Back on the Horse in Barcelona

Well, we took the train to Barcelona yesterday, a trip the kids had been dreading due to the fact that every person we’ve met over the past month who has been there has had a tale of woe about theft, a touchy subject with us still. We originally intended to go by train while we were in Sauto, and perhaps stay a night. In some ways, I wish we had, because a day wasn’t nearly enough.
Anyway, we knew this first venture back to a big city was important. The kids were convinced we would just spend the whole time lost, wandering aimlessly looking for the sights we had wanted to see, but couldn’t. They were also fairly sure we would be “pick-pocketed”, and our bag would be grabbed off Dev’s back (to the point that two of them held onto it for most of the day). They also suspected that when we returned to our car, parked in Tarragona, a window would be smashed, and whatever random junk was in it would be gone. So, Barcelona had a lot riding on it. It was our “getting back on the horse” moment.
Knowing this, we did our research thoroughly. We spent a couple of hours on line planning our route, finding the locations of the Gaudi buildings we wanted to see, getting directions to the Picasso Museum, studying the Metro lines, jotting down potential train times to come back to Tarragona…we even packed a lunch to avoid wasting time looking for a good spot to eat. We were well prepared.
And I am happy to report, it was a success. We did not get robbed, or lost, and we saw everything we expected to see. We walked miles – but none of them were aimless – found our train station easily, and negotiated the Metro without a hitch.
Barcelona is a beautiful city, and despite its size and reputation, it seemed infinitely more friendly and well kept than Rome or Athens. We have been so impressed by the tree-lined pedestrian areas in Spain, like La Rambla in Barcelona, and even Rambla Nova in Tarragona. There are lots of benches in pleasant areas, parks and green spaces, huge squares, and graffiti has been at a minimum compared to most places we’ve been.
The Gaudi buildings were amazing, and to add a little appeal for the kids, very Dr Seuss-like. We did regret not being able to go into La Sagrada Familia though. Massive lineups we just didn’t have time to wait in. In retrospect, it probably would have been a better idea to wait for that rather than go to the Picasso museum. It really wasn’t as big a hit as the Dali one, even though the two older girls spent an inordinate amount of time on his early work, looking at each painting from every possible angle, and seemingly examining every detail. We had to go drag them out of the first three rooms (knowing there were 12 more to go). We needn’t have worried though, because they kind of whizzed disgustedly through the last rooms, the ones with his later works. Why would someone with such immense talent decide to start painting like a little kid, anyway? Mad.
We have since done a little more research into Cubism, and so it all makes a bit more sense. But still, at the risk of sounding like a total philistine, I have to agree. I don’t really get it.
Anyway, all in all, we had a great day, and we are all breathing a little easier about our impending trip to Paris now that we are back on the horse!
Having said that, I asked the girls to write a persuasive piece about Barcelona this morning, and although two of them were positive, the third one was entitled, No. First sentence?
Barcelona is not a good place for a nine year old to visit…







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3 thoughts on “Back on the Horse in Barcelona

  1. Glad Barcelona was a success! In Paris, at the Louis Vuitton store on the Champs, there is an elevator that takes you up to the top floor which is a gallery. Most people don’t know about it. The elevator is pitch black with an attendant. I think the elevator and the exhibit are by Olafur Eliasson. I swear I didn’t dream this! Also, you may know this, but going to the top of the Arc de Triomphe is well worth the admission. If you can, go so you can span both daylight and evening to see the lights. I preferred it to the Eiffel Tower. Betty and I lined up for the Louvre about 30 minutes or more before opening…there is still a long line, but it moves quickly and fun to people watch.

    • Thanks, Terry. I didn’t know any of that. How was the Louvre? Worth it? And I assume since you told me about the Louis Vuitton gallery, it’s actually worth going up? I have to limit my gallery time in case Liah kills me!

      Sent from my iPad

  2. Yeah, the LV gallery is free and is really just a 10 minute detour (it’s very small – like 3 small exhibit rooms – more of a novelty) and you will be walking right by the store. The Louvre…well, I’d say if you are pressed for time, skip it. It’s huge and packed with people and not really an enjoyable experience to be honest. Betty couldn’t get out of there fast enough. It burns 3/4 of a day easy and you could spend days there. Take a part of the $ you would have spent on Louvre and do the Arc. 9 Euro for each of you and Dev and the kids are free. It’s really worth it for the views. Last admission is 30 minutes before closing. Not sure if you’ve been to Paris before, but what I loved about it was you can do Arc, Eiffel, Notre Dame, the champs etc all in one easy day/walk. Very accessible. Sacre Coeur is a short metro hop and worth it as is in a neat part of town with a great view of the city…it’s the accordion playing, cafe, bohemian neighbourhood. Slightly seedy right off the metro, but part of its charm. If anyone wants to do the Jim Morrison grave pilgrimage, research on the net where exactly it is in the cemetery as you can kill an hour trying to find it. Unless you were hardcore, I’d just google image it and call it a day.

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