In doing some checking into Barcelona it seemed like it was not too big or too small plus they have a good metro for getting around. The palm trees in the photos of Barcelona helped seal the deal. It can’t get too cold here in the winter if there are palm trees!
Barcelona has been a mix of resting down time and getting out and about and exploring the city. We worked our way through 4 seventy ride metro cards.
Here’s what we been up to:
We spent time visiting museums and places around town such as:
- Barcelona History Museum (lots of interesting Roman ruins)
- Catalonia History Museum (inexpensive, very interesting, covers prehistory to present time. Hands on, very visual, café is pricey).
- Barcelona Aquarium - interesting but overpriced
- Barcelona Zoo - Nice, spent an enjoyable few hours walking around. Det55 and Ltmgamer took off together to explore for a couple of hours and Enmgamer and I walked around together. We all met up again for lunch. Terrific weather and enjoyable day.
- Museum of Chocolate- how could we pass up a museum devoted to one of my favorite food groups?! The “ticket” is a bar of dark chocolate! Bought chocolates from 4 different shops on the street along the way to the museum because, why not?! Chocolate is medicinal after all.
- Science Museum - We spent several hours here. It is very nicely done including a replica of a section of amazon rainforest complete with periodic rain. This turned out to be the perfect place to visit the day before Paul and Maretta arrived in Barcelona. We were all excited for them to join us so the science museum was a welcome diversion from waiting for their plane to touch down.
- Pablo, Paul's colleague from work, and his wife Elena, met us one Sunday evening for ice cream in a public square and a walk around a neighborhood of Barcelona as well as a stroll past a Gaudi designed house. The best way to experience a culture is by spending time with people who live there. Pablo and Elena are very fun and it was a treat to visit a neighborhood we never would have stumbled across on our own.
We were here for a bit of Barcelona history in the making with the recent separatist vote (countdown clock). One night around 9 or 10pm I heard a very loud noise and at first I didn't know what it was. I stepped out onto the apartment terrace and there was so much sound. It turned out to be people on their balconies and in the apartments all around us banging on pots to show solidarity for independence and protesting that the vote wouldn't be binding. I brought the kids out onto the terrace so they could hear it too. There was more banging for 5 or so minutes other nights not nearly as loud as the first time we heard it.
In the evening we went to see castellers, or “human towers”. Amazing! One of the people at lunch is on the casteller team and it was very interesting talking to him. It takes 200 to 300 people to form a tower. He is one of the people on the bottom layer near the center. His sister is also on the team but he said she isn’t down in the middle because she is a little claustrophobic. He also said you are all squished in together. It is possible to build the towers higher now because they use computers to figure out the optimal placement for everyone. The leader directs the action and can call for them to start over if necessary which is what happened one of the times. They don’t cue the musicians to start playing until they are sure the tower will go up. Once the music (accordion) starts to play they can’t call a do-over. The kids were tired so Lourdes took us back to the train station and she returned to her family for more activities.
Port Aventura turned out to be a terrific place to spend Halloween! There were thousands of pumpkins, giant spiders, goblins and other Halloween decorations. Det55 even got me to go on the tallest roller coaster in Europe. Oh. My. I used to love roller coaster back when I was young, invincible and before I had physics classes. Now they just scare me. I kept my eyes closed most of the time and hoped mightily that the engineers had gotten their physics right and the bolts were all tight. The scariest part was that the restraint holding you in was a bar thing across your thighs so when you in the (hopefully) controlled free fall down the very tall hill you feel like you are lifting out of your seat. Well actually you are lifting out of your seat. That plastic and metal thing across your thighs is the only thing keeping you from certain doom. Fortunately the ride was without mishap and we survived. Det55 even has a shirt that says so.
Here's a video of the ride- crazy right?!? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzhAMvLCEno
We spent many hours at the park. It is divided into different sections such as "China" and "Wild West". The 2 younger kids went on several rides. I mainly stayed earth bound with Enmgamer. By the time we left the park about 9pm it was getting really crowded (it was staying open until 2am for Halloween) and there were scores of people in all kinds of halloween costumes. We all really enjoyed our day at Port Adventura. The kids want to go back next Halloween!