We piggybacked on our friend Sydney and Jeff's trip to Barcelona. That was a good idea.
We almost didn't make it there because a snow storm rolled in and it was the biggest snow storm I have seen in Germany. Our drive to Frankfurt airport was almost double the normal time and we saw at least a dozen semis completely stopped in the middle of the autobahn because they could not get traction to make it up the hills. We were so happy that we made it to our flight on time and that it wasn't cancelled.
We arrived to Barcelona in the afternoon and were STARVING. After we checked into our apartment for the weekend we hit up a pulperia which is an octopus tapas bar. That kicked off something that we have never done before. We found a way to eat at that restaurant every one of the four days that we were in Barcelona.
After our bellies were filled we really wanted to see the ocean so we strolled down multiple pedestrian friendly streets to the oceanside. I haven't been to another city that was quite so pedestrian friendly. There was a little corner store where we picked up some wine and cups and enjoyed the sunset looking over the beach. We also happened to meet two guys traveling who were from England and Italy. We spent the evening bar/restaurant hopping with them and enjoying craft brew on the beach.
This is how they collect trash in the district with all the walking streets.
The next morning Quinn got in a run and Ethan and I slept in a bit. Our day started off with a visit to the Boqueria Market for breakfast.
Along the way we strolled along the Ramblas and stopped off at the Barcelona Cathedral which had an incredible number of chapels. I have never seen quite so many in one church.
Next up we strolled around the park near our house and passed an enormous fountain/monument with horses and a chariot perched at the top. The park was beautiful and bustling. Everyone was enjoying the sunshine.
We kicked back for an afternoon chai tea inside of a swanky coffee house to await the arrival of our friends Jeff and Sidney. WOOT WOOT. We joined them for some wine and then set out for more adventuring and gawking at the architecture.
Quinn and Jeff unknowingly dressed the same for our first night out and had quite a laugh over it. We eventually returned to the ocean for sunset, and repeated our night much the same with hopping from one tapas joint to another for most of the night.
Somehow we ended up eating quite a variety of food in Barcelona. Not only do they have delicious tapas, but there was a ramen shop (Japanese), empanadas (Argentinian), and this delicious torte that the boys devoured late one night. I think we ate at 5 different places before we ended up back at the octopus bar for yet another treat. There are no pictures to capture what happened late into the night, but we may have made it to bed only narrowly missing sunrise.
In a rare state of vulnerability, Jeff revealed his magic potion for his awesome manliness. The secret is Bvlgari Man in Black.
We managed to get out and explore the city under another day of perfect sunshine, and devoted our time to seeing some of Gaudi's most famous buildings. The city was really alive with people, especially in the parks and esplanades. The promenade approaching the Arc de Triomf is filled with street performers and children chasing bubbles.
La Sagrada Familia is a church still under construction after multiple generations. It has been built by multiple families and each architect puts their own spin on making it into a mishmash of styles and ideas.
At La Sagrada Familia, Quinn was more preoccupied with taking pictures of people taking pictures than actually capturing the church itself, but sometimes people watching is the main attraction. Check out the guy in black with the steel tipped dress shoes. Notable was the women who was so captivated by a shop window that she stopped mid-run to take a photo and call a friend about it but continued to run in place the entire time.
Every corner and street in Barcelona is a surprise, with flourishes of artwork and design at every turn.
Beyond just eating and drinking, there is a hint of history as well. These steps near the Cathedral known as the Placa del Rei mark the place where Christopher Columbus was received after his discovery voyage to America.
Of course our night wouldn't be complete without another trip to the Pulperia Tapas Bar.
Though our night was only beginning. For the second night in a row, we visited the best gin bar in the city, and possibly the best we have ever been to. They have 90 infused gins, and dozens of other popular gins if you want something more standard. We decided to try a flight of gins, matched with tonic, and they ranged from interesting to downright disgusting. Nobody had any notion that Roquefort cheese would be good, but it was even worse than any of us were prepared for. Quinn also ended up doing shots with a study abroad student from Madison.
Gin and tonic paired with Sidney and Jeff is a recipe for one hell of a good time, and these pictures are all you need to understand.
Monday was our last day, and we hit up the Park Guell before we left town. You can read about it online, but it is another Gaudi hotspot and is known for El Drac, which is actually a statue of a salamander. Some of the shapes in the park are a mix of Dr. Seuss and Willy Wonka's factory.
Graffiti abounds in most cities, but it seems to be taken quite seriously in Barcelona. True artists work to create murals on many of the shop rollup doors and alleyways.
We couldn't have asked for better food, weather, or travel partners on this trip. It was an incredible time!