Beautiful Barcelona

After a horrendous 17 hour journey, we were in Barcelona, one of my all time favourite cities (out of Italy and Australia!).  It has been ten years between visits to this city and I was looking forward to getting reacquainted with this great place.

We stayed in two hotels in Barcelona, the first one was Cuitat Vella on Tallers 66, just near La Ramblas, where we stayed for three nights.  The hotel was 3-star and almost brand new.  And we get free bottled water, as much as we want! Yay!  Our triple room for Hubs, Madeline her mother, and myself was too small.  We were forever tripping over ourselves.  The shower was fantastic and the bathrooms lovely and new.

We were all dead on our first day – too tired from over night travel without any sleep.   I had three hours to kill before Hubs and her mum Madeline arrived from the airport, and I couldn’t sleep because our hotel room wasn’t ready.  I went for a walk along La Ramblas and the memories of my previous trips to Barcelona came flooding back. It was just how I remembered!  I had a delicious coffee with chocolate mousse at the famous Cafe de L’Opera on La Ramblas – oh how I’ve missed good coffee!!  I bought some fridge magnets to add to my ever growing collection, and had a look in a few shops. I was LOVING being back in Europe. 

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When Hubs and Madeline arrived, we all went for a walk and found a restaurant / tapas bar off La Ramblas and had some lunch Aaka Dinay on carrer Petxina.  Delicious selection of tapas – spanish omelette, baby octopus, garlic prawns, bread with rubbed tomato and a prawn and mango salad.  YUM! 

For dinner, Madeline decided to stay at the hotel and sleep.  Hubs and I went for a big walk around the Gothic quarter before deciding to eat at a restaurant on La Ramblas.  We knew it was touristy, but we both fancied sitting somewhere lively and watching the world go past.  We shared paella and it was ok, not rubbish and not award winning. 

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Day two was a big sight-seeing day on the tourist bus. We went everywhere – all over the city. We chose to get off at the Park Guella – Gaudi’s famous park.  It was lovely and Madeline really enjoyed it.  We also caught the bus to the beaches to check them out – the city beaches didn’t exist last time I was in Barcelona.  They were nice and we made a plan to spend at least one day at the beach.  The port was really nice too with loads of shops and nice walk way to get there.   Barcelona is really a beautiful city and we loved the sightseeing.

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For dinner, we walked around a bit and couldn’t decide where to eat, so we went back to where we had lunch, Aaka Dinya.  Hubs and Madeline had paella and I had veal.  Both our meals were really tasty.

Day three was dedicated to my favourite sport, shopping!  We caught the metro to Diagonal Mar, a big shopping complex in the financial district.  I didn’t buy too much, but did get some essential items – a pair of cotton cargo pants, a sports t-shirt, and an impractical pair of cool white light cargo style pants.  They were so cheap and look good – and as Hubs said, I’d keep them clean.  Hubba got a good deal on a pair of Geox shoes, great for walking, and Madeline bought a present for someone back home.   We were worn out after shopping and needed a siesta. 

Maybe it’s been ten years since I’ve been to Barcelona – and I still remember the name of a restaurant I had an unbelievable meal in – Irati.   I looked up the name on trip advisor and was delighted to find it still exists and even more delighted to find that it had a very good rating on the website.  That’s where we went for tapas, Irati on cadenal Casanas, 17 – and it was delicious!  It’s only a small narrow place but it’s always packed and it has a small restaurant out the back.  We decided to go there to have dinner one night, maybe on Madeline’s birthday on 14th Aug.

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Day four was when we had to move hotels and checked into Hotel Atlantis, around the corner from where we were.  As we suspected, our room wasn’t ready, but we had prepared for that and off we went to the beach.  The beach was easy to get to, only a few stops on the metro, and it was lovely to lie out in the sun again and swim in the Med.  We had a yummy lunch by the beach, seafood of course, in the afternoon.

Dinner was in Picasso’s first studio – which is now a restaurant called Classic Gotic, on carrer de la Plata in the Gothic Quarter (Merce area). I was excited to be eating there as this is the restaurant my spanish dive instructor in Dahab told me to go to.  Yay! We found it and were about to have a nice meal.  For the occasion I ordered a bottle of house cava, or Spanish champagne, and was delighted that Madeline was enthusiastic about sharing it with me. Hubs doesn’t drink and I was happy someone else was with us so I could share a bottle!

Roast pork ribs served with vegetables was dinner and mine was delicious!  The meat fell off the bone and was very tender and tasty.  At less than 9 euro, it was cheap too.  Happy days.

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Our last two days in Barca (as the football team is affectionately known as – Barsa), were spent doing whatever we wanted. I had my legs waxed standing up – a world first for me.  She used sugar instead of wax and it took ten minutes – with good results. At 11 euro, I was stoked – cheaper than back home.  I also went to the post office, did some shopping, etc etc.  I bought the coolest shoes!  Vespa adidas Italian runners!  I love them!

It was a nice relaxing day. Hubs and Madeline went shopping too and they had a great day together.

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Finally we had tickets to the traditional Flamenco dancing show on at Cordobes, supposedly the best flamenco dancing show in the city.  At 37 euro each, my expectations were quite high.  The show was good, the dancing done with proper vigour and a lot of passion, but some how, it didn’t meet my expectations and I couldn’t help but feel a tad disappointed.   Madeline enjoyed herself and I was really happy she had.  She was also over the moon because she found some Dr Scholl shoes she loved, that are super comfy, and on sale!  Three ticks from Madeline! Style, comfort, and a bargain!

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It rained!! First time I have seen rain in a couple of months!  I am never happy when it rains, but it was nice that the city was washed, so to speak.  We found a little tapas restaurant on our way back to the hotel and didn’t have much – some olives, prosciutto like ham, and some bread with tomato. That was enough for us.

Our last day in Europe – Madeline’s birthday.  I was boring and went to the post office, did some washing, and a spot of shopping in between.  Madeline and Hubs did some sightseeing and caught the cable car to a nice park.  They had a great day!  Tonight is dinner at Irati and I can’t wait!!

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Tomorrow nice and early, we fly to Quito in South America!!  A new continent, a new country, and new adventures await! Hurrah!

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