Barcelona

We flew into Barcelona from Zurich Friday night and made it to our apartment just in time to grab dinner at a normal Spanish hour (this means 10pm) then fall asleep. We stumbled upon a (meaning you throw a rock and hit 3) a tapas bar, which was perfect for our first meal here.

Home for 9 days
My first sangria of the trip, nom nom
Saturday we kept with tradition and went on a free walking tour to explore the city. It was a ridiculously beautiful day out; the sun was shinning, highs of 70 degrees and not a cloud in sight! The founding of Barcelona is the subject of two different legends. The first attributes the founding of the city to the mythological Hercules. The second legend is based on the founding of the city directly to the historical Carthaginian Hamilcar Barca, father of Hannibal. I like the first one better, but much to my dismay, like most cities in Europe, the area was actually developed by the Romans. Lame.

Old Roman city walls
Plaça del Rei

Barcelona Cathedral/La Seu (Cathedral of Santa Eulalia)
Picasso's Public Art
Harbor
The monument to Christopher Columbus
We walked up La Rambla, and toward Montjuïc Castle, which is an old military fortress, dating back from 1640, built on top of Montjuïc hill On our way up the hill, we stopped at a tiny tiny tapas bar, Quimet & Quimet, that was recommended by my coworker. The place was packed to the brim, but the food was great. We go a few sampler plates to try a few things because why not!? D was also excited because they had a house beer that was pretty good, I, on the other hand, have been sampling alllllll of the sangria and have been loving it!

Lunch
After, we continued our quest and continued hiking the hill and finally made it to the top of the hill and found the castle. It was such a beautifully clear day, you could see for miles up the coast in addition to the whole city and harbor.

Montjuïc Castle
Mediterranean Sea
Barcelona
Barcelona
Catalan flag
Sunday we were able to sleep in which was magical magical thing after a 35,000/15 mile day (thank you FitBit) of walking around the city on Saturday. We started off the day by walking down to Barcelona Cathedral to listen to a small orchestra playing on the steps of the cathedral while older community members danced traditional Catalonian dances.


Traditional Catalan dance
Inside the cathedral 
The 13 geese for Saint Eulalia
La Rambla street
An artist square where I successfully found my new piece of art to bring home. 
Mercat del Born Archaeological site.
The remains of Barcelona from the 14th - 17th century.
After a siesta (I really could get used to this kind of tradition), we went over to a beautiful restaurant named El Nacional to meet an Argentinian couple we met at dinner the previous night.

Yes, that is a man carving a cured pigs leg at a bar
So far, my assessment of Barcelona is that there is an irresistible energy: you feel it on the bustling streets and market squares; you see it in the incredible architecture and museums; you taste it in the fabulous food. In summary, this city is amazing.

Things we have learned

  • When the green man light in the cross walk starts to blink, that means "run MF, run"
  • Scooters/motorcycles drive on the sidewalks here (Thailand? Is that you?)
  • There is a floor between the ground floor  and 1st in Spain, it's called the Principal and the terrace is actually ground level in the courtyard.... which is not the same level as the street. I don't know how this works, something about the city being 3 meters higher than when it was built or something.
  • The streets are curved so you never walk in straight line
  • Tapas plates are restaurants that you order small plates, tapas bars are a buffet like tapas that you pick with sticks that indicate different pricing and then your tab is calculated from that.
  • Catalan is a completely different language from Spanish and the natives here are 100% bilingual more so than any other culture in the world.

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