Buenos noches a todos (if I said that correctly)! Today marks the final day of our EuroTrip. I’m just going to go ahead and say that Barcelona has been my favorite city visited on this vacation. It is so unique and has a flavor all its own. It’s a big city with plenty to do and see and it also sits next to a beach. What more could you want? I also think the food here has been my favorite… So many tapas, so little time.
Today we slept in until about 10AM, woke up, ate breakfast at the hotel and then went back to bed. So outside of the hotel breakfast, not unlike a typical Saturday for us. Sleeping in felt great considering we really haven’t slept in much on this trip. We finally got up and got moving in time for our motorcycle tour through the city. That’s right… I said motorcycle tour.
Our guide, João (pronounced ‘Joe-ow’; Portugeuse for John) came to pick us up at our hotel around 2:50PM. He was originally from Portugal but has lived in Spain for over ten years. He was a cool guy… A hipster Spaniard with neat hipster glasses. The motorcycle was old school and looked Iike it was made in the 60s. So how do three people ride on one motorcycle do you ask? It had a sidecar of course! Being fearful of motorcycles, I rode in the sidecar and Todd rode on the bike behind João. We headed out throughout the city and he explained the history of Barcelona… How the Moors came over from Northern Africa and Arab nations and that’s where Spaniards get their typically dark features from (olive skin, dark hair, etc). He also explained how Catalonia came to be and how the Catalonians thrived during medieval times. The marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon to Isabell of Castille changed all this, uniting all regions of Spain to make a more powerful country, but taking away the affluencey (word?) of Catalonia. We are glad this marriage happened because of the part they played in Columbus discovering the new world… But the Catalonians have pushed and fought for years (even into present day) to become their own independent state, with a language and culture of its own. We also learned about Gaudi (God’s architect) and his commercial work for the city of Barcelona. There are private residences that have been repurposed into commercial businesses designed by Gaudi but he eventually gave this up and dedicated the last years of his life to the church and the design of Sagrada Familia.
Now that I’ve given you a history lesson and bored you, I’ll get back to the ride. After stopping and honking at several Asian tourists who would stop and stand idly in the middle of the street, we eventually stopped to stretch our legs and I got ballsy enough to trade places with Todd and ride on the back of the bike. João drove slowly so it wasn’t that scary and I felt like a badass. He took us through various districts in town… La Rambla (touristy famous street), Passieg de Gracia (rich district…all your designer stores and rich people), the Olympic Village (designed for the 1992 Olympic games), Barceloneta (beach and marina area where you can see the Christopher Colombus statue) and finally in some district (can’t remember the name) where several Arabic immigrants have settled in the area (this makes up a good chunk of their Islamic population). We ended the tour in a part of town that was really laid back and somewhere we’d hang out on our own if we lived in Barcelona (can’t remember this district name either). João gave us suggestions on places to eat and also advised us to try vermouth, another liquor they are famous for in Barcelona. It was amazing! A nice change from what I’m used to. Sweet but spicy at the same time. After we parted ways with João, we walked around and did a little shopping. I stumbled into a vintage store and purchased some sunglasses circa 1975 and they are huge. You know I love some big sunglasses! They also had a vintage Hermes bag that was beautiful but since the cost is a quarter of our monthly mortgage, it just wasn’t meant to be. I’ll remember it fondly, though.
We finished the evening with more tapas and a final jug of sangria. This time the sangria was super delicious and light… Not overly sugary. Maybe we got a bad batch the first night. In any case, we ended the trip on a great note and I’m about ten pounds heavier and super happy (fat and happy as they say).
I hope you’ve enjoyed my account of our EuroTrip! If anything, I hope it provides some guidance if you plan any upcoming travel to any of these countries… or at least a laugh or some good toilet reading. We had an amazing trip and if you read any of these blogs, I’m glad you were along for the ride with us. Now it’s back to Texas to see my Frannie-dog!
Arrivederci, au revior and buenos noches!