Trip Part Uno – Barcelona


We’ve been back two weeks and I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact.  It’s taken a lot longer this trip than normally. Usually at the end of a trip I start to look forward to returning home, sleeping in my own bed and having my things around.  But not this time.  I can honestly say that at no time did I want to come back and definitely resented having to do so. Ok, I did miss our cat and the fact that you can flush the toilet paper down the toilet (one of the less than charming aspects of Greek plumbing is that it can’t handle toilet paper which must go into an, inevitably, smelly bin).
Our family is on a two-year cycle of European holidays.  We have the good year, followed by the lean year of accruing all our holidays and getting by on the odd long weekend away.  These overseas trips are mainly to visit R’s family in Ireland but we always finish off with a couple of weeks at my parent’s house in Zakynthos, Greece.  Scarily enough Alex, who is eight, has been to Europe five times already. Five times!  I didn’t even get on a plane till I was a teenager.

2013
2011

2009

2005

2007

Anyway, we’re back and it was the best holiday yet.  I imagine the main reason is that the boys are older so, theoretically,  each future holiday should be better than the last.  Now that’s something to look forward to.  If I thought that them going to the toilet alone and feeding themselves was liberating imagine when they are old enough to navigate when R is driving and I can have nanna naps in the back seat. 

One of the main reasons for the awesomeness of this trip was that rather than just the usual Ireland/Greece combo we added in 10 days in Spanish Catalonia and the French Pyrenees.  We thought the boys were old enough and they were.  Of course we had to adjust our pace and there were many things that we didn’t do because we didn’t think the kids would enjoy/handle it very well, but I think we managed to find the right balance for all.
Gorgeous old stairs to our apartment

First stop was Barcelona.  We stayed in the El Born district of the old town within walking distance to pretty much everything.  We booked our apartment through airbnb and it was a perfect for our needs.  The old town is enchanting, especially the less touristy bit that we stayed in.  I the evenings local kids would be kicking footballs around dusty playgrounds while the adults enjoyed a drink in the cafes.  On our first evening we can across a local wine tasting festival which of course we participated.  Ok, so the boys weren’t too happy about this, mainly because the fussy little *&^%‘s wouldn’t eat any of the delicious tapas on offer.  We placated them afterwards with a pizza.  In fact for pretty much every meal (except breakfast) we placated them with pizza or pasta.  Every now and then they went crazy and had a bocadillo or tortilla instead, but really, that was only out of necessity.  Our kids are going to have a very unusual memory of Spanish food.

Born, with Santa Maria del Mar in the background
On our first morning we headed south through the Born towards the Picasso Museum. Luckily, we were in town on the once a month free entry Sunday so we’d get off to a good start on our holiday budget by saving a few  euro. We wandered through the lovely old narrow streets, past the austere but beautiful Santa Maria del Mar and ….. to the end of the very, very, very long line to get into the Picasso Museum.  Apparently this free Sunday thing is very popular.  There was no way we could make the boys wait in line for 45mins and then make them traipse around a crowded art museum.  I mean we could, but that just wouldn’t be fair to them.  The museum is closed on Mondays and we were leaving on Tuesday morning so it was goodbye to Picasso…
At La Ciutadella

Kick-ass fountain..

Instead we went to La Ciutadella park where there happened to be a kids festival going on.  Mayhem. Extremely, noisy mayhem. We explored the amazing fountain and went boating on the lake.  The boys had a go.  From the photos it looks like they were doing it themselves, but what you can’t see is me bending precariously (and painfully) and trying, most successfully, to avoid collisions.

Just before he ran over a family of ducks (just joking!)

We did lots of other touristy things are well :  modernista architecture, La Sagrada Familia, La Rambla, Placa Reial, the Cathedral and of course a visit to Zara, Desigual and Mango.

Barcelona in a nutshell.  Next stop L’Avenc de Tavertet.

Cheers
Tina

2 thoughts on “Trip Part Uno – Barcelona

  1. Awesome Tina – great to see you visit these amazing places with your kids. It was special for me to see the pics of spain too. Coming home after that trip would have been none too easy!

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  2. Yeah it certainly was hard coming back this time alright. Hey, one thing you didn't mention was how much Spanish you learned prior to arriving in Calalunya, and how well you did. Don't drop it, though, just because we won't be back in Spain for a while. ¡Es una idioma muy bonita!

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