Who's idea was it to take a 7:15am Transavia flight from Eindhoven to Barcelona?
Starting the New Year off right with a trip to Barcelona
Jackie finally got Brooklyn to nap in her lap on the plane
The sky view on the way to Barcelona
We took a 30 minute Aerobus ride into Plaça de Catalunya
We grabbed some coffees and pastries from Cafe Zurich to start our day in Barcelona
We dropped our luggage off at a storage locker place until we could check into our Airbnb apartment.
We walked down Les Ramblas
Reial Academia de Ciencies i Arts de Barcelona
Mercado de La Boqueria, a large public market closed for the New Years holiday but definitely worth coming back to for a visit
Chinese dragon holding lantern decorates former umbrella shop & symbolizes Catalan pride to patron saint St Jordi (George)
Nice corner window
Liceu Opera House (Gran Teatre del Liceu)
Nikki in Barcelona
We got some gelato and then empandas from Catalan assorted street food vendors near the waterfront.
Next we walked over to the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, a 14th-century church that is the proud centerpiece of El Born.
On the big front doors of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, notice the figures of workers who donated their time and sweat to build the church. The stone for the church was quarried at Montjuïc and had to be carried across town on the backs of porters called bastaixos.
The Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar interior is largely unadorned Gothic without the more highly decorated with Baroque frills. The Franco people burned all of its wood furnishings and decor (carbon still blackens the ceiling). Today the church remains stripped down— naked in all its Gothic glory. The tree-like columns inspired Gaudí.
Sculpture in El Born
Next we walked over to the Cathedral (Catedral de Barcelona).
Brooklyn walking around in front of the Catedral de Barcelona
We went to Xaloc for lunch for tapas: oxtail & mashed potatoes, roast meat canolini, huevos potatos, meat & cheese plate, and tomato bread.
After lunch it was time to to check-in at our airbnb apartment.
Walking to streets of Barcelona
We went to retrieve our luggage from the storage locker.
The apartment was about a 4 block walk northwest of Plaça de Catalunya, on Carrer d'Enric Granados.
Brooklyn was extremely overtired. She had barely fallen asleep in the stroller when we got to the apartment and she woke back up. We setup her travel tent to put her down for a nap. She was not adjusting well to the new surroundings.
Momma had to go in and stroke her hair and sing her to sleep. She got in some good snuggle time on mommy's belly with her little baby brother or sister growing in there.
Joe and Nikki went to the grocery store.
We ate dinner at nearby Vinitus: pork belly, anchoives, octopus, grilled cuttlefish, potatoes in spicy sauce, fried artichoke, grilled shrimp, and dessert of chocolate, ice cream, and cheese with raspberries.
We gave Brooklyn a bath and put her to bed for the night in her travel tent.
Saturday Jan 2
Although we were in town for first Sunday when the Picasso Museum had a free day, we decided to pay for timed tickets and bypass the long lines to this incredibly popular museum.
We had 9:20am tickets to the Picasso Museum. Brooklyn was ready for a nap by the time we got there. We ditched the stroller since she was way too whiny to be in a museum full of people listening to their audio guides. Jackie put her in the Ergo and rocked her until she finally fell asleep.
This is the best collection in Spain of the work of Spaniard Pablo Picasso (1881-1973). Since Picasso spent his formative years (from age 14-23) in Barcelona, it’s the best collection of his early works anywhere. The Picasso Museum’s collection of nearly 300 paintings is presented more or less chronologically. The artworks are scattered through several connected Gothic palaces, five mansions laced together.
Interior courtyard of one of the old mansions that houses the Picasso Museum
Now that is a lot of kinds of tomatoes
We met up with Emmita and Marcos for lunch but had some time to kill before the lunch spot opened up. We walked around the neighborhood a bit.
We walked through El Born Cultural Center (El Born Centre Cultural), which occupies the cast-iron structure of a 19th-century market. El Born Cultural Center is a multipurpose space that hosts an active medieval archaeological site.
Emmita was Jackie's friend from college at the NCSU Design School. She was a landscape design major but roommates with one of her good architecture friend's so they hung out a lot. Emmita moved to Spain a few years ago to teach English. She married Italian/Argentinian Marcos in Barcelona in 2011. We had just moved to Washington so we didn't have the free vacation time to make a big trip to Europe for the wedding. This visit was great because we got to have a lot of one and one time. Emmita is about 2 weeks ahead of Jackie in her pregnancy so it was nice to have someone in the same position going through withdrawls and cravings.
After lunch we walked around the Old City in El Born and Barri Gòtic.
Plaça del Rei where medieval buildings enclosed the square. The central section (topped by a five-story addition) was the core of the Royal Palace (Palau Reial Major), where in 1493 a triumphant Christopher Columbus, accompanied by six New World natives (whom he called “indios”) and several pure-gold statues, entered the Royal Palace. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella rose to welcome him home and honored him with the title “Admiral of the Oceans.”
In Plaça del Rei to the right is the palace’s church, the 14th-century Chapel of Saint Agatha, which sits atop the foundations of a Roman wall.
In Plaça del Rei to the left is the Viceroy’s Palace (Palau del Lloctinent, for the ruler’s right-hand man).
Old buildings from Roman times
Roman Temple of Augustus (Temple Roma d’August) is tucked inside a small medieval courtyard. It has four columns from an ancient temple of Augustus which are a reminder of Barcelona’s Roman origins. The temple, dating from the late first century B.C., stood at one corner of the ancient forum quarter.
Plaça de Sant Jaume was the town’s central square, once a Roman forum, and now contains the local government buildings.
Carrer del Bisbe Bridge is reminiscent of Venice’s Bridge of Sighs. Made in the 1920s, it connects the Catalan government building (on the right) with what was the Catalan president’s ceremonial residence (on the left).
Cool old door
Cool old balcony railing
Plaça Sant Felip Neri with a baroque church in the Gothic Quarter with wounds etched in the facade of the 1938 bombing by fascist planes.
We shopped at a market in Plaça del Pi in front of the Basilica de Santa Maria del Pi.
La Boqueria Market is a covered lively market. Since 1200 it was located by medieval wall entrance (less expensive than trading within walls). It has a 1850 colonnade of an old monastery and an added colorful arcade with a stain-glass sign over the main entry.
mmm cured meats
The Iberian breed of pigs eat better than we do making it the best cured ham legs.
Afterwards we went to watch the futbol match between Barco and espanyol at a bar. It ended up being a tie, 0-0.
We parted ways with Emmita and Marcos.
We watched the light fountain show in Plaça de Catalunya.
We ate dinner at Son Hao, a Taiwanese restaurant near the apartment.
Sunday Jan 3
Before heading to Palau Güell to take advantage of the free first Sunday, we walked out of the apartment to the modernista icons in Eixample on Passeig de Gracia.
Casa Milà (La Pedrera) by Antoni Gaudí, nicknamed by "The Quarry"
We walked through Plaça Reial, a genteel-feeling square, with palm trees and a pair of Gaudí-designed lampposts.
Next we walked into the side cloister entrance to the Cathedral of Barcelona.
The Cathedral of Barcelona cloister is home to many swans
Cathedral of Barcelona cloister
It was Sunday so we could not get access into the side of the Cathedral of Barcelona from the cloister probably because mass was ongoing.
Cathedral of Barcelona cloister door
Brooklyn dancing to the Spanish music in front of the Cathedral of Barcelona
We all listened to an engaging 24-stop audioguide.
Palau Güell door to Coach House
Palau Güell Coach House ceiling
Neo-Gothic cellar in the basement, with its mushroom pillars, was used as a stable at Palau Güell
Palau Güell courtyard stables
Palau Güell window from Coach house down into courtyard off the stables
The Palau Güell parabolic-arch entryways and wrought-iron doors were cleverly designed so that those inside could see out, and light from the outside could get in-but not vice versa.
Palau Güell ground floor entrance vestibule
Palau Güell entrance staircase to mezzanine
Palau Güell wood and wrought iron grill door to the vestibule on the mezzanine floor
Palau Güell vestibule stained glass window representing the Catalan flag
Palau Güell vestibule marble ceiling
Palau Güell vestibule
Palau Güell Central Hall closet chapel door
While waiting for a table at Escriba, Brooklyn played in the sand on the beach.
The best paella at Escriba
Our next destination was the Maritime Museum, which was also free after 3pm on the first Sunday of the month.