Browsing Tag

barcelona sights

1 In travel

Barcelonian beauty


Our apartment on el Born was super centrally located in Barcelona, and the perfect base for running all over the city and getting to the different places we wanted to visit. But the Gothic Quarter was truly beautiful in its own right, and I loved making it our home away from home.


Being right in el Barrí Gòtic meant that we walked around a corner and ran straight into the Barcelona Catedral. Stunning does not even begin to capture the vision.  The detailing on the cathedral was so intricate, it was mesmerizing- like the most beautiful hand-tooled lace. I swear, I was more interested in Christian houses of worship on this trip than I’ve ever been before or since! 



As we walked through our neighborhood, I kept exclaiming over one pretty detail after another.  I was obsessed with the flowers and the wrought iron,  not to mention those quatrefoil sidewalks.  In typical blogger style, I get excited over gorgeous doorways. I hate being so basic but I can’t help it when they are this pretty!




I make a point of visiting parks and community spaces when we travel, and nearby Parc de la Ciutadella was no exception. It was the perfect place to sit and soak in the sunshine for a bit, to plan our next activity or rest our feet.


Walking between nearby buildings, we came across a little courtyard. We’d sometimes sit for a moment there, and enjoy watching the world go by. One day it was occupied by by some Spanish children and a gentleman with bubbles. Like kids the world over, they were pretty cute, and an audience gathered to watch them frolic.


We made sure to go walking down by the Balearic Sea. Barceloneta along the water was so beautiful, and the docks were filled with sailboats.  The breeze was brisk and the weather was too cool for beaching and sunbathing, but we still reveled in the salt air.


We’d planned to check out Sant Pau Recinte, but arrived to find they were closed for a private event.  I’d heard raves about the interior architecture and gardens of this former hospital, so I was disappointed to miss out on those. But we enjoyed the beautiful exterior and made the most of it.


 While touristing, we made a spontaneous executive decision to skip Palau Guell. The afternoon line seemed longer than reasonable and we’d walked our feet sore, so we decided to prioritize happy hour. We grabbed a few quick pictures and headed for siesta time at home.



A little leisure time was perfect, because we had amazing dinner reservations that night.  Get excited, because details on that’s up next…



0 In travel

la sagrada familia


This is one of those times where no matter how gorgeous the photo, it is impossible to do the insane beauty of this place justice.


The size and scope of the church from outside, and sheer quantity of artwork within, is really simply beyond.  More than once, I looked up and found myself completely awed.


 We had one or two people advise us to skip the Sagrada Familia, or to only do an outside walk by. I can’t imagine feeling that way! Granted, it was crowded with tourist and school groups, and not exactly what I’d consider a peaceful place of worship.


But surrounded by rainbows of glorious morning sunshine streaming through all the stained glasswork, the hubbub seemed to fade.



It’s crazy to me that after 133 years, there is still 15 or 20 more of construction ahead, but I understand when I see how incredible it is, and it will be even more so when the scaffolding and curtains are removed.


It’s crystal clear to me how and why this is so renowned. It is gloriously beautiful, and seeing its growth towards completion is one of the (many) things I’m looking forward to about a return trip to Barcelona.


0 In travel

playing in park güell

Despite our choices of vacation destinations, we are no fans of crowds or lines, so we try to plan our best to limit the majority of that mess. Such was the case when we visited Parc Güell. Making reservations online was suggested, and I’m glad we did- we walked right in.  Choosing the 9 am time slot meant an early wakeup to walk and metro out to Carmel Hill, but it allowed us to enjoy the beauty of the park at peace for a little before crowds descended.


  I could have gazed over beautiful Barcelona forever, it seemed.


Without a doubt, Antoni Gaudi was a magician, especially with mosaic, and the planning team did an amazing job with the overall design of the park. Even the water fountains were beautiful!


 It was gloriously sunshiny, and the gardens were in bloom. I couldn’t help myself from frolicking- I was giddy!


 “I am the one who knocks.” Yeah, not quite as tough as Walter White. 


 As the resident staff photographer ?, David’s not often on the receiving side of a camera. Despite the tacky taste it left in my mouth at first, I got a selfie stick in hopes of snagging a few more pictures of us, rather than just me. As is typical, nonsense ensued.


Also, a major wtf? to the tourists recording their every step with a fully extended selfie stick! So not the intended usage, people. 


We left the park after a few hours of exploration, to walk down the steps and through Gracía, and immediately came across a beautiful stone chapel.



In Barcelona, beauty is all around- on the grandest and most humble of scales.




0 In travel

la boqueria: a foodie’s paradise


Our first morning in Barcelona, we grabbed a Spanish SIM card for my iPhone first thing, then walked to Mercat de la Boqueria to begin indulging in authentic Spanish cuisine. It was the perfect way to start our week of food and fun.

I’d heard tale of ‘cones of Spanish ham,’ and pork is hands-down my favorite protein. I was so excited to find them right at the front! Shopping while munching on luscious treats was simply glorious, and there was literally yummy snack after yummy snack.   I especially loved fresitas, tiny super-sweet wild strawberries.

 And once I realized it was perpetually happy hour, I was in heaven! Through the week, I got friendly with the sweets-and-sangria go-cup vendor. Leisurely day drinking is one of my vacation priorities, and Spain agrees with me.


I juice regularly at home, so went a little crazy at the 1€ fresh juice stands, trying tons of flavors. The pitahaya + coconut,  pineapple + passion fruit, guayaba, and kiwi strawberry were some of the standouts. I couldn’t help myself- I got at least one juice, usually multiple, every time we were there.


I also made a habit of visiting the nicest fishmonger. She had incredible ceviche,  and was happy to pry open ultrafresh oysters and sea urchin for me, so I was happy to oblige her by slurping them merrily down. I practically gorged myself on the most delicious (and inexpensive!) uni I’d ever come across.

Total first world mini-regret, but I wish we’d had more time in Barcelona simply so I could have done some serious cooking. Our apartment kitchen was spacious, and the raw foodstuffs at La Boqueria were so lush and varied, but we had so many amazing restaurants to try and things to do, I never served more than cava and pinxtos at home. But seriously- I dream of being able to do my grocery shopping here, with access to all that gorgeous seafood and artisan products.  


Slightly more seriously, I remain upset that US customs and my dear husband conspired against me- I desperately wanted a whole jamón iberico as a souvenir. David staunchly refused, spouting some sensible nonsense about rules and room (in our luggage), so I consoled myself with purchasing some amazing smoked pimentón to take home, and eating as much as I could while in Spain.

Honestly, we wound up at La Boqueria almost every day for a snack, a meal, or to pick up yummies for a picnic or our apartment. Wandering the market, we also had delicious paletas and croquettes, pastries and gelato, and more. All of the fruit was perfectly ripe, which made it so tempting and gratifying. And I had some positive feasts of cheese and charcuterie. We truly endeavored to eat everything in sight, and were pretty pleased with our showing.


 I always found new and delish things along with my established stops (ham, sangria, juice) and such great people-watching to boot! I didn’t even mention the amazing sit-down meals available at the tiny restaurants interspersed with the vendors;  I’ll share our meals at La Boqueria soon!



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