Yes, we’re in sunny Spain for the holidays! If you’re wondering, sorry, there’s no live feed this time around, thanks to the fact that Barcelona is still rather packed and you never know who’s going to steal your phone. So, expect the play by play of the day, here on this blog! Enjoy!
Oh, and by the way, I can finally upload the pictures we took throughout the day, thanks to the fact that I had the foresight to bring my laptop along! FINALLY! Although, I can only upload a couple of the photos, because the WiFi here is deathly slow!
Early Risers and Flaggy Mornings
As some of you know, “the early bird gets the worm” and that’s particularly true for our travels…for the most part. Today, was a very early start. Waking up at 4:00am, I groggily prepared for the long day ahead. Our cab came around to drop us off at 5am, so it makes sense I woke up an hour early (since I never like leaving the house without having breakfast).
Our flight was at 6:20am, and because we checked in the night before, we managed to reach the departure lounge in good time. Of course, no proper trip abroad is without its drama, and the only drama we experienced this time around was the fact that we forgot our iPod charger at home (not iPhone or iPad, mind you, it’s the old charger head, not the new one, because I still have my iPod Touch Generation 4, and my sister had her iPod Nano).
Other than worrying about an iPod (I highly doubt I’ll be listening to), we had a smooth morning. The boarding process was quick and efficient, and we were on the plane by 6:00am. There was nothing much to it, and besides, since we were all flagging from the early start, we slept on the plane…well, my family did, I read one of my favourite stories on my iPad (*cough cough* Labyrinth fan-fiction *cough cough*).
Disembark At Assaulted Retinas
When we landed, two hours later, I had woefully underestimated the blinding quality of the Spanish sun. At 11:00am, the sun was high in the sky, and there was nothing I could do about the harsh winter rays that blasted the earth below. Of course, I wasn’t exposed to the blinding rays until we emerged from the subway system, after going through passport control and all that. However, I came highly unprepared for the bright morning, as I had forgotten my sunglasses at home (THEY WERE NEW AS WELL!). So, you can say it was pretty much my fault.
Anyway, despite my poor retinas, the view that I was greeted with was a magnificent one. Not far from our hotel/apartment, was the infamous, 200-year-old monstrosity that is the Sagrada Familia Cathedral! From the moment we stepped out into the sun, I was blindsided by the colossal architectural beauty that Barcelona is well endowed with. We were greeted by the side of the cathedral, and in all honesty, I was completely astounded by the spindly towers that decorate the cathedral on all sides.
However, we couldn’t simply stand in awe, in the cathedral’s shadow, since we were still finding our way to the hotel, so we promised to settle down first, before we explored the giant art-piece (because I can’t see it as anything other than art).
Time To Explore
After checking in to the hotel/apartment (because our hotel is basically an apartment building for tourists), we wandered around the cathedral, simply taking in the sight and basking in the splendour of the beauty it had to offer. With the sun on our backs, and a slight breeze adding a wintry chill to the air, we marvelled at the magnificence of La Sagrada Familia. Each façade was covered with depictions of the sacred family. There were images of Saints and the Holy Family on every major face of the building, and we couldn’t take our eyes off it. It took us almost half an hour to complete a circuit of the building, and to finally peel our eyes off the sacred space.
Once we diverted our attention to the surrounding shops and restaurants, we browsed around souvenir shops and checked out the menus of affordable restaurants. We basically wiled away at least two hours, while we waited for our apartment to be cleared out, since we arrived early (as usual). I found a couple of interesting artefacts that I might just be tempted to buy as souvenirs to all my friends and family.
Napping And Late Evenings
After wandering around the local area, we returned to our apartment for some much-needed rest, thanks, in part, to the fact that I couldn’t sleep on the plane, and I was seriously going to pass out, if I stayed seated for too long. Thankfully, I had a 2-hour nap that saw me through the rest of the day. Waking up to my noisy family, we had a few snacks to get started, for the evening. We planned to go to the Boqueria Market, which was located, a couple of miles to the east, along the La Rambla promenade.
It was B-U-S-Y, to say the least. The market itself was closed (perhaps due to repairs or something), so we walked down to the waterfront, to see what was down there. Along the way, we browsed the many stalls that dotted the place, and vendors selling goods that were rather questionable. There were many tented seating areas, for the nearby restaurants and I was sorely tempted to simply sit in one of the wicker chairs, just so I can get my glass of Sangria!
However, onwards we pushed and we eventually found ourselves at the edge of a waterfront walkway, that led to a large commercial centre (essentially a mall), called Maremagnum. It was rather lively and active, but because we weren’t in a “shopping” mood, we simply wandered around, until we found the roof terrace. We eventually just hung out, sitting on the cream leather sofas that decorated the terrace, and listened to the white noise of people bustling about for Christmas.
Wild Lookouts For The Hunters
Loathed to push on, we left the mall, after much debate on whether or not we wanted to eat at one of the restaurants the mall offered, and we decided to eat at one of the restaurants that was nearer to the apartment. As we traversed the expanse of tunnels that led the subway, we encountered a bit of a problem, that kept my dad on edge. Unbeknownst to us, a pickpocket was trying to steal from my little sister, and consequently, the rest of my family.
He looked like a fellow tourist, with a backpack draped across his front, but when we stepped off the moving walkway, my dad pointed out the fact that the man was not all he appeared to be. In fact, even my sister noticed he was trying to steal from her bag, and (by her accounts) looked him straight in the eye, letting him know that she knew what he was about to do. Now, because of this event, my family decided to stick closer together, keeping a watch on our surroundings, to make sure we weren’t being tailed. When we finally got off our stop, we watched as our potential thief stole from another unsuspecting victim. However, she noticed him and took back the item he had stolen! Not so lucky for a thief, I think he decided to give up on us, and probably headed back into the throngs of the crowd around La Sagrada Familia, to find a better victim.
While I’m glad my family remained safe from the thief, it only makes me even more aware of my surroundings. I know I’m going to be looking over my shoulder, every now and then, just so I know my bag is perfectly safe. Remember guys, don’t let your bags leave your sight, you never know who might just swipe it.
Delicious Dinners And Alcoholic Beverages
This is my favourite part…While, normally, we have a big dinner to herald the end of our adventures, in another country, we decided to have the big dinner tonight. Simply because both my sister and I were craving for paella, all day. Mom and dad were goading us into one of the lesser restaurants, but neither she or I would be appeased. So, we ate at one of the local restaurants, near our hotel. It was called Babalonia, and I highly recommend the restaurant, if you’re ever in the area. The paella was delicious, the setting was gorgeous, and you’re not too close to the table next to you, to feel at all uncomfortable. In fact, I’d like to eat at that restaurant for the rest of the holiday, simply because it was absolutely delicious.
I practically stuffed myself so full to the point I looked like I was pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, I was hungry, but no matter how much I ate, I just couldn’t stop, because the flavours were just too tempting. We even had a spot of Sangria, despite the glass belonged to my mom, rather than each one of us (we’re not an alcohol family, so we had sips of the sweet drink throughout the meal).
Well, that’s it from us today, join us tomorrow, as we explore the neighbouring city of Montserrat! Don’t miss out on all the fun, and subscribe! I’m sure you’ll be inspired to visit Barcelona yourself.
This is Feather, signing out!