Mar
21

Parc del Guinardó, Barcelona

We have been trying to intersperse our Barcelona city explorations with days at parks. While our family really enjoys visiting cities, we are not city people. To maintain a healthy balance for our one-month stay in Barcelona we have been seeking out areas of the city where we can get a dose of nature and fresh air (well, as fresh as you can get when inside a major city).

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Barcelona is a port city that is surrounded by hills. On one of those hills lies Parc del Guinardó. We spent a day wandering up the many paths in this park, slowly making our way to the top where we were rewarded with an amazing vantage point over the city of Barcelona. Read the rest of this entry »

Mar
19

Montjuïc Cemetery, Barcelona

When figuring out our activities for the day we decided to check out Montjuïc Fountain. When looking on Google Maps I noticed that it seemed quite close to Montjuïc Cemetary. After a quick google search which showed beautiful sculptures at the cemetery we decided to combine the fountain with a side trip to the cemetery.

Our day soon turned comical as we tried to navigate our way over the hill from the fountain, through the eerily abandoned Olympic village, and then up a hill that at one time must have been beautifully manicured but now lays in neglect with overgrown pathways and dead ends. My advice to you is to come to the cemetery from the front side instead of the back. If you come from the back, like we did, you may be greeted with a slightly eery feeling of being in an abandoned area where the locals don’t seem to venture. Indeed, we were beginning to wonder if we had stepped into the twilight zone!

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Mar
17

The Dogs of Barcelona

So, this is a diversion from the type of posts I usually write, but I must tell you all about the dogs of Barcelona because I just can’t get over how strange I find the dog culture here!

There are ALOT of dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, purebreds, mutts. I have never seen so many pet dogs in a city before. And there seems to be a dog park around every corner. We continuously come across them when we are out and about exploring the city. People here must really love dogs.

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Now comes the part I find fascinating. All of the dogs we have seen are SO well behaved. I’m not talking dogs that are nice and friendly, I am talking about dogs that completely ignore everyone but their owners. Dogs that walk past other dogs with barely a sniff. Dogs that walk past people without a glance. We have yet to have one single dog come up to us in greeting. They stick to their owner’s side and they mind their own business.

Now I don’t know what dogs behave like in your neck of the woods, but we are used to dogs coming over to say hello, having a sniff, checking out other dogs, and maybe even a little misbehaving.

And the strangest thing of all is that I would say about 40% of the dogs we have seen are off leash….IN THE CITY!

There must be one heck of an obedience school business in Barcelona.

Have you been to Barcelona? Did you notice the well-behaved dogs?

Mar
14

The Beautiful Buildings in Barcelona’s Gothic District

Barcelona’s Gothic District is breathtaking. For our new-to-Europe family, we are amazed the by the quantity of beautiful, old, intricate buildings, the vast squares filled with cafes, and the amount of art that greats us around every corner.

Think narrow alleyways, grand gothic churches, boutique shops, cheesy tourist memorabilia, and beautiful buildings one after the other. There are so many beautiful buildings in this district that every single one deserves to have its picture taken. I wish my pictures did it more justice…I am not a photographer, I am a point-and-shoot iPhone kind of family travel blogger! Ha!

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Mar
11

Exploring the Famous Parc Guell

I have had a bit of a fascination with Parc Guell. Ever since we decided to spend a month in Barcelona I have been seeing pictures of the iconic Gaudi architecture of Parc Guell showing up in my social media feeds. It is easy to feel inspired by fellow family travelers when that is the sort of media you surround yourself with!

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Mar
08

Barcelona’s Free Museum Days

On the first Sunday of each month, many of Barcelona’s museums offer free entry. Once we learned this, we knew that our family needed to take advantage of this offer! We decided to see as many museums as we could in a single day. Most of the museums are concentrated around the touristy Gothic District so we took a bus from our Airbnb into that area and then we were able to walk to each museum. We managed to see four of them and by the end of the day were completely exhausted!

We figured that our family of four saved approximately 160 € by taking advantage of Bacelona’s Free Museum Day! There is no way that we would have had the budget to see all of these museums so we are so grateful for the free entries. We have also learned that there are many museums in Barcelona that have free admission every Sunday from 3pm to 5pm. We have decided that we will take advantage of this offer as well, seeing one museum on each Sunday that we are in Barcelona.

Tips:

  • Pack a lunch or go to one of the cafes that has ready made sandwiches and pizzas for cheap. Don’t waste time on lunch!
  • Take transport! While we have been trying to walk to our destinations if it takes less than an hour, on this day we took the bus. We knew it would be an exhausting day and did not want to waste time or energy.
  • Go to the most popular museums first. Free days are VERY popular and many museums will give you an entrance time that can be hours away. Plan accordingly so that you can see the less popular museums while you are waiting for your admission start time.
  • See as many museums as you can and save your Euros to travel more!

Read the rest of this entry »

Mar
06

Playing Minotaurs in Labyrinth Park, Barcelona

Parc del Laberint d’Horta is now our favorite park in Barcelona. Well…we’ve only been to two parks so far but this park is well worth the small effort it takes to get to it. The park is outside of the main city but it was totally easy for us to take the #45 bus to the bus stop closest to the entrance and then walk the rest of the way. You can also take the metro, but for where we are staying in our Airbnb, it was easier to take the bus.

The kids (and adults!) were pretty darn excited to check out a real labyrinth and we were not disappointed. The park is actually the former estate of the Desvalls family, who must have been pretty loaded. The cost to enter was 7.10 Euros for our family. Well worth the price!

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Mar
04

A Walk In Barcelona

Our first day in Barcelona was rough. It started with getting totally ripped off in the taxi ride from the airport to our Airbnb and it ended in projectile vomit. Our eldest fell sick that first night and barely made it off the couch the next day. Luckily we are here for a month so, while we were ACHING to go exploring, I was able to make the most of a home day by catching up on work.

On our first day of explorations, we decided to just walk and see where the day would take us. We walked. And walked. And walked. We found so many incredible buildings and statues and a beautiful park. We also found a lot of graffiti (it is EVERYWHERE!) and garbage in some areas…just so you know it is not all lovely!

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Feb
27

Explorations in Rainy England

The day we landed in England was a complete write-off. Only our youngest managed to sleep on the plane (for less than an hour) the rest of us had not a wink. Our captain had warned us that we would have a very bumpy landing. Winds were over 50 mph for the last half hour of our plane ride which jostled our plane around quite a bit. Being very prone to motion sickness, I did my best to hold down my cookies.

When we finally landed we could not get off the plane.  The crew was having technical difficulties getting the bridge to attach to the plane and we were literally stuck on the plane for about 30 minutes! Our Uncle, who was picking us up at the airport, was beginning to worry that our family had been detained. But passport control was a breeze, we had a very friendly and chatty agent welcome us to England. Then it was straight to our Uncle’s and straight to bed for all of us.

Jet lag only took us two days to get over. That is the fastest we have ever gotten over jet lag. It helps that England is only 8 hours ahead of our time zone. When we go to Thailand the difference is 13 hours which seems to take longer to get used to. The first morning we woke up at 4 am for the day and then PUSHED ourselves to stay up until 8 pm. Then we slept from 8 pm until 10 am and felt right as rain! Read the rest of this entry »

Feb
21

The Night Before Take Off

Tomorrow we fly to London.

I wonder if it ever gets easier. This traveling the world thing. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times we set off on another great adventure, I am always completely stressed out with high anxiety before each and every trip. On our very first international trip with children, I had an anxiety attack on our first night in Hong Kong. Ugh. Traveling can be hard.

There always seems to be those last minute unexpected circumstance.  We have had ear infections, sprained ankles, the flu, and strange rashes 24 hours before departures. This time around one of our sons woke up with a mild grade fever and a sore throat. Here is to hoping he gets better by tomorrow and the rest of us fail to catch the evil germs.

We are now tucked away in our hotel room for the night, eating our reality of staying on budget for three months in Europe. What does that mean? It means a pre-hotel stop at a grocery store to purchase frozen dinners and an easy breakfast. Spending $60 on a meal out is not in our forecast if we can help it. On the up side, our frozen curries weren’t all too bad and the kids have had their first introduction to Pizza Pops. Errrr. Maybe that is not a good thing. Read the rest of this entry »

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