After a days rest from back in Madrid, after our most unforgettable trip to Segovia, it was time for the second half of our Holiday adventures to Barcelona. Trey, Cash, and I went to the airport early because for whatever reason the airlines told us that we were not certified to bring Cash on board the aircraft without paying a fee. I wasn’t sure as to why all of a sudden this airline (name I shall not mention) has allowed us to fly with him in the past but now has decided otherwise. Anyways, we get to the counter and they looked over Cash’s paper work briefly and issued us his boarding pass with out any further questions. The business woman in me grinned with pride, as I muttered to myself, “thats what I thought!” As soon as we had checked our bags there was Kathryn waiting for us boarding pass and carry on in hand, ready for the second half of our holiday adventures.
We board the plan and have a very pleasant flight to our final destination Barcelona. We all jumped in a cab and had the driver drop us off a the door of our Airbnb. We arrive to the apartment where we meet the owner. He was very friendly and gave us some good places near by to dine and told us how to get to the metro and we were very close to virtually everything. We selected our rooms and headed out with Cash in search for a nearby neighborhood outside dining spot for some traditional tapas and vino. After dinner we ventured into the little market on the corner to get some odds and ends for breakfast. We all decided we wanted to turn in early because we had an early morning to follow with a tour of the Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudi.
The next day we all began to wake up and take turns showering. Meanwhile, Kathryn ran to the little bakery down the way to get some fresh bread and croissants for breakfast. We had a glorious start with fresh orange juice, tea, and warms croissants, eggs, and toast with tomato. After walking Cash around the block it was time for us to head out for the day. Our tour guide Marc met us at our apartment and lead us to the metro straight for the Sagrada Familia. He was very helpful with explaining the area and the metro system. We arrived at the Cathedral about 15 minutes later and I remember being in complete awe. The pictures of this incredible piece of architecture do not do it justice. Marc gave us quite the tour as he was full of interesting facts about Guadi and his design, he would point out pieces in the structure and explain the reason for Guadi’s choices. He was very good what he did and honestly I believe made this experience that much more enjoyable because he was so insightful! We walked all around the exterior and were intrigued by the new sides of this masterpiece. I find this entire concept of the project being ongoing and Guadi’s vision and work to be fasinating. When we went into this breathtaking monument, it was a completely different take. Living in Europe we have been traveling to many different places to see many Cathedrals and Churches, but this by far was the most magnificient I have ever seen. It felt as if we were in the forest and the grand pillars were the trunks of the trees and the stained glass represented the colors of the forest as the sunlight carried through the brush and canapoy of the the trees. We spent about 3 hours touring this unbelievable piece of art. Following our tour it was time for some grub and a drink. We decided to walk to our next point of interest… the city center and look for something that looked good and stop. We stumbled into this artistic little mexican fusion restaurant. It was delightful. The ambiance was artistic, fun, and was pouring out great energy all the way to the street. The walls were decorated with murals painted by a local artist and the owners art collection from all over the world. First thing was first drinks so we of course ordered the homemade Margaritas all around and they were delicious, made fresh and with all the right ingredients. Next, we ordered our meals! The amazing food paired with the company and wonderful ambiance made for the time to fly by. With full bellies we were now ready to see more of this beautiful city. We walked all over the city and everywhere we turned we saw the art of Guadi. We became Guadi experts by the end of the day stating “That’s so Guadi” our favorite catch phase of the trip. We stumbled into a festival going on in the Plaza Catalunya of man made musical instruments. For example chimes made of old bicycle wheels and as the wind moved the wheel the chimes would make different musical cords. Many families were gathered in this area waiting for the giant music box to begin. This was fasinating as well there was a ballerina the size of a 2 story building and around her she had a wheel with pieces of fabric with things written on them. Just outside of her resting place was a place for you to write your hopes wishes and dreams on these pieces of fabric. Then once the music box began she would spin and the hopes and dreams of the community would spin above her. I read a few that some children had written… World Peace. Love Everyone Everywhere! A Puppy! As I read these it made me think of all the beautful things in this world and how much we should cherish every moment.
We made our way to the famous street the Ramblas and wondered into the the most amazing market I have ever seen The St. Joseph Market. All of these beautiful foods, all fresh, local, and just beaming with color the looks of them you knew they were going to taste ever so heavenly. After a day of wondering the beautiful city with windows full of the most beautiful food art…pinchos! We hadn’t made dinner plans yet and were very from the our apartment but knew at some point we would need to head towards the apartment to let Cash out. We decided to wander into this 1920’s looking bar and come up with a game plan. The consensus was we stay out until dark to see the Christmas lights of Barcelona lit up then head back to make soup and get ready for the next days adventures. Lights lights and more lights we ventured from one street to the next viewing different holiday decor and decorated trees. We stumbled upon a plaza where they had life size snow globe floats that different stores had created. They were having a contest on which was the most creative. Then every 15 minutes they blew fake snow in them to really make them come to life. One thing this city had and made you feel was the creativity. After walking around for some time we decided it was time to head back to our apartment. Trey and Kathryn made homemade veggie soup that really hit the spot. We had beautiful weather while in Barcelona, however at night it would cool down quite a bit. After finishing off our jug of wine that we had purchased upon arrival at the small bodega under our apartment we were all ready to hit the hay to be ready for another day.
We all slowly woke up and had another amazing breakfast together with fresh croissants and fresh squeezed OJ. We were off to Gaudi's park for the day and took Cashman along for the ride. We decided a cab would be best to avoid being late for our entrance time into the park. The cab driver liked Cash and thought he was so funny. Within minutes we were at the famous Guadi's Park Guell. We got in line and waited for about 10 minutes to enter. Once we were in we began snapping away and wondering around the park. Cash has a blast sniffing around and soaking up the sun. We made it to the famous look out of Gaudi's park and kept cash on a short leash because there were a lot of people and a lot of dogs around. His favorite thing to do is chase birds' shadows and this was the perfect place to do it in. We went to the center of the plaza and let him run in circles for about 15 minutes until he was completely tuckered out and laid at our feet when he realized he just wasn't going to catch those birds. We then climbed up some stairs and began to hear some music coming form a near distance. We followed our ears and came to a beautiful area with a sort of natural amplitheatre feel to it. at the bottom was a man playing Spanish Guitar. The three amigos and Cash sat on a wall and listened, looked, and felt the beauty of this experience. It was yet another reflecting and moving feeling while here in Europe. I know I write about this often but the fact of the matter is moments like these bring all sorts of good feels out of you and is one thing I like to relive in my writings. I remember having moments like these in Charleston when I would be on the beach, on the marina's dock near our house at sunset, or riding my bike near the marsh.
After our private concert we decided it was time to move on and get something to eat. We were all ready to see the ocean so we jumped in a cab and headed towards the beach. Our driver dropped us off right at the boardwalk and we were all a little hungry. We turned around and there was an Italian restaurant with outside seating that looked to be right up our alley. We had an amazing lunch with a bottle of cava, pasta, and pizza with the view of the ocean waves crashing in on the shore. Our bellies and hearts were full and Cash was chomping at the bit to get on the beach. We turned him lose and he ran and ran and ran. There is nothing Cash loves more than running on the beach. We walked along the beach for about a hour and walked to the W to lookout from there views of the sea. We all began to get tired and decided a siesta is just what we needed before we headed out for dinner. We hailed a taxi to take us back to our place and we all, Cash included enjoyed a nice long nap.
It was around 9:00 and we had made dinner reservations for 10:00 at an Indian Restaurant that was highly recommended, according to trip advisor. We all got dressed up, had a dress drink, and headed toward the metro for the dinner reservations. The city of Barcelona was very sleepy and we wondered if it was always like that. We asked a local and they said it was because of the Holidays that the city was very quite and it was in rare form to see it this way unless you come this time of year. It made it nice because we were able to see everything and avoided crowds. When we arrived to the restaurant the aroma of sweet curry filled the air. We ordered our usual vegitarian favorites from the menu and again had amazing engaging conversations. We all talked about ourselves, our venerabilities, and ways we had found ourselves over the years and that night I learned a lot about my dear friend Kathryn. It made me value her and our friendship even more. The night had grown late and we left around 1:00 am. We were all feeling a night cap would do us some good, but most places near were closed, so we decided to take a cab back to our place and call it a night. The cab driver had the best music. I remember us asking him what station it was and he had his iPod plugged into radio. Trey mentioned that all we needed was a drink and this would be better than sitting in a bar! We jammed out and finally reached the apartment.
We said our goodnights and were off to bed.
The next morning we again made ourselves a delicious breakfast and packed up our things to return to Madrid later on that afternoon. Kathryn suggested we take a walk to a nearby park before we had to check out. When we arrived to the park we noticed it was a dog park. It was a really neat experience to see a dog park in Spain. I mean we always see dogs in the Park in Madrid but this was solely for dogs. All of the dogs were very well behaved and had big personalities. This was fun for all of us to people and dog watch but especially Cashman. It was good we wore him out so he would sleep the entire flight home. We went back to the apartment, collected our things, and headed to the airport to return to Madrid. What an incredible adventure we had enjoyed in just a few short 8 days. It was such a good time and always amazes me how quickly it goes by. Looking back on our Holiday Journey it was everything and more I could ever imagine as our first Christmas Holiday season abroad and so much more.