Saturday, August 15, 2015

Day 9: First Day in Barcelona

On our first full day in Barcelona (August 3) we started with breakfast in our hotel. They brought Dad a special “welcome” plate of fruit with a message written in chocolate. My favorite foods from the breakfast spread while we were at this hotel were the mini muffins (which changed each day; first it was cinnamon chocolate, then raspberry, then pistachio chocolate) and the lemon pound cake.

This hotel was really cool in that it also provided a children’s play area in the breakfast room, so Max could play while Banks and Nan ate breakfast. It’s a great idea and was really helpful the couple days we were there.

After breakfast we walked to the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic). It was a longer walk than we were expecting, but when we arrived it didn’t disappoint. We tried to go see the Saló Del Tinell, the place where Ferdinand and Isabel received Christopher Columbus when he returned from the Americas, but the Palau Reial Major (where it's located) is closed on Mondays. But we still got to be in the courtyard right there! And I’m sure Columbus walked through the courtyard, right? So still pretty cool.

Right in front of the Palau Reial Major
Some of the waterspouts were animals, instead of gargoyles! This one was a unicorn, on the Cathedral. On another building that had traditional gargoyles lining the roof, one gargoyle had been replaced by a grasshopper.
The wall with the grasshopper.
Zoomed in so you can see it better.

Right after that we went around a few corners and arrived at the Barcelona Cathedral. We entered the side instead of the main chapel, and found ourselves in a very pretty courtyard. There was even a little pond with geese swimming around, and a fountain with a little statue of a man on a horse on top. I really liked the courtyard. From there we went into the main chapel, which was big and dark and pretty traditional. After exploring it, we walked out the front of the church and were able to see the front facade, which was pretty elaborate.

Just down the front steps of the church was a sort of bazaar full of antiques. We walked around and looked at all of the very old items for sale on the tables. It was really interesting to see everything; there was a lot of old jewelry, pocket watches, knick knacks, cards, pictures, silverware, pottery, religious symbols, and more. We didn’t get anything, but it was really interesting to look at.

From the cathedral we walked to a square in the gothic quarter, then down a street that led us to Las Ramblas. Las Ramblas is the most famous street in Spain, and I can see why it became popular, what with being so wide and filled with trees. But now that it's popular it's also filled shoulder to shoulder with people, cars, stalls, and restaurants. It’s the most pick-pocketed street in Spain as well, and I was more concerned with holding on to my belongings while we made our way down than enjoying the scenery. I enjoyed another street we drove down a couple times in Barcelona, the Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, much more. I thought it was prettier and much more open.

I love these two. They're silly.

From Las Ramblas we walked down to the Plaza Colon. We passed several people dressed up in costumes, the best of which (by far) was Galileo Galilei. Alyse and Tanner put a coin in his bucket and took a picture with him. He was awesome.

Me and my lion.

We walked down and around the port, circling back towards the quarter of Barceloneta and our hotel. Before we reached Barceloneta we ran into a couple blowing big bubbles. Max loved the bubbles. He was so happy as he ran around catching them, just laughing and smiling and having the best time.

From there we walked to Barceloneta, where we had lunch, and then walked back to our hotel.

Walking back

Alyse, Tanner, Jason, and I changed into our swimsuits and went swimming at the hotel pool. There were a lot of people, but it was fun and felt great. From there we went back upstairs, changed clothes again, and then went to Dad’s huge room/condo where we hung out for the rest of the day. Banks, Nan, and their kids came up, and Dad was up there too of course, so we all just got to hang out and relax all afternoon. It was a nice break.

At one point Jason and I went out for a walk, and found a funny statue that looked like a pair of legs and a bottom. We also found a park that had this super fun hanging see-saw thing that we played on. I loved it. It was so much fun. We walked back to hang out with everybody again as the light was fading.

Some Doctor Who graffiti

Some of the guys went down to order pizza and brought it back for dinner, and we had a pizza party that night. We also played a bunch of cards, mostly Nertz and Uno.

Finally we went to bed, ready for the next day.

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