Greetings from sunny Spain!
A new country for a new family reunion!
We headed to Barcelona from Ireland to meet Aaron’s mom and sister. Debby (Aaron’s mom) attemped to visit us in Buenos Aires way back in May and, when her flight was turned around half way to Argentina, we were crestfallen. With this second attempt we were just SO excited we were coming unglued, and this time she made it along with Abby, Aaron’s sister! The first family vacation for Aaron, Abby and Debby in who knows how long! Abby visited for four days, Debby for seven and Aaron and I were in Barcelona for a couple of weeks.
We know when most people think of Barcelona they think of the amazing architect (“God’s Architect”) Antoni Gaudi. We spent days and days looking at Gaudi architecture and it was so good we’ll devote an entire blog to it in the next week or so! There’s much more to Barcelona than just Gaudi, though. MUCH more.
Returning to the family reunion… Before we arrived in Spain we all emailed about what we wanted to see and do. The obvious #1 thing (everyone who visits Barcelona’s #1 thing): tour Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia and see his other works. Abby wanted a beach day. For my part, I didn’t even realize there was a beach in Barcelona. Yup. Not your best informed traveler here. Debby wanted to go to the Miro Museum. And I was like, “What’s a miro!?” You can see this was quite an enlightening trip for yours truly. Aaron wanted to see street art. At least that’s something I understood. And I wanted to try exotic food and drink. So that there was the framework for our European Family Vacation.
Abby and Debby arrived and we took the first day easy because the day you fly in is always rough. We started with a free walking street art tour of Barcelona. It seemed like a good jet-lag-fighting thing to do with all the sunshine and fresh air. It’s easier to stay awake that way…in theory. About half-way through, though, Debby wanted a nap and I couldn’t have agreed more! Of course, I hadn’t just finished an overnight flight like she had, so why I was tired I don’t know. We ditched Aaron and Abby and celebrated the time honored tradition of siesta. I think Debby was mostly awake and reading. Being productive. I fell sound asleep until Aaron woke me up. I’ve decided siesta is great and have done a lot more of it! Aaron and Abby loved the street art tour, so I’d say that was a win-win for everyone.
After a night’s rest we headed straight to Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia – his masterwork of a church. It’s been in process for almost a century and they predict they might finish it in a decade or so. Our photos and story-telling will be in the upcoming blog, but I recommend watching this clip from 60 Minutes to get inspired. When we saw it back home we looked at each other and immediately ran to our RTW Notebook and put the Sagrada on our “must-see” list. So glad we did!
We saw loads of art during the family vacation, including a trip to the Miro Museum. Joan Miro was a surrealist painter and sculptor. Turns out I’m not so into Miro and Aaron was kind of ambivalent, but Debby and Abby absolutely loved his work, so I think it’s safe to put the museum on the “must see” list if you’re into the art scene. I also made the connection that I probably don’t like Picasso that much either (gasp!) so I skipped his museum. Actually we all did, even though it was literally around the corner from our apartment.
We did go to the Modernism Museum and that one was much more my style! Unfortunately we seem to have lost the photos (eep!), but it was a pretty good one.
SHOPPING AND MORE ART
Of course Barcelona is filled with little shops showcasing things made in Spain – always fun to walk through..and, well, if you happen to see just the perfect thing, you might need to make a purchase or two. I mean, just maybe. Debby found this wonderful mosquito/giraffe/elephant papier-mache sculpture. All four of us weighed in on it and thankfully Abby guided the decision-making process so we could seal the deal. Debby bought it directly from the artist. We love those sort of interactions.
Abby found a spectacular locally designed dress that looked great! For my part, I got a super cool over the shoulder bag that is now waiting for me when I get back to the States. Someday I’ll have a real job again and I plan to grab it as I walk out the door and people are going to wish they had it! Aaron and I even stocked up on new sketch pads and pens, so we spent an afternoon in a cafe sketching and (in my case) doodling. It’s the sort of thing I think you have to do in Europe. It just feels right.
After all the amazing art, architecture (more on that in future posts), shopping and sightseeing, we needed a rest. Nothing says relaxation like a day at the beach, right? The weather was perfect and we had a little picnic and everything….right next to the nude beach….which might sound better than what it really was (no offense, shriveled up old, fat guys). Still, it was yet another part of our trip that felt so European.
TIME TO GO
We had a spectacular time together in Barcelona, but as quick as it started it seemed time for Abby to head home and then a few days later Debby left, too.