It’s been just over a year since the epic trip to Japan and SE Asia, and we were itching to leave the good ol’ USA, so we packed our bags and headed to Europe!
Things started off pretty awesome when we boarded our Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt and scored an empty middle. I’m kind of a pro at scoring an empty middle, not to brag or anything. Not only was there ample space to spread out, it also meant I could lay flat on my back to try and get some shut eye! Take that, business-class-layflat-seats! Yes, I had to bend my knees.
We arrived in Frankfurt an hour late. And had less than 45 minutes to get through customs, security (again), and arrive at our gate. We thought, “hey, it’s Germany, they’re pretty efficient here, shouldn’t be a problem.” Ha! We were SOOOO wrong. Long story short, we ended up running through the Frankfurt airport and were the last ones on our connecting flight to Barcelona. Can we say, hot sweaty messes? The 10 year old next to me clearly didn’t mind, as half way through the flight he fell asleep on my shoulder. Nice move, kid.
After arriving in Barcelona, we dropped off our bags and were on a mission to keep ourselves up until bedtime. We started off with tapas.
Tapas are basically stuff on crusty bread. The tapas bar we visited was buffet style. Lots of plates setup around the room, grab what you want and at the end of the meal they count your toothpicks. They were perfectly fine but definitely didn’t blow me away. Nick was not pleased with the food to euro ratio. Needless to say, tapas did not make it back into the rotation
We decided that a trip to the famed Sagrada Familia was in order. It’s Barcelona’s equivalent to the Eiffel Tower – it’s the place you pretty much have to visit if you’re going.
The conversation before leaving for Spain went something like this:
B: So, people are saying we should buy tickets beforehand
N: It’s November, we’ll be fine.
Famous last words. We roll up to la Sagrada, line around the block. In a last ditch effort to make it inside before the sun set, I checked online and was able to buy tickets while we were still standing in line. We walked around the block and waltzed right in.
**This will only work if you can roam while in Barcelona, otherwise we would have been up a creek. Also note that if you want to go up a tower, they make you pick your tower while buying the ticket. We went up the nativity tower – where we did not see a single baby Jesus, Joseph or Mary – and it was very pretty. I think you may have a better view of sunset if you head up the Passion tower. But I have no proof.
**http://www.sagradafamilia.cat/ (click ENG in the upper left for the English version)
Turns out, Nick was only familiar with the outside of the building, which reminds me of melted candles. And had he known how much the tickets cost, he admittedly would have discouraged us entering the famous church.
But since I was in charge of tickets, and I knew what the inside was suppose to look like, Nick was in for a pretty awesome surprise. I think his words were literally, “Oh shitttt!”
The church is filled with beautiful stained glass windows that run floor to ceiling (hence my concern with getting in before the sun went down). The inside feels surprisingly new and modern – or maybe not so surprising to those that know their history. It’s still under construction, with an anticipated completion date sometime in 2026.
We finished the evening with a trip to the (famous) Mercado de la Boqueria. Lots of fruit, veggies, spices, seafood, and MEAT! My dad was particularly interested in having us try the jamon. So we found a guy slicing thin pieces of meat off of a pig leg – hoof and all! We were about to cheap out and try the serrano jamon that costs 50 euros/kg, but the butcher(?) smartly offered us a taste of the 110 euro/kg Iberica jamon. And yes, you can taste a difference. I was impressed, and promptly finished my 110 euro/kg jamon.
By this point we were a little delirious, having been up for 30+ hours and no showers. So we headed off to our apartment (on the 4th floor – and by 4th I really mean 5th because the first floor is really the “0″ floor, and did I mention no elevators) and fell asleep – shortly after instagram-ing our first day .
Side note: We woke up the next morning to the sorest legs ever! We think it was a combination of sitting for 12 hours followed by a dead sprint to make our flight, followed by hoofing it up 5 flights of stairs a small handful of times. My legs haven’t been this sore since I sprinted to first on a cold night playing softball.