Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Barcelona Holiday, Part II

I know it's taken me a long time to get blogging on our holiday in Barcelona; however, I have had a hectic few weeks since getting back from holiday. I was on call for work all week in the week we got back and have had some horrendous shifts at work. That and Lauren has not been sleeping all that well at night, so Jase and I have been pretty shattered.

Barcelona was fabulous. Jase and I had not been before, and neither had Hube nor Bonnie. Mum and Dad had been once before and had stayed in the centre of town (literally on La Rambla) but had only stayed a few days and hadn't even known that there was a beach there.

We stayed in one of the beach districts called Barceloneta, which was the old fishermen's quarter. We had rented an apartment which turned out to be spacious and clean, if a little noisy at night. I think that was inevitable as we were very central in Barceloneta.

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Everyone settled into the apartment very quickly. Lauren slept with us in our bedroom. Here's Lauren with my MP3 player out relaxing to some music!

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We had some covered balconies in the apartment which were great for letting in the sea breeze. Lauren enjoyed going out onto these balconies to watch the world go by. She was especially fascinated by the ambulances and police cars!

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Over the ten days we were there, we did a fair amount of sightseeing. However, I found it quite hard with the heat (especially in the second week) and with being six months into my pregnancy. I got tired very easily and wanted to sleep all the time! Having said that, Lauren also needed sleep in the afternoon, so the others went to see some things on days when we returned to the apartment to rest.

Of course, one of the first places we visited was La Rambla, along with its famous market. We walked from Plaça Catalunya down to the market, and on another day we made it all the way down to the statue of Columbus.

The amazing tiled rooves of a building near Plaça Catalunya.

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The three of us at Plaça Catalunya.

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The bustling La Rambla, a pedestrianised street in the heart of Barcelona.

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The food in Barcelona was fabulous. We often went to the local markets; the range of fresh produce was just incredible. We ate a great deal of fresh fish and seafood, all of which was beautifully cooked. This is the family at a lovely restaurant called Las Gavinas in Barceloneta.

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Here is the family after another lovely meal, on the way back to our apartment.

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Below is a picture of the main market in Barcelona, located on La Rambla.

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We also managed to treat ourselves one night to an early 9th wedding anniversary dinner at the amazing Comerç 24 , a Michelin star restaurant serving modern tapas. The food and wine combinations (sadly I only had a sip!) were mind blowing and we had an unforgettable evening.

Of course, no visit to Barcelona would be complete without seeing the works of Antoni Gaudí, namely the Sagrada Família, Park Güell, and his famous houses the Casa Milà and Casa Batlló.

La Sagrada Família is the famous unfinished cathedral of Gaudi in Barcelona, richly organic in design. It has two highly contrasting entrances, the Passion façade and the Nativity façade.

The Passion façade and the spires of the cathedral.

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This is Lauren and me outside the Nativity façade.

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I must admit that both Jase and I were initially quite sceptical about visiting what is essentially a massive building site. However, neither of us were prepared for the sheer beauty and majesty of the building.

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It was a wonderful experience, and we will certainly want to see it once it is finished (estimated to be 2026)!

Park Güell was just lots of fun. Full of exuberant mosiacs, it contained both wonderful structures and gardens. Thankfully (as there was a lot of walking) we went with Mum and Dad on a cool day towards the end of the holiday.

Jase looking out over Barcelona.

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Under the colonnaded walkway.

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Mum and Dad with Lauren on the double staircase.

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It wasn't all running around sightseeing though. We managed to also spend a fair amount of time on the lovely beach at Barceloneta. Lauren was initially a bit nervous of the sea, but quickly started to enjoy the waves (as you can see from the video we took of her on the beach).

This is Lauren and me playing in the surf.

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Lauren and Daddy in the sea.

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The little girl playing on the beach and floating her beach shoes in the surf!

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I can honestly say that we had a really wonderful time. It was lovely to spend some time with Hube and Bonnie, and to let them get to know Lauren a bit better. Mum and Dad (as always) loved having the time with their children and grandchild. The only annoyance was when Hube got his wallet (with credit cards, money and Green Card!) pickpocketed on the underground, but even that only dampened our spirits slightly.

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Our family photos can be seen here in our Flickr collection.

More photos of beautiful Barcelona can be seen here in another one of my Flickr albums.

Of course, it was over all too soon and before we knew it we were all flying back home. Sadly, we probably won't see Hube and Bonnie again until their wedding next August. However, they've promised us plenty of updates on their blog!

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