hola, barcelona!

At this point in our trip, we were a week and a half in and decided we needed more time. More time to explore, to lay on the beach and weren’t ready to head home in just three short days.

Initially, we were headed to Pamplona from Biarritz but luckily we cut out that city and focused on just hitting Barcelona for the remaining trip. Four cities in two weeks was the perfect amount we thought – slightly a little too aggressive - but I’d say three cities in two weeks is the perfect time, averaging about 4 days in each city.
We arrived in Barcelona very late, found our flat complete with a rooftop deck in Las Ramblas, lugged our suitcases up a narrow four flights of stairs and needed beers. Stat. We toasted to our last city on this awesome European adventure over some pizza and were ready to take on the city of Barcelona the next day.

Or so we thought…

Like we did in each city, we narrowed down our sights and set off to the La Sagrada Familia fairly early in the morning. The vibe was all wrong when we set out to Las Ramblas from what we were used to in Biarritz. We came from a relaxed beach town and felt like we were in the middle of Times Square on New Years as we exited our alley into Las Ramblas. It. Was. Nuts.

There were double decker tour buses everywhere and people following you all over to sell trinkets. It was too much all at once. The line at La Sagrada Familia was too long for us so we went to the Gaudi Parc instead and with one walk through the area, we subconsciously knew this wasn’t our day to be tourists.  We stopped, looked at each other as peddlers raced by us to avoid the police and all said some form of “This is too much right now. We need a rooftop pool with a view and bar like now.”

We discovered the most fabulous sangrias at this quaint little cafĂ© and plotted our return to France. We needed to go back but we paid for the flat already. We didn’t care and wanted to be back Biarritz. Barcelona wasn’t for us. Get us outta here!

When we found our happy place
After the second sangria about the size of our heads, we decided that we would stay, find the nearest W hotel for the next day’s adventure.

experiencing what the Mediterranean sea has to offer
After spending a day basking in the sun, I convinced my travel partners to give the Sagrada Familia another try and wait in an hour line. Luckily for us, we had two things on our side – it wasn’t too hot yet and the line was ONLY an hour long.
Peek inside and out of the Sagrada Familia construction

This church was stunning. Absolutely stunning from every corner you looked there was something new – the light streamed in different from angles around and the outside was as magnificent as the inside. AND the kicker – it’s not done yet. They are literally still finishing Guadi’s vision so you can watch their work on the towers as you wait in the line that wraps around the whole church.

Even though this trip was three months ago, it feels like we were just boarding the plane for Paris and I remembered I forgot the rail tickets on my counter midway through our flight. We have thrown out ideas for our next trip but unfortunately the next European adventure may have to wait to 2015.

In 2014, we may settle for a two five day trips to a beach and vineyards because after all, this trip reinforced that I can’t get enough of the world’s beaches and wine. So a second trip to Sonoma/Napa and San Francisco to test our knowledge we learned from our very patient tour guide, Mathieu, in Bordeaux.

Where do I want to go next?
  • London, Ireland, Scotland
  • Italy, Greece and Croatia
  • Road trip across the US – rent a Jeep and spend time hitting cities on our way and end in Tahoe or Seattle and fly back home

Instead of those European destinations, my family and I booked a North Carolina beach vacation this summer. It’s been almost 10 years since my extended family and I have been back to Corolla and this time we have few new younger faces joining the beach house for the week.

Celebrating July 4th in Corolla circa 2001

Disclosure – If you are looking to book a vacation, we used Nicole at Paul Klein travel to book all of our hotels, trains and life-changing wine tour in Bordeaux


Fizzgig said...

I still cannot believe this vacation, and I didn't even go...are you still re-living every moment? I cannot imagine! Such an amazing trip!! I'd love to see the mediterranean!

jen g said...

you should have done barcelona in the beginning and ended with biarritz, but you live and you learn. i recommend guanajuato mexico for a trip too...mexico as a country has become more safe and is very economical to travel.

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