When we first moved to Germany and started planning trips, my top priority was to visit Spain. This obsession started in design school when I learned about the architect, Antoni Gaudi. We studied his work and I remember being totally swept away by all of the photographs of his work in Barcelona. They looked like they couldn't be real, like something out of a fairytale. That was it, I needed to see these buildings for myself.
A friend of ours mentioned that he would like to visit Bareclona over Thanksgiving and I blirted out "TAKE ME WITH YOU!" before I had even talked with Kevin about it. I looked to Kevin and he nodded– which to me, meant that the trip was a go! So, for Thanksgiving this year we exchanged our turkey and apple cider for tapas and sangria. We had a heck of a time! I will be back... yes I will!
DAY 1 : SAGRADA FAMILIA, THE MONTJUIC CASTLE & WINE TASTING
First things first, we stopped for breakfast. In Spain, this is usually a small sandwich that consists of various cheeses or meats. I am a big fan of this style of morning snack. Bread and cheese are two of my most favorite things!
Our first stop was the ever-so-famous Sagrada Familia church by Antoni Gaudi. This church was my number one priority to see while in Barcelona and I am so glad we saw it first to kick off an incredible trip of sight seeing. This church was more beautiful than I could ever have imagined. I have seen dozens of pictures of the church but they don't even begin to capture the intricate detail that this church offers. The interior of this church is flooded with light and stretched stone pillars makes for a dreamy scene.
We have been living in Europe now for about a year-and-a-half, and in that time we have come across dozens and dozens of churches. It sounds really sad but after a while, they tend to kind of all run together. This church however, will always stick out to me. This is the most magnificent stained glass I have ever seen. We visited the church around 11 so the sun was perfectly shining through, filling the church with beautiful shades of red, orange and green.
After our visit to Sagrada Familia we stopped for lunch! We setteled for a whimsical little joint along the way called Electropikal. The food was delicious and their mojitos were fresh and fabulous. However, whatever you do, DO NOT order the Michelada cocktail! We are always up for trying new things when we travel but this drink was a little too far out there for us to get on board with– think spanish twist on a bloody mary.. something just was not quite right. Ha!
After visiting the Sagrada Familia we set out to climb the highest hill in Barcelona and watch the sunset. The highest hill is home to the Montjuïc Castle which is kind of cool to see, it's an added bonus to the gorgeous views of the city. You can take a gondola up the hill, or even cheaper, you can take the city bus which will drop you off right where you want to go. We were wanting to walk off the tapas we had earlier so walked up the hill by foot. We got a little out of breath but I was glad we did it. (even though I might have complained about it... a little haha) The views were amazing!
After our day of exploring we set out for dinner and stumbled upon a wine tasting on one of the main streets. JACKPOT!! We walked up to the the stand out front, and for five euros we were given a wine glass and unlimited access to taste all different kinds of local wine. The vendors were set up on either side of the street . We just held out our glasses and they filled us up! It was so much fun and so interesting to try loads of local wines.
DAY 2 : PRIVATE TOUR OF MONTSERRAT & PARDAS WINERY
When you have a group of people together it is pretty affordable to schedule your own private tour. We scheduled our private tour and the plan was to first visit the Montserrat Monastery, have lunch at traditional spanish restaurant, and then finish the day with a wine tour. It was a perfect day and because it was a private tour, we were able to move along at our own pace.
Our private day took us to visit the Pardas Winery outside of Barcelona. This was a great tour for us because we got to see part of the bottling process which is something I have not seen before. When we visited they were bottling a Rosé which we were able to taste right off of the table. So fun!
DAY 3 : SHOPPING, LA BOQUERIA FOOD MARKET AND FC BARCELONA GAME
Kevin absolutely LOVES european football. He not only just likes watching the games, but he knows all the players and who is being traded to which team. I played a little bit in high school so I enjoy watching games as well. When we booked our tickets to Barcelona our next thing we looked up was wether or not FC Barcelona would be playing a game during our visit. We lucked out and bought some tickets for the home game. It was a no brainer, we had to see some of the best players in the world kick around a soccer ball!
After the soccer game we spotted the Mountain Dew truck driving down a side street. We started waving our arms and jumping like crazy people. Amazingly enough they honked, pulled over and we scored like 10 free sodas! I LOVE BARCELONA!
DAY 4 : CASA BATLLO
Our flight back home was late in the day which left enough time to visit one more site. We chose to visit another Gaudi attraction– I just can't stay away. I have been waiting to stand in front of this house for almost 4 years now. I remember first seeing it in college during one of my favorite professor's lectures. I remember looking at the pictures in that big lecture hall and thinking that the rooms looked fake. I thought the house looked like something out of a fairytale book. In pictures I'd seen in my textbooks, they showed the rooms as a whole. However when I visited the house, it was the tiny details of the house which impressed me the most. Everything was thoughtfully executed. The handrails and door knobs were custom carved so that they could fit perfectly in the human hand. Gaudi invented a custom typeface for all of the door numbers. There was even an innovative ventilation system carried throughout the house. All of the detail that he went into building this house is just amazing. What is even more amazing– something I still can't wrap my brain around, was that there there were no plans ever drawn for this house. There was only one sketch of the front of the house and one clay model made to aid in building this house. Antoni himself, would stand across the street and direct the construction workers as they built on site.
The concept of this house was to make the inhabitants feel as if they were underwater. As you make your way through the house you find hints of underwater motifs. In addition to the motifs, the color scheme changes. The lower floors start with a darker shade of blue slowly making your way up to the lighter and brighter white that is white washed in the attic. The picture above is of the attic and is just as you walk onto the roof. The walls are pure white and flooded with lights. Beautiful!!
Kev and I loved Spain and we are hoping to head back very soon! There is still so much to see and do!
Have you been to Spain? Do you have any suggestions for planning our return trip?