spreadsheets and suitcases

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Europalooza Trip Report Part 13: wrapping up Barcelona :)

on June 15, 2019

Funny story first: my husband read that last blog entry, and afterwards he mentioned to me that he had completely forgotten about the Telepizza incident!  He’d simply cleared it from his mind, and reading it here reminded him of the whole thing.  Then, he mentioned that the other restaurant we’d tried was really good, and when was I going to write about that one?  My turn…I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.  It turns out, I had also experienced some Barcelona amnesia.  He described a meal of local food that he had gone out and picked up very near the hotel.  When pressed, he had no other details.  I was mystified, and went searching among the trip receipts for evidence.  There it was!  A meal costing 29 euros at something called Restaurante Bar El Otro Romero.  According to the receipt, it was the same night as the Telepizza incident.  Or what I THOUGHT was the Telepizza incident- it turns out I transposed the dates of these meals.

But that’s not the only thing I got wrong- when looking through the receipts I found something else.  I completely forgot another reason the ride home on the tourist bus took so long.  We stopped at El Corte Inglés! It came flooding back.  I knew a huge Corte was available along the tourist bus route, and we’d missed going to the one in Seville because it was closed on New Year’s Day.  I wanted to buy some more food, and as we approached it, DS said he needed to use the restroom.  So we hopped off.

corte bcn

The Corte store at Centro Comercial Plaça de Catalunya,  This pic is from their official website.  It reminded me of the multistory Macy’s- Herald Square.

First stop, bathroom.  Or not.  It was HUGELY crowded in the whole store- it was just a few days before the Día de los Reyes Magos, which is celebrated much more intensely in Spain than Christmas Day.  The elevators were jammed.  We went up and down numerous flights of stairs to try and find a bathroom that wasn’t closed for cleaning.  It took nearly a half an hour to use the bathroom- we found one in the back of the women’s clothes department, and it had a very slow line, too.  I was sweating and frustrated, but once we all used the restroom we felt fresher.  I wandered around the kitchenware department, but didn’t buy anything.

Finally, we stopped down at the supermarket.  Here, I was able to buy the French sea salt that I had missed out on in Paris, some more chocolate Euros to take home, some English milk chocolate for DD, and some more jamón serrano for DH/DD to snack on in the room, and to take home.  That task done, we hightailed it out of there and went back to the hotel, where DH went out and bought a really good but clearly forgettable meal from a nearby restaurant, lol.  OK, now we are all caught up.

The next day dawned and our plan was to check out the Palau de la Música Catalana and the Boquería market, do some last souvenir shopping, and have an early dinner with another of DH’s dear friends.  I wistfully thought about the Olympic Stadium that we probably wouldn’t get to- it would take a while to get there, and I didn’t want to cut it too close with regard to meeting DH’s friend.

We started with another delicious breakfast at the hotel.  I felt free as a bird, with no printed tickets in my purse.  We wouldn’t be entering any attractions that required payment, thank goodness.  Our first stop was the Palau.  I’ve loved the look of this building since I first saw it in a photograph in 2002!  It’s yet another World Heritage Site in Barcelona, and I wish I could’ve taken a look at the actual concert halls.  Next time!  I did get a somewhat blurry picture of the lobby’s ornate ceiling.

palau2

Holy bad angle, Batman!  I solemnly swear to take fewer photos from below.

palau1

Pretty mosaic details.  That’s the huge Marks & Spencer shopping tote I got at the airport in Paris.

palau3

This is a spectacular sculpture called The Catalan Song, by Miquel Blay.  You can more of the facade of the building here.  This pic is from the Palau’s website.

I liked walking around in this neighborhood- the Casc Antic or Old Quarter.  We’d gotten off at the Urquinaona Metro stop, and had an easy walk to the Palau.  Outside, there were any number of souvenir shops.  We had a good shopping trip here- DD got some beautiful abanicos, or fans, I got cool magnet, DH found a great t-shirt, and DS got another pad/pen combo.  He was happy for the additional paper, as he’d been feverishly using a cool multi-color crayon thing we gotten for him at the Sagrada Familia gift shop.  There were other cool shops here, including the Barcelona Disney Store 🙂  I actually didn’t buy anything!  We stopped in a bizarre purse store- the expensive bags were mostly in shapes of food, like doughnuts and hamburgers.  The most interesting thing in the store was the salesgirl, who was desperate to know what kind of foundation (makeup) DD was using.  We told her it was a Maybelline product from the USA, and her eyes lit up- she was familiar with the brand and knew where it was sold.  We didn’t give her a sale, but we did make her day.

A very short walk up the world-famous Ramblas later, we made it to the Boquería market.  We were meeting DH’s friend in about an hour, so we took a nice slow stroll around, looking at all the food stalls.  We bought a mango drink for DD, which made her gag.  I tasted it, and gagged as well- it was just liquefied mango.  Sounds OK, but it was super thick and stringy, and desperately needed something to thin it out and add balance to the sweetness.  Ugh- struck out on that one.  Next, we found some nice artisanal chocolate, which DS rejected in favor of an orange soda and candy bar from a non-Boquería affiliated shop.  So much for high culture!  I stayed on track by buying some candied nuts from a lovely lady at an absolutely beautiful stall.  I still think about how good they were- a perfect blend of salty and sweet.

la boqueria

Mercat de la Boqueria

By now it had been a few hours since breakfast, and about time to meet DH’s friend.  She was going to take us to her house in the suburbs, so she drove into the city to pick us up.  We arrived at the meeting point, and she was already there.  Warm hugs all around, then we got in the car.  It’d only been around 15 minutes when DS said he felt sick.  I whipped out a plastic bag just in time for him to throw up in it.  We pulled over near a bakery, and DH ran in to buy a plain roll to help settle DS’s stomach.  Poor kid 😦

Afterwards, he felt better, and even fell asleep for a little bit.  We took our friend up on her offer of a perimeter tour of the city.  First stop- driving by Montjuic, or Jewish Mountain.  It’s said to be the birthplace of Barcelona, and is home to several attractions like the Palau Nacional (the Catalonian Art Museum), the Fundació Joan Miró, and the Magic Fountain. We missed it on this trip, but…next time! Also, I’m not convinced it could be as good as Epcot’s Fountain of Nations, which I just read is being demolished as part of an overhaul to the Epcot entrance area, boooooo.

Anyway, DH’s friend made me extremely happy when she offered to take us up the hill to the Olympic Stadium!  Ok, in 1992, leading up to the Barcelona Olympics, I saw a segment on NBC about the man who was going to light the Olympic torch- with a flaming arrow!  When it aired live, I was giddy with anticipation.  It worked, and remains my favorite torch-lighting at any Games, ever.

So, it was my turn, these many years later, to see (part of) the stadium!  Woohoo!

bcn olympic1

Greeting in Catalan, Spanish, and English.

bcn olympic2

Of course, I mimed loosing an arrow at the cauldron.

We needed to get DS on solid ground, and so headed out to the house, seeing a last few sights on the way.

The rest of the evening passed quickly with a warm, wonderful, and delicious family dinner.  And, we were gifted a gorgeous mosaic-themed cup and saucer set, plus a really cool-looking backpack.  I was pleased to have bought along some chocolate-covered macadamia nuts from Hawaii to give in return.  Promising to continue to keep in touch, DH’s friend drove us back to our hotel, and along the way, offered to take us to the airport the next morning.  We declined, saying that we had enough value on our transit passes to get there.  She insisted, though, stating (accurately) that we had a long day of travel ahead of us, and it didn’t have to start with an hour on public transit.

So, it was time to pack.  I did so with a plan in mind (of course).  I stuffed our eBags rolly full of things we wouldn’t need until reaching Honolulu, with the idea that we could keep it closed while in NJ- except to remove one thing.  I had the Disneyland Paris glass, the ceramic trivets from Sevilla and this Barcelona cup-and-saucer set as part of the “fragile” pile.  I set things up so that it would be easy to remove the glass to give to my parents to pass along to my sister, then fill in that space with whatever.

In the end, the backpack that we had received helped a lot- its dimensions counted as a personal item, and thus wouldn’t be an intra-European problem for our first flight the next day (from Barcelona to Munich).  So we now had 6 bags, a bunch of magnets, and countless memories to take home 🙂

Next up, traveling back to the States.  Where is that plane, anyway? *dun dun dun*

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