Posts Tagged With: Europe with kids

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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