Thursday, July 9, 2015

Barcelona!! Tapas, sangria and naked beaches... (aka, the 1 year anniversary trip!)

Sorry it's been so long! Been a bit busy but no excuses, I gotta fill you in on a few trips! So the big surprise for our 1 year anniversary trip was to Barcelona! I figured it was either Greece (which not sure if we should have gone to Greece then...or now! They need to get their sh$t together down there!)or Barcelon, and Barcelona is was! And it was amazing! Any time I get to be near water and palm trees, I'm winning! It was my first time to Spain, and Dick's second time. He had been to Spain way back in the day when he was about 15 years old. So this time was a blast for him as we got to check out some places he saw last time he was there.

We Airbnb'd it again (I should seriously look into getting them to sponsor this blog, we use them ALL the time!) It was a great location, in the Gothic district, pretty close to the water, actually it was a three block walk to the water front! Amazing restaurants and activity. We did go out for our anniversary dinner, which was hilarious because we so did NOT understand the waiter or the menu. I'll get into that in a bit!

We flew Ryan Air there and then Vueling on the way back. Both are economy airlines, not a lot of space for long legged peeps. With that said, pay the extra for the "extra leg room" seats. It'll be worth it. At least the flight wasn't too long, we managed :) We did get delayed in Berlin, which made us late for our Tapas tour. We were able to reach out to our contact with the Tapas tour and they were great! We met up with our tour guide and two other guests on the tour once we cleaned up and got out the door once we got to our Airbnb place.
View from our balcony in the Gothic district in Barcelona

We really didn't know what the hell tapas were until we got to Barcelona and took the tour, super glad we did that because it really gave us a chance to see where some things were for the next 3 days all while eating and drinking our way through the main parts of Barcelona! We initially met up with our guide at the La Boqueria Market, and seriously, that has been the coolest market we've been to yet! There are different sections of the market for fish, meat, cheese, veggies and even candy! Shout out to my girl KT-you would have died and gone to candy heaven!! It was awesome though, we eventually went back there the next day for fresh shucked oysters and champagne!  On the tour, we got to try around 8-10 different tapas and learned really that they are small plates to share between friends and they can be served hot or cold. Basically, they're ridiculously delicious! Olives, calamari, meats, name it, it's a type of tapas! We also stopped by a chocolate shop to try different types of nougat and chocolates, ah-mazing!

On our Tapas tour through Barcelona!

La Boqueria Market


Couple of other places we had to stop and see, the beach, La Sagrada Familia and the gorgeous Montserrat Monastery. If you make it to Barcelona, you HAVE to see both La Sagrada Familia and Montserrat. The beach was a trip too. Little did we know, due to not researching but who researches everything, that they have nude beaches in Barcelona. Yea, 100% nude. There are things that can't be unseen. That's all I'm saying. LOL (I swear this move over here has really made me feel like a huge prude! Or at minimum, has made my eyes open up to the idea that nudity in public is so not a big deal, well over here anyways.) So yea, imagine this....walking down the beach walk, looking to your left, you see an old man bent over. Sorry. Yea, that happened. (I'm still giggling!)

So on our travels so far, we've seen a TON of churches, but nothing has compared to La Sagrada Familia. It has got to be one of the most amazing places on the planet. They started building this church (created by Antoni Gaudi) back in 1882! It's STILL being worked on! When Gaudi died, they say that only 25% was completed, I think they said they hope to have it completed around 2025? (I could be wrong but I think it's close!) It's just an amazing building. Do the audio tour on our own, that way you can walk through at your own pace and take your time. We went in the last afternoon and the sun coming through the stained glass windows was breath taking. I probably could have sat there for hours just looking at the architecture and windows. It's a pretty popular place though, too many people milling around to sit quietly. If you look through the plexi-glass to the basement you'll be able to see Gaudi's tomb, as he was buried there on site. That wasn't available to walk down to see but cool to know!

The Montserrat Monastery! We hopped on a 1/2 day tour to this place in Catalonia, Spain. It's a religious retreat about an hour out form Barcelona and it's absolutely gorgeous. Granted, I was a bit crabby when we were headed out there, not enough sleep. (If you know me at all, this is was in full effect that day!) However, it ended up being an awesome experience. We hiked up a trail that was 30 minutes to the furthest point out St. Michael's Cross which had amazing views. Then a 30 minute hike back to the basilica for Sunday 11a mass where they literally have Monks' singing. The church was packed so we didn't stay long but it was pretty cool to see in person. Like I said, churches errrrwhere! What else that was really neat were the small farm stands that were set up on the walk out of the monastery, selling goat and sheep's cheese, home made honey and chocolates. So delicious!

The last part of our trip was our anniversary dinner at this great little seafood restaurant right off the beach. It had a great, fresh fish and seafood in this monster case! Funny thing though, we could NOT understand the server, the table next to us helped us out (yay!) but what we didn't know was that in their seafood restaurants, the food comes cold and no sides what so ever. No drawn butter. Nothing! So we paid a lot of money for cold crab (I mean, it was still good!) but we ended up eating again later that night! All in all, it was a fun experience. One of the best parts was finding a great little bar, right down the alley way from our place. Excellent Sangria and a phenomenal bartender! We would grab our spot outside and just people watch. It's amazing to see kids still up at like 11p at night at the park, while parents just sat at the tables, drinking sangria. Don't those kiddos have bed times??

I can't forget to mention that we found THE best breakfast joint in Barcelona. We usually try to find a little grocery store when we use an Airbnb rental and just make breakfast there and hit the city but we found this awesome place called Milk. Unreal food. If you use the Trip Advisor app (which you should, because it's unbelievably helpful! And I'm sure it would be in the States.) but we found it via that app and it's MONEY. Search it out if you go, it's worth it. And they had Bloody Mary's! As a girl from Wisconsin, I'm always looking for a piece of home so this was definitely interesting. It wasn't to bad actually, a bit heavy on the salty side, but still good! Also give the Eggs Benedict a try. Seriously. :)  (Now I wanna go back!)

Saw this little gem on the way to Milk, cracked us up!

The Bloody!
It was a wonderful trip! I can't wait to go back to Spain to hit up different areas! a 3 1/2 day trip isn't enough time but it fun to see how much you can cram in. Don't forget to walk down La Rambla!! It's the main shopping and touristy street in Barcelona! You can pretty much find anything you're looking for there, plus see street artists and flower stands galore! Plus the bars/restaurants lining the way are all great to stop off at for a quick bite.

Next blog is on our trip to Vienna and Bratislava, Slovakia! And it's full of crazy sh$t! Stay tuned and as always, thanks for reading :) #ciao #notfromaroundhere

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