Sunday, March 13, 2011

Barcelona, Spain, day 1 and 2


We left our house around 7am to head to the airport at Treviso.  We flew on Ryanair to Barcelona, which was about an hour and a half flight.  Abbie did pretty well, except for the last 10 minutes where she COMPLETELY lost it.  She didn’t have her own seat and we were all cramped and tired of being on the plane by that point.  My ears were killing me, yet again, just like the did on the way to and from Amsterdam in December.  I’m not sure why I always get congested right before flights, but I do, and it makes them miserable.  Anyone know how to prevent/fix really bad ear pain during flights?  The flight here made me very nervous for the 12.5 hour flight back to the States with Abbie, when I’ll be by myself.  She’s a good traveler, but that’s a REALLY long time for an almost 2 year old to stay in an area the size of a plane seat.  Oh well.  We’ll make it.  I hope. =)

(Abbie playing with her toys before our flight.)IMG_3076

We got to Barcelona around 12:30pm and it took us until almost 3pm to get to our apartment via a train and then the metro system.  We were looking to put Abbie down for her nap (an hour late), but of course, the apartment didn’t have the crib here that they promised us.  BIG grrr!!  I wasn’t happy, to say the least.  So Mark and I jimmy rigged 3 single bed mattresses to make a crib for her, and that worked okay.

It was raining when we got here, but we still wanted to get out and about and see some of the city, so we walked a few block to the Gaudi cathedral to check it out and to find a place that sold a map.  (I didn’t take pictures then because I didn’t want to get either of my cameras wet.)  Then we hopped on the metro and headed over to the Montjuic area to check out the Font Magica.  It’s a big fountain that plays music along with a water and light show in front of this castle looking thing.  (I have to do more research on that because I’m not sure what it was.)  It was still raining a lot, but the water and light show was pretty neat.



After the water show we took the metro back to La Sagrada Familia (the Gaudi cathedral) and ate dinner at a KFC right across the street.  Not exactly what we wanted but it was quick and easy since it was after 8pm by then and we needed to get Abbie home and in bed.

(Here’s a pictures of the Gaudi cathedral taken from the doorway of KFC.)IMG_3126

On our way back on the metro Mark noticed a few suspicious people following us.  He said they followed us for a while on the metro and there were 3 guys at different parts of the car on the metro but they were communicating with each other.  They got off the metro when we did and then followed us to the next metro we were getting on, but I guess he made it clear to them he was on to them so they didn’t get on the second one.  As soon as the doors closed on the 2nd metro this older lady came up and warned us (in Spanish) of pick-pockets.  I had no clue what she was saying, but Mark understood her because he’d already seen them anyway.  I thought that was nice of her to tell us.  He also noticed guys following us today in the metro system again.  Both times I’ve been completely clueless, but today he apparently slowed us down while this guy was walking right behind him to the side a little bit, and the guy slowed down, but then realized he looked suspicious and then pulled out his phone.  At that point we turned and went down a staircase and this guy did a circle and followed us down to the metro stop.  He kept eyeing Mark, which Mark obviously saw, and then went back up the staircase, and then came back down the staircase, but didn’t get on the train when it came.  We definitely look like tourists, especially today because we had the big camera out and I was wearing Abbie and Mark was wearing the backpack and the camera.  But we have all our valuables in inside pockets and Mark clasps the backpack straps over the camera strap so there’s no way someone could try to grab it and run.  There are quite a few police monitoring the metro system, and most of them have big dogs along with them, so pick-pockets are a big problem here.  Having Mark with me, and so in-tuned to what’s going on around us makes me feel safe though.  I told him to tell me next time he notices one so I can see them too.

(Metro police with their dog.)IMG_1210

(Me carrying Abbie through the metro tunnels.)



I think today might be our only really nice day (not raining) while we’re here, so we tried to get pictures of quite a few places while the weather was nice.

(La Sagrada Familia)IMG_1179

(I think I took pictures of 4-5 different groups in front of the church and one of them returned the favor for us.)


(This guy and his little dog were entertaining the crowds)IMG_1207

Next we headed down to the waterfront area.  There were quite a few marinas there and we saw many HUGE yachts.  There were also TONS of runners and people walking dogs and people riding bikes.  The waterfront area seemed to be full of activity, but it was still a relaxing atmosphere.


As we were walking along the waterfront by the marinas, we started to hear drums, so we followed the sound and came across a parade.  I have no clue what it was for, but it was a bunch of drum and bugle groups along with people in crazy costumes.  Abbie enjoyed watching all the commotion.


Barcelona has a really nice boardwalk along the beach.  Again, it was full of runners and dogs.  There seems to be an abundance of dogs in Barcelona, and it was fun to watch them playing on the beach and walking or running with their owners.


(I really want to rent one of these bikes since these rental stations are all over the place, but we’re not sure how safe it would be for Abbie to ride while strapped to one of us.  But it looks fun!)IMG_1385

(I think this is supposed to be a sculpture of a fish.)IMG_1394


(There were lots of little acts along the boardwalk and this guy was making this skeleton puppet dance.  We saw this little dog come up and he was really eyeing the puppet from a distance and slowly got closer and closer.  He sniffed it a few times and then ran to catch up with his owners.  It was pretty funny!)IMG_1399

(I was intrigued by this couple.  They seemed to really be enjoying each others company.  I wonder what Mark and I will be like when we’re their age?)IMG_1417

(Abbie had fun “jumping” from bench to bench.  That was definitely my work out for the day.  There are a LOT of benches along that boardwalk!)IMG_1445IMG_1476

After Abbie’s nap we decided to check out the “La Rambla” area.  It’s a big pedestrian street with lots of little shops selling souvenirs and street performers.


(There were many live statues sitting along the street.  This was our favorite, but it was really awkward when he decided to take a break when we were walking by…  He got up and took those pants off and put “real” pants on.. Weird.)




We both really like Barcelona.  Spain is definitely more westernized than Italy is, so this is a nice change.  People seem very friendly here.  Lots of people come up and touch Abbie or smile at her when we walk by.  We’re hoping to find some good restaurants to eat at because so far we’ve just eaten at chains.  There are a few places in our travel books that we’d like to try to find, and now that we have our bearings some, we should be able to do that.


Chelle said...

Oh my that man is very colorful! What a wonderful trip you guys had! I wish so much we could travel but being a bigger family when I think of the cost I just can't stomach it.

Elsbit said...

Oooh creepy on the pickpockets! Good thing Mark has his eyes peeled! Have fun!