Because we both turned 30 this year, we decided to splurge a little and take a trip to Barcelona for a long weekend - both to see the city and for Sonar, the music and arts festival there.
We flew in on Thursday, and made our way to our host's Elsa's apartment. She didn't speak any English, and we don't speak any Espangnol either, so we got by with "Hola" and "gracias" and that's about it all weekend. Next time we'll pick up some phrases before we go! I realized how little I know of the Spanish language, and how far I've come in speaking and understanding French since we've been over here.
Elsa's neighbourhood was a beauty - small little streets lined with shops, cafes and trees. Little squares with benches, and very few cars. The walkways and streets were all tile and well maintained, and the buildings were really nice. Our first stop after we regrouped was the small pub around the corner. This was one of many beer stops
Again, we were impressed with how well-maintained the buildings and walkways were compared with other cities we've visited - not to mention green!
We spent the first part of Friday doing a Gaudi tour - the Sagrada Famiglia, and the two well-known Casa Mila and Casa Batlo. I wished we could have gone inside but the line up was way too long at the church and the other 2 buildings we felt we overpriced. Anyway, we were quite happy looking at the outside and wandering around in the sun.
After a fair bit of walking, we decided to head to the beach for a little siesta before dinner.
We headed back out from the apartment with a couple of goals - find some sneakers for me to dance in, and get dinner before we got the Sonar bus. Luckily, H&M came through - quick stop, and off for dinner! Found a place on La Ramblas, a bustling street with many restaurants, markets and vendors, where I ordered some paella - a very common dish here. It was alright - good hearty meal before partying all night - but not the best. I think I'll have to try it again at a more reputable place; it was a touch dodgy.
And then, to complete our awesome day, we were off to Sonar. The place was absolutely enormous - 2 (or 3?) arenas, each with stages, and stages set up in between. When we got there, there was so much space around that it felt hard to believe that they would fill it. At the peak of the night, every space was jammed with people, and the energy was crazy. I think we got the bus back to town at 6, slept until about 12:30, and then went for a breakfast beer (for me, the coffee had to come first), and slowly made our way to the beach, where we slept away the afternoon in the sun. Terrific was to spend a hangover!
I made us get up in the early evening to do one last stint of sightseeing before we left; had another beer break:
Had a look at my shoes from the night before: yikes!
And then, to Place Espanya and the olympic village part of town. This was a nice area to visit at sun down because we caught the right timing for the Magic Fountain to come on for a show. The light was also quite nice for photos.
Had a few hairy moments at the Barcelona Airport on Sunday morning going home to Nice - long lineups and then not being able to find the gate....but we got there, and we weren't even the very last passengers on the plane We vowed once again to arrive earlier next time!! But we made it, and it was a fantastic weekend. There are so many things we wanted to see but couldn't make time for that I'm sure we'll be back.