Sunday, May 13, 2012

Barcelona! with kids :)

We recently went to Barcelona with both girls and my preggo self (it's a factor) and had a lovely time! There were some places that really stood out to me that I want to send a shout out to, and some lessons learned :)
So, in totally random order....
First- you can get an entire apartment in Barcelona for about the same price as a hotel! We went through and found a great deal! I will say, read, read, read the reviews. Our apartment was a great price, but really not a great apartment. Though the location was incredible! We were in Barceloneta which is down on the beach and within 2 minutes of our slightly ghetto apartment, there were fabulous eateries, the beach (where you can get an entire pitcher of liquor to go to take down to the water with you- love it.), an organic store/eatery, an enormous market, a playground, fresh bakeries...I could go on! Needless to say, we didn't spend a lot of time in the apartment with it's lovely paper thin walls. Though looking back it was worth it to have a separate room for the girls and a kitchen. We are not morning people. Okay, the hubby is, but the girls and I aren't. We need a little time before we're ready for our public so if breakfast can be had in the room, so much the better! We did come across another apartment rental place when we couldn't find our apartment (nicest cabbie EVER) and the lovely lady working there helped us much more than our apartment company, it was called (the good one) Apartment Barcelona. So while I can't vouch for their lodgings, I can for their customer service which was incredible especially since we weren't their customers!
This is me showing off the brilliance of the foldout bed that actually hangs OVER the edge of the  loft. Classy.

I love 3 year olds. They can sleep through anything!

The first night we got there we were hungry and the kids were gremlinish (read: nice restaurants-out) so we ended up stopping at what we thought was donner kabobs from the sign (for my American friends- that's like a Turkish version of Greek food- think gyro) but it turned out to be Pakistani & Indian food and it was incredible! And, have to love Barcelona, we didn't realize it was 10pm and were eating till we left, and no one blinked an eye! With our kids. Crack me up. I couldn't find a website for them, but the name was Mar Brava Curry House at Almirante Cervera 31, 08003 Barcelona and if you find yourself near there- ignore the outside and go in and eat until you can't take another bite! Nom!

Pigeons abound in Barcelona and the Spanish are brilliant. Shoe them away? Nope. Sell bird food to the tourists! That might be the best 3 euro I spent on that trip! The birds are in on it and will just come right up to you and eat out of your hand. And if you can keep yourself still, will land on you. This was at Pla├ža Catalunya. 

Next shout out goes to Barcelona Rent a Bike. Did we rent bikes? Nope. But when the wheel on our stroller decided to start squeaking, really, really, embarrassingly loudly we stopped in with the hope they might just tell us where we could buy some oil spray? Better! They fixed right there on the spot, and were really nice about it! And learned a new English word: Squeaky. He thought that was hilarious. But I was so thankful to no longer be those people on the metro I grabbed his card to share them!

There is an excellent zoo in Barcelona! All the standard cool things kids like, but also a good cappuccino, excellent ice cream and the hubby's fav, beer! We had a lovely cathedral break watching the seals and tigers and what not! And lots of benches. At 6 months preggo, I was lovin' those benches. And the ice cream...

Back near our apartment we wandered about a bit looking for dinner when big A asked if we could go to a place with a playground. I politely explained that wasn't likely, but sure, if she could find one, we'd go. I mean, what are the odds, right? Dude. God heard her. And me, yum! We found this little spot literally next to a fenced playground (when you have a 3 year old, that fence bit is clutch.) and the food was delish! Best I had in Barcelona! I had a pesto, pine nut, pasta, medley something with a fabulous salad that was so good, I don't even remember what everyone else ate. Well, Lil A ate half my pasta- they are pesto fiends like their mother- but the dessert. Oh. The dessert. It was based on Tiramisu, and then they managed to fold in just a little bit of heaven to go with it. I wiped the bowl clean. Had the kids not been there, I may have licked it clean after that! The atmosphere there was wonderful too, a little bohemian chic, some tunes, funky bartenders, luckily it was also a bit loud because Lil A thought the bartender with "rooster hair" was quite funny (mohawk.)
Filferro. Fabulouso.

What's next? Ah yes, i love Kutchi! We passed this adorable looking shop while wandering and the hubby agreed to hold down the girls so I could peek in! I must explain, it's all adorable handmade kids things, with lots and lots and lots of pink. Asking the kids to just hold back on their own in there would be like asking me the same thing in a cheese shop. Just silly. I found the cutest little shoes and bib for JoeBob (the yet to be named man cub.) And the gal who ran the shop was so nice and gave the girls each a sheet of PINK stickers. Happiness is.
She even decorated her tree pink. I cannot express accurately the girls pleasure with this idea.

How cute is this? How could I not go in?? It's a good thing the hubby was there or I'd have needed more luggage home!
 This entertained me. First you have to understand, alcohol in Europe is not like America. It's not perceived like it is in America. It's everywhere, literally, but no one is shit faced. So you get beer at the zoo, and mixed drinks at children's museums- it's a totally different perspective. But I had to love this place. We're at a park that has a cafe next to it. But when I get closer I see, it's not really a cafe, I mean sure, they have some chips, but really, it's a bar. 7 types of gin and a tire swing. I mean, could it get better? Oh yes, the bartender had his tunes rocking! I was dancing and grooving till the girls were in stitches! And no, I didn't have any of the gin. Side note- if rocking out to a great song in a bathroom while your daughter powders her nose and said bathroom is in a trailer- be aware of how much you're rocking the trailer! I'm pretty sure the barkeep was laughing!

Why do I love Barcelona? Because you sit here on this beautiful beach, pay 6 euro and get a chair for the day, and the bartenders come to you- would you like a salad? sandwich? pitcher of sangria?

However the massage ladies will also come by asking, "you want massaggee?" roughly 20x/hour. Seriously. I was tempted to put a post it note on my head saying no. Though on the bonus side the girls thought it was funny and gave us some massages!
 Longest post ever. Didn't see that one coming, guess I had some things to say! So- markets! Barcelona has incredible food markets if you can arrange yourself a kitchen! Though still worth a walk through without- I will say, those tasty fruit cups up front? They're half off farther back! Walk through, then decide. Hubby found these little pixos they call them- basically bite size snacks- on a stick- for 1 euro! Something about meat on a stick, it calls to him. You should have seen the time he got a pork chop on a stick....that's another story. It was like the girls and the pink tree...

How can you not love the castanet guy?

Gaudi. Gaudi, Gaudi, Gaudi... You can't not love his work, though you can't not simultaneously realize he was smoking something! Note- up a STEEP HILL. A really, really long, steep hill. There are some escalators. Not enough. Luckily this place was worth it because we were sweating (and it wasn't hot) by the time we got up there! Looking back I'd totally pay a taxi to take me up next time! Park Guell was beautiful!
Because you can't not have chocolate and churros in Barcelona! 

Best beer in Barcelona. Hands down. I'm trying to find a way to get some here!

Alright, I quite! There's Barcelona in a nut shell for you! And if you lucky, in 4 months I'll get my act together again and share some more ;)

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