Sorry I have been away from the blog lately – it’s been a whirlwind week (wow, I never use the word “whirlwind,” but it really describes it well). Anya and I finally took our trip to Barcelona. We picked up my friend Erin, who graciously drove us to the airport in my mom-van and took Lorelei and Addie back to her house for a few days. We flew Ryanair for the first time out of Venice. Ryanair is like the Southwest Airlines of Europe, with cheap fares – so long as you are not hoping for any luxury or even basic services. Everything costs extra, from checking a bag, reserving a specific seat on the plane, or even getting some water during your flight. However, our flights were really cheap, and since it was just Anya and I on a 2 hour flight, we were perfectly fine with it. Anya was so excited on our flight, almost as if she has never flown before.
We landed in Barcelona, got our info from the tourist booth at the airport, and caught an Aerbus into the city. However, we were so busy looking out the windows at the city that we missed our stop. And the adventure begins, right? 🙂 We got off at the next stop and hoofed it a little further than planned to our hotel. I booked us a good hotel, close to a metro stop, and we were pretty pleased with our room. We immediately dropped off our bag and got right on the metro to go explore. On our first day, we walked Las Ramblas, a boulevard with a market, multiple stores, and a great place to people watch. Anya loved the performance artists who were posed as statues. She and I were arguing about whether one was a statue when it suddenly grabbed an unsuspecting person walking by. I’ve seen these before, but the ones here were creepy, dressed as dragons or monstrous figures. We also took in some shopping, of course. I eyed a large Sephora from a block away – of course, we had to go there. Anya is now in love with the store. We tried makeup and lotions, and we bought some nail polish and makeup that we tried on each other later at our hotel. We ate dinner, walked around the city some more, and got back to our hotel for makeovers, a snack we picked up, and for bed so we could get up early and see the rest of Barcelona.
The next day, we took a tourist bus – one of those hop-on, hop-off buses that take you all over the city. It was €37 for both of us, and it was worth the money. We saw almost everything that there is to see, tourist wise, and we were able to get off when we wanted and get right back on. In Barcelona, it runs from 9:00am-9:00pm everyday, and you can catch a bus at a stop usually every 10-20 minutes. There are two lines that run, but with one ticket you can change lines and routes. We at least saw all the sights, stopped at as many as we could, and were exhausted by the end of the day! Anya’s favorite was the Telèfuric de Montjuic, the funicular that you can take up to the top of Montjuic. It costs €9 for an adult roundtrip ticket, so it was not the cheapest ride. However, it was something that she really wanted to do. My favorite stop was Park Güell, a beautiful, peaceful park designed by Gaudi. There were so many mosaics statues and figures to see, and the layout and greenery of the park was amazing. I’m putting a few pictures in this post, but I took over 100! There was so much to see, and the city was warm, beautiful, and friendly.
While in Barcelona, Anya and I used various means of transportation – the metro, buses, and taxis. The only one we did not use was the train! We also walked a lot, which we really enjoyed. Europeans walk everywhere. We ate so much delicious food, and Anya was even willing to try some Spanish cuisine. I love tapas, so I was psyched to eat at a real tapas bar. We also stopped at a Starbucks to get my Barcelona mug for my Starbucks mug collection – and I made the mistake of letting Anya try my non-fat, no whip, extra shot mocha. She loved it, then wouldn’t stop talking for an hour. I spoke so much Spanish that I did not even realized I remembered. I took 4 years of it in high school and another semester in college, but after all that I never really used it. It helps when I’m trying to speak Italian, since they are close. But when we were out and about, I found the words just flowing our of my mouth when conversing with people. It amazed me! Finally, we witnessed a protest in the airport on our way back. We were lucky to get a taxi to the airport, since Barcelona was having a strike on general transportation the day we were leaving. When we got to the airport, it was deserted, which is the opposite of how it looked the day we arrived. While waiting to check-in, a protest came into the airport and started shouting and chanting, all with police surrounding them. Anya watched with shock, and I tried to snap a picture. I’ve never seen a protest up close, let alone a protest in another country! Luckily, we made it out of the city – not only was ground transportation on strike, but many flights were canceled too!
All in all, we loved the city -and we were so happy that could go on the trip together! I know that Andy was worried about us being in another country alone, so I thank him for the support and for keeping his worries to himself! I thank Erin too for keeping the little girls. I never worried about them when I was gone since they were with her, and Lorelei and Addie had a such a good time at her house for a few days. Finally, I am thankful that we did this trip because it reminds me how capable I really am. I know that I am smart, that I am a good wife and mother, and that I can take care of our family. But doing something like this – traveling to another country, navigating and speaking there, and exploring. For some people, this would not be a big deal, and I usually do not think it is either. But in this situation, it only reminds me that I can do more than I give myself credit for. So I left Barcelona with a head and camera full of memories, 5 extra pounds of Spanish food in my belly, and a feeling of accomplishment.
Since we got home, I have done tons of laundry, spent time with Emma who was in a kennel while we were gone, and tried to spend time with Lorelei and Addie. Life has to go back to normal, but I really enjoyed my little reprieve. I’m already trying to plan our next adventure, trying to save our money to do a big trip when Andy comes back. Anya and Lorelei have spring break coming up, and I’m thinking we could do a day trip somewhere – any ideas?