about horchata (something we had been seeing frequently in Spain). The flavor is unique, but similar to chai, and the texture is that of a mostly melted milkshake.

The next day other LGOs were going to arrive in Barcelona. First in was Chris and we met up with him right after breakfast. We walked a few blocks north to La Pedrera (Milà house). I found the apartment amusing and the roof very cool. There were also nice views of the town from the roof. We ended up not visiting Casa Batlló as it seemed similar to La Pedrera, much more expensive, and not quite as cool. We grabbed a bite to eat at a little cafe, stopped for Chris to check-in, and headed toward Plaça d'Espanya.

Our goal was to check out the Olympic area and the fort on top of the hill. We walked the fountain-lined street toward the National Museum of Art. We then found our way around the back to the large open area near the stadium. It was a large area filled with water features and light towers. After a few minutes rest, we walked toward the stadium only to find that you are allowed to go in and walk around for free. We walked in, took some photos, grabbed a slushy, and figured it was time to head on up to the fort. Castell de Montjuïc can be reached by (expensive) cable car, bus, or tiring up-hill walk. We opted to walk up and bus down. There is not much at the fortress except great views, but it is free! From here we headed down to meet Emily, another LGO, for dinner near the water. After dinner we walked out on the pier toward the aquarium before heading to bed.

The next day we wanted to get to the cathedral before it closed, so we headed in to check out the Catedral de Santa Eulalia. As we walked around we got separated and Kacey ended up going out to the garden with Nolan. Too bad the place closed while she was out there as she had to then walk around the entire church to meet me out front. It was lunch time already so we looked for food near Jaume I and the Santa María del Mar church as there seemed to be a lot of food in that area. We stopped at a little place that had a very interesting menu so we went in. We were trying to keep the cost reasonable so we didn't get large portions, but the food was very good! El Rovell del Born is highly recommended if you are in the area.

From here we had to decide to try the beach or the zoo. We had trouble reaching the LGOs in town and figured it was Nolan's turn for some fun, so we spent a few minutes at a little playground and then headed to the zoo. The Parc Zoològic de Barcelona, despite the initial thought it would be small, is actually a nice zoo. They have unnecessary golf cart rentals for all, so there are way too many being driven around, but things were laid out well and there was a lot to see. I was glad Nolan got to see so many animals, especially his pony ride!
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Pony ride quotes: Nolan ride baby horsie, hold on tight

After a long afternoon at the zoo, we headed out the south entrance of the zoo to walk near the Olympic Village at the beach back toward the city center. We slowly walked the boardwalk, hoping Nolan would take a nap. He didn't but this was by far nicer than the beaches we had seen yet in Italy (note we don't go to many beaches, though). The entire beach area was revitalized for the Olympics in 1992. As we made our way back toward the center, it was time to meet the other LGOs for dinner. We took the metro up to Espanya to meet at a little restaurant near there. Karla had learned of a water/light show near Espanya so after dinner we walked toward the Museum of Art. Look at my pictures as it is hard to describe, but the long street is lined with water features and at the end of the street is the Font Màgica de Montjuïc. Every 30 minutes the fountains come to life to music, and different colors are shown through the water. It is pretty cool! After taking way too many pictures and staying up way too late, we finally headed back to our hotel.
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We woke up on Sunday, our last vacation day, packed up and headed toward La Rambla, a long street that is converted to shops and restaurants. We walked out to the water to check out the views from this point and then walked north up the street to take in the area. After watching a few street performers and reading some menus, we meet up with the LGOs to find some lunch. After walking for a while, we decided to go to the place Kacey and I had eaten a previous night and take advantage of their outside seating. I unfortunately had to quickly eat and rush back to get our bags to make our flight, but it was still good times and good food.

Pictures from Barcelona

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