June 22, 2018

Adventures In Spain | Part One

Since today marks exactly one year since Justin and I went to Spain, I thought that I'd finally write about our trip...

Thursday June 22nd, 2017
Justin and I left flew seven and a half hours nonstop from John F Kennedy International Airport in New York to El Prat Airport in Barcelona.

Friday June 23rd, 2017 -- Barcelona
We arrived in Barcelona at around 7:15am and took a coach bus to Plaça de Catalunya. Since we had all of our luggage with us and we weren't going to be able to check into our Airbnb until after 2:00pm, we thought it best to go sit down for breakfast and get our bearings. We ended up at Alsur Café, where we had some weird but delicious coffee concoction and food.

While we were sitting down we found the location of a luggage drop off place that we could store our suitcases at while we went on the 11:00am Free Walking Tour Barcelona.

On the Free Walking Tour Barcelona, which is two and a half hours, we got to see; Las Ramblas, Plaça de Catalunya, Santa Maria del Pi, The Gothic Quarter, Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, The Jewish Quarter, The Cathedral, Roman Ruins, Plaça del Reí and Picasso Murals.

After the tour we took a cab back to the luggage place to pick up our bags, then got another cab to take us to our Airbnb. Where we waited for our host to let us in and show us around the apartment.

Before leaving our host informed us that it was Nit de Sant Joan (Saint John's Eve) and that we should go to the beach in the evening because there was going to be a big celebration, drinking and fireworks.

Once we were settled in and showered, we found a restaurant near by to have dinner at before heading to the beach to check out the festival our Airbnb host was walking about.

Can I tell you, Nit de Sant Joan was so much fun! Drinking on the beach. Fireworks. Music. And just bunch of people just having a great time. We stayed and hung out there for hours.

Saturday June 24th, 2017 -- Barcelona
This was the day we had dedicated to all things Antoni Gaudí, who was a Catalan architect.

We started off our Gaudí tour of Barcelona by going to La Sagrada Familia, which is a large unfinished Roman Catholic church designed by Gaudí back in 1882.

We decided on the self guided tour with an audio guide, so that we could walk around the Basilica at our own pace.

After we finished up at La Sagrada Familia we headed over to Park Güell, which is a public park designed back in 1900-1914.

While we were there we visited the Gaudí House Museum (Which was where Antoni Gaudí lived from 1906 until 1925 when he decided to move into the workshop of La Sagrada Familia) and just walked around Park Güell admiring the architecture. After we had our fill of the park we took a cab to Casa Batlló (A house redesigned by Gaudí back in 1904)

Unfortunately after we were finished with our tour of Casa Batlló we got a text message from Justin's family saying that his grandmother had passed away. So we went straight back to our Airbnb to process the news.

Later on in the early evening (We did all of our Gaudí stuff early in the morning) we took a cab over to Port Olímpic to go on a sunset sailing trip that we had booked through Airbnb Experiences (Which we would highly recommend if you're going to Barcelona because Marc was an amazing host). It was a beautiful but very cathartic excursion for us.

After three wonderful hours on Marc's sailboat, we headed over to La Mar de Bo (On one of Marc's many amazing recommendations) for he BEST paella I have ever eaten in my life and to wander around near the beach before heading back to our Airbnb.

Sunday June 25th, 2017 -- Sitges & Barcelona
We woke up early to take a train to Sitges so that we could spend the day at a beach that we didn't have to worry about someone robbing us at (There is apparently a lot of thief at the beach in Barcelona).

Once we had our fill of Sitges we headed back to Barcelona to change and to get a quick dinner at Macchina Pasta Bar.

Monday June 26th, 2017 -- Girona & Barcelona
We woke up early again but this time to take the train to Girona to go on a Game of Thrones (2011 - Present) walking tour through Girona Experience, which ended up being a private walking tour because no one else had signed up for it because it was not very well advertised on their site.

It was a great tour. The guide was very good, we got to see a lot of cool locations that Game of Thrones filmed at and learn a lot about the history of Girona. Unfortunately while on the tour I ended up slipping on gravel and scratching up my entire right leg pretty badly (Like as the trip went on my leg started to look like Freddy Krueger's face, when I got back home I found out that I had sprained the ankle and I have some pretty wicked scars on my leg now). And I ended up learning that no one knew what ointment was and that peroxide in Spain is 10% unlike the American 3% and it stings like a bitch.

So I ended up walking around for a good chunk of the tour with a bloody leg (The guide didn't bring her first aid kit because it was too heavy in her backpack) but Justin bought me a sorbet from Rocambolesc that looked like Jamie Lannister's gold hand.

After the tour was over we just decided to take the train back to Barcelona so I could go back to the Airbnb to properly wash my leg and relax before going to our dinner reservation at Sensi Bistro later in the evening.

Tuesday June 27th, 2017 -- Barcelona & Madrid
We ended up waking up pretty early and since we didn't have to check out of our Airbnb until 11:00am we walked over to the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) to check out the reproduction of the Keith Haring mural "Todos Juntos Podemos Parar el Sida" (Together We Can Stop AIDS), which Haring originally painted at Plaça Salvador Seguí in 1989.

After checking out the mural we headed back to our Airbnb to grab our bags and head over to the train station to catch a train to Madrid.

We arrived in Madrid around 3:45pm and walked through World Pride Madrid (Which was going on the entire time we were there) to get to our Airbnb.

Once we were settled in and found a place to have dinner using TripAdvisor, we started to wander around. Eventually ended up at Origen Taberna, where we had tapas that I still think about because the food was just that amazing.

After eating almost everything on the menu (And seconds of some things, like their tuna tartare with avocado ice cream), Justin and I did a little more wandering. We checked out some of whatever event was going on for World Pride Madrid that night and then went back to our Airbnb.

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 -- Madrid 
As we do, we woke up early to hit up a bakery for pastries and coffee before heading over to Plaza Mayor to go on a free walking tour of Madrid through Sandeman's New Europe Tours.

While on the tour we got to see a bunch of different places in Madrid including; the Royal Palace, the Royal Opera House, the Catedral de Almudena, etc.

It was while on this tour that I found out exactly where the photo in my living room of my Abuela and cousin Yvette was taken. Yvette had told me it was taken outside of the Catedral de Almudena but as I was standing in front of it I realized that the architecture of the building wasn't the same. So I showed the tour guide a copy of the picture and he told me to turn around, that the picture wasn't taken in front of the Catedral de Almudena but in front of the Royal Palace.

So as soon as we were done with the walking tour Justin and I headed back over to the Royal Palace, and my sweet sweet husband paid 25€ each for us to go inside of the palace so I could stand in the same exact spot my Abuela had stood forty years before (Which made me cry when it happened and is making me cry thinking about it because it meant the everything to me).

After taking a bunch of pictures we walked around the palace and through an exhibit they were having.

Once we were done at the palace we headed over to Mercado San Miguel for lunch, where we just ate various bites from different vendors at the market.

When we were full we decided to head back to our Airbnb to relax for a few hours and change before going to Tablao las Carboneras to watch a flamenco show. Which was pretty fucking impressive.

So, that was mine and Justin's first few days in Spain. Hopefully I will have the second part up sometime next week!

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