Hola loyal followers and newcomers! This may be a little different from the normal posts because Carol’s granddaughter, Maddie, is going to be writing it instead. My grandma and I are currently riding a train through the Spanish countryside on our way from Barcelona to Seville. How did we get here you may ask? Well it all started a couple of years ago when Carol announced her plan to take her grandchildren on individual trips when they turned 16. As I am the first one to reach that mark, we were both nervous and excited for how it would turn out. I picked to travel to Spain because it has a little of everything; art, history, nature, food, and much more. If anyone is trying to think of travel destinations, make Spain at the top of your list.
Our trip started five days ago on Wednesday night when we flew out of Boston airport, connecting in London, and finally landing in Barcelona. After we landed, we checked in to our supper cute apartment and then wandered around the city, stopping at the famed La Boqueria outdoor market for food of every kind.
If you are up for it, I would definitely recommend staying in an apartment instead of a hotel when you travel because you get more of an authentic and private experience. We skipped out on the classic Spanish dinner that night which entails staying up until about 10 pm, instead falling asleep around 8.
We woke up on Friday to an overcast sky and expectations of rain, but got up anyway to go on our most expansive day of touring. We had previously bought the Barcelona Pass, which I gives you free entrance to many attractions and a day of riding the hop on and off tour bus. We had some trouble picking up our passes in the morning but eventually we were speeding off towards our first attraction of the day. Sagrada Familia is like nothing you have ever seen and pictures can hardly do it justice.
The bus brought us to Park Guell where we wandered around, taking in the gorgeous scenery. We bought tickets to access the more exclusive part of the part with more of Gaudí’s architecture which also allowed us a great view of Barcelona. Of course it promptly began to pour upon arrival so we were stuck walking around in the rain but it was worth it.
After, we took a tour of the famous Camp Nou, which is home to the fútbol team F.C. Barcelona. The last attraction of the day was Casa Batllo, also by Gaudí. The house was an array of colors and patterns, with barely a straight line among them.
The roof also provided us a great view of the city below.
We finally got home around 6, but the day was not over yet. Carol’s cousin’s daughter, Margot, lives in Barcelona so we met her for dinner for some traditional tapas, which are like appetizers that you eat for dinner. We returned home at 11, exhausted, and fell asleep immediately.
It had never been so hard to wake up as it was Saturday morning. We crawled out of bed to see another rainy day, and reluctantly left our house to get a metro to the ocean. Except for the bus on Thursday, the metro was our main source of transportation as Barcelona has a great metro system. When we got to the harbor, we saw the Columbus Monument towering over us, against a backdrop of the ocean.
As the rain came harder, we decided to escape for a while and take a boat ride around the harbor. The ride was a nice break from the rain, but the waves were so big that you had to stay in your seat and many passengers felt sick. After, it was still raining hard so we went into the Barcelona Aquarium to walk through the famous tank tunnel.
After lunch, the rain had stopped so we took a walk through Ciutadella Park to see the fountain there and the Arc de Triomf.
It was very peaceful and beautiful and allowed you a walk through the scenic Gothic Quarter of Barcelona.
No late dinner tonight as we went to sleep almost as soon as we got home.
We set our alarms for the next morning as we had a train to catch. This one took us an hour outside of Barcelona to the gorgeous mountain of Montserrat and the famous monastery there. The crowded train dropped us off at the bottom of the mountain where we had to take a bright yellow cable car up much higher than either of us were comfortable with.
The view was worth it though and the monastery was amazing. There are many tourists there so if you want some quiet and have more time, there are many hiking trials around the picturesque mountain.
The train dropped us off back in Barcelona where we could see people dispersing from a public protest that had taken place that day. They were all wearing yellow or the Catalan flag as the protest was about Catalonia becoming its own country which the Spanish government has forbade. Everyone was laughing and in high spirits while they boarded their buses and trains home, as people came from all over for this protest which contained over 300,000 people.
We then made our way up to the green hill of Montjuïc where we took another cable car to the top. We were able to explore the castle at the top of the hill which provided us with a fantastic view of all of Barcelona.
We went home for a little bit to then go out to dinner in the best paella place in all of the Gracia district of Barcelona, Xátiva. Carol and I got two different types and we can definitely say that it lived up to the hype.
We went to sleep with our bellies full of paella and set our alarms to catch the train that is now taking us from Barcelona to new experiences in Seville.