Spain: The New Frontier.
It was great to visit the set of Buried while we were traveling, but Chris and I also wanted to see the beautiful city of Barcelona. And while I didn't take 14,350 photos (I'm still laughing that you thought this was actually true - am I that much of a nerd?!), we did use that Nikon enough to wear out the battery.
This might be a bit of a long post.
Chris and I received so many great suggestions before we left, so once we arrived, we felt ready to explore. (The only thing we weren't quite ready for was the price of cab rides, which forced us to explore the metro system, which actually turned out to be a good idea and eventually we were whizzing around Barcelona on the very efficient metro system, which has the trains timed to the second and everything is color-coded and good for people with a limited sense of direction and hey, a run-on-sentence.)
The first day we were there seemed to go on forever. We flew over from JFK on Thursday night, arriving in London on Friday morning (with the time change), and then connecting to Barcelona. By the time we arrived in Barcelona at around 2 pm, we were exhausted, punchy, and too wired to sleep. So we explored our hotel. And then we visited the set of Buried.
After a dinner out with the crew, we didn't get to bed until around 3 am (thanks to jet-lag, my new best buddy). Which meant we didn't roll out of bed until around 1 pm the following day. But once we had become semi-human again, we set off to explore the city for a few days.
La Rambla was one of our favorite places in Barcelona, because it was alive with shops, restaurants, street performers, and both tourists and locals. We saw street performers who waited until you dropped a coin into their bucket before they'd make the skeletons ride their bikes, or before they would molest you with their claws. There were baby bunnies for sale, the best of a florist's wares, and even some giant plastic sausages. (Click through on the pictures to have that make even the remotest bit of sense.)
Off one of the side streets was Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boquería - which Chris and I couldn't pronounce with finesse so we just called it "that market." This was an open-air market selling fresh fruit, fish, smoothies, and enough candy to ward off the lows of hundreds of diabetics (including candy shaped like hamburgers). Just a few coins can buy a delicious snack!
It didn't seem like we slept much while we were traveling. We were up late, on the set for some of the time, wandering around the city, and eating. But there wasn't an issue with weight gain, because Barcelona is set up such that people are walking everywhere. Even though we didn't make it to the gym at all that week, we got more than our fair share of exercise in by walking for hours on end.
La Sagrada Familia is an unfinished Gaudi church in the center of Barcelona, and it came highly recommended. The SEO guru at work told me that the church is built on keywords from the Bible, thus rendering me unable to think of Sagrada Familia as anything other than "the SEO church." This structure has been under construction since 1882 and isn't slated to be finished until 2030. (That's longer than the Big Dig!) It was designed by Antoni Gaudi, who apparently dominated the city of Barcelona, architecturally speaking, as his buildings are everywhere. (And some look like gingerbread houses.)
We also saw the The Arc de Triomf in Parc de la Ciutadella, which was impressive. The park also played host to one of the most ornate fountains I've ever seen, complete with golden horses and water-spitting griffins. La Cascada was beautiful, and even when a lady threw her water bottle into it so that her dog could go diving madly after it, the fountain still retained some air of opulence.
We visited the beautiful Park Guell, designed by Gaudi. This park provided some great panoramic views of the city from the top of one of the scenic lookouts. The main entrance was made of enormous columns that supported a terrace where shopkeepers and visitors dining out could enjoy the view. And in addition to the giant lizard guarding the front entrance by a fountain, there were people dressed up as said lizard and taking pictures with tourists. Very cool. This was one of my favorite spots we visited.
Barcelona was beautiful. Our reason for being there is still something I can't quite wrap my head around. (And no, diabetes was not a happy camper on this trip. I went through more glucose tabs in a week than I usually do in six months. But that's a whole different post.) But I think that this was a great first European stop, and we're already planning our next trip. :)
There's a whole mess of pictures on my Flickr account, if you want to take a closer look at Barcelona, but fret not - there aren't 14,350 of them. (Note: Per usual, Chris wanted to keep photos of him for family only, so while I didn't go on vacation by myself, it sort of looks like it from the perspective of the photos.)