I don’t know how many of you have college students but if you do, and they spend a semester abroad….visit them! Our middle child is currently in Spain and recently, we were able to join him. What a delight! With the help of a few Aladdin agents (I had to make a plug…they pulled off a miracle), all five of us met in Barcelona and it was a sight to behold… A husband who had been in France for week by himself, a son who desperately needed a haircut, a daughter who had an assignment due by 4:00 EST and finally, the student….who needed not only a haircut and a shave but maybe even a few clothes washed! Life was good! Really good!
We had a fabulous time in Barcelona and it started and ended each day with our home away from home at The Hotel Arts. It was delightful. Upon walking into the lobby, we were warmly welcomed. A little removed from historic downtown, but not far from the train made getting from here to there very manageable. It is right on the water and it has a beautiful view. This hotel is one of our favorites, the staff is superb and they serve the Ritz Carlton brand very well!
Our days in Barcelona included lots of strolling down Spanish streets, a guided walking tour, La Sagrada Familia…do not miss this. Las Ramblas…take pictures and watch the “statues.” La Boqueria…a romantic twist to grocery shopping! Anything Gaudi, what a gifted man! Barcelona Futbol and a Yellow Bike Tour completed the experience. We loved it all.
Spain makes it easy to “get around” and after a quick train ride, we were in Madrid. Hotel Villa Real was another great place. I have learned that if I travel with Ricky, I can’t go wrong. We took another guided tour…we love the company. We saw another market, The Prado...child number three played tour guide there….we chose the art pieces we had to see and she marked our route. The map is not in a specific order so this was extremely helpful and a time saver. Most museums offer a “free time” but get there early, the lines are REALLY long! We enjoyed a bus tour, more exploring and a day in Toledo, another quick train ride!
A few notes/tips: Madrid- Casa Paco was a great place to have dinner. …wine, tapas, dinner and very friendly wait staff, even to non-Spanish speakers! We loved the pizza at Pizzeria Trebul and Restaurante Botin was another great dinner place. It’s considered the oldest restaurant according to Guinness. The Markets are an experience and finally, the nuns sell confections at their cloister. Ring the bell, walk down the hall, spot the revolving window, speak to the nun behind the wall… you will hear her but you won’t see her. Put your money in the window, turn it and you will receive a warm and delicious treat. Really neat!
Eating Tapas in Barcelona was an experience to be remembered. It’s like a buffet, choose your treat, but save the toothpicks! You pay by the toothpick. And forget your diet; dip a churro in chocolate!