After a very long train ride from Paris, Rachel, Brennan and I arrived in Barcelona around 9PM. We took a taxi to our hotel by the beach, about 20 minutes from the train station. From the window of the backseat, I already knew we were going to love Barcelona. The tree lined streets, old buildings, and even the salty, humid air just felt right. We ate at the hotel that night and went to bed exhausted.
Tuesday morning, we had booked a food tour. Brennan woke up not feeling great, plus he had to figure out the flights for us to fly back to Ohio and be with our family. He ended up staying at the hotel and working incredibly hard to find the flights. It was a Herculean effort to get us back to the United States in 3 days, but he did it.
Rachel and I went and did the food tour, since it was her last day of the trip and we didn't want to miss out. We were able to sample Serrano ham, Iberian ham, and several kinds of cheese at the Santa Maria market. Our tour guide took past several places that he recommended and we stopped at an olive oil shop where we tried 7 different olive oils and balsalmic vinegar. Rachel bought some seasoning salts and soap and I bought a sampler of olive oil.
This was not my favorite food tour I have been on. It was a good introduction to the area, but we only sampled the meat, cheese, and olive oil. I was hoping to try more foods. One positive was the tour guide sent us a list of suggestions of places to try to eat, which we did later on!
We went back to the hotel to hang out and rest. Rachel and I were both tired, plus it was so hot! Barcelona is right on the water and rivals Florida for the humidity. It was sticky and warm, so we needed a break. Plus, we knew that evening we would be going on another tour.
We booked a tour through Airbnb Experiences for a 3 hour guided walking tour through the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. We were able to see a lot of the ancient parts of Barcelona, as well as the medieval and more modern structures that were built on top of them. Brennan tried to go with us, but still wasn't feeling good, so he ended up going back to the hotel.
We started the tour in an area called "Las Ramblas" and is similar to Times Square-lots of touristy restaurants, shops, and people. Rachel drank from the "magic fountain"-rumor is that if you drink from it, you will return to Barcelona.
This courtyard has been used in a lot of movies and is the site of a bombing from the Spanish civil war. Brennan and I had just seen Uncharted before we left Florida-they filmed in this courtyard!
The artwork on this building was a gift to the city of Barcelona from Pablo Picasso. Each part tells about some piece of Catalonian culture, which is very special to the city. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, which has a unique culture and language from the rest of Spain. On most signs, there are at least 2 languages, Spanish and Catalan.
This wall was created by collecting photos from people that signified freedom to them. Each tile is an individual photo and they create the mural together.
This is the Barcelona Cathedral. The advertisement on top of it is ridiculous, in my opinion, but the tour guide said it shows that Barcelona is not as religious as the rest of Spain. He said you would never find something like this on a church in other areas, but Barcelona needs the money to help with renovations and upkeep.
He also told us if you look at the windows, straight down from the point in the middle, you can see Darth Vader's outline in the stained glass.
This window below has stained glass of Ferdinand and Isabella-the Spanish king and queen who sent Christopher Columbus out to find a trade route to India. This area is the castle and representation of the monarchy in Barcelona.
It was SO HOT while we were on this tour. You can see in the pictures I started with my hair down and had to put it up by the end. It was just too sticky and humid, even with the sun mostly down. The best cure for heat is gelato! My favorite flavor to get is coconut, and I added a scoop of dark chocolate to it this time.
Rachel woke up on Wednesday and headed to the airport. I was sad for her to leave, but knew I would see her over the weekend. Brennan and I were supposed to go with her and fly to Faro, Portugal, but because of our change in plans, we stayed in Barcelona. We switched to a new hotel and then went out to explore. The metro system in Barcelona is very well connected and we were able to use it to get all over the city. Brennan really had not seen much because of feeling sick, so he was excited to walk around.
We walked through all the narrow streets. Barcelona has this enchanting quality about it, from the tree lined boulevards and balconies with detailed architecture. It's really just an amazing place to walk and look around.
The food tour guide told us about this restaurant near the beach. He said it was run by a family and they had great paella and sangria. He was correct! This was one of my favorite meals we ate over the whole summer!
We walked out to the water and explored a little more of the area near the beach before heading back to the hotel. We had a flight to catch in the morning!
We woke up on Thursday and flew back to the US. We were supposed to fly all the way to Ohio, but got stuck overnight in New York. Thankfully, we made it Friday morning and spent the weekend with our family and friends. It was not the way we planned to spend the weekend, but I'm so grateful that we have the flexibility and resources to get home when we need to be there. Family is the most important thing and being in Ohio with them was exactly what we needed.
We're Brennan & Megan
Since June 2022, we have been traveling to learn more about ourselves and the world around us.