I have been told a lot about Barcelona so I tried to keep my expectations as influenced by those around me as much as possible. I am happy I did this, because it is not like my sources were wrong, but the feelings you get when you’re experiencing something as magical as this city, is something no one can ever give to you. Yes, Barcelona is magical in so many ways. I had a couple little buddies on the tour, one who tried to “photobomb” every picture I took. I say this one turned out pretty awesome though!
During my time in Barcelona there were certainly some very high, highs and some very low, lows as well. Unfortunately Lufthansa’s pilots decided a good day for them to strike is the day out group of 150+ was supposed to fly out. Rebooking two extra days to their entirety, as well as flights, for all of them was not initially in our plans, but it was done successfully so as much as our time was consumed on that toward the end of my time in Spain, there are plenty highlights that outweigh that without a doubt.
We sometimes give our highs and lows for the day in my house and I like to start with a low, to get it out of the way, if there even is a low. So that’s what I am doing here – now onto the many, many highs of the beautiful city. The food, the people, the cava, the food, the people, the cava…I could go on forever! I also had some of the absolute best company in Sandra and our new friend, Cristina that kept everything that much more enjoyable, too! By the way, I think this was one of my favorite cavas I have had and if you can ever taste it – do not turn it down! The label even makes it that much more fun, too!
I was fortunate to have a good amount of time exploring the city and then experiencing some absolutely beautiful churches with our groups. I have really loved that aspect of being away, during Lent in particular, is that I get to experience these beautiful churches during such an important time of you. Something always “clicks” within me when I am in the church and saying some prayers or lighting a candle – no matter where I am in the world I am fortunate to experience and bring my faith with me. That’s special!
Anyways, our choir on tour sang at La Sagrada and Santa Maria del Mar. They are both equally beautiful and equally different. La Sagrada has been continuously been built for many, many, many years now and it is just jaw dropping. Santa Maria del Mar has this romantic feel to it and when you hear the choir’s amazing voices you are just completely lost in the moment.
Now the food! Wow! I experience high end, absolutely authentic, tapas – everything! Yes, my pants still fit. I’ve been practicing self control pretty well – minus the cava. I cannot say no to cava! Anyways, one of my most memorable dining experiences during my trip as a whole definitely goes to Montiel. They offer two tasting menus and wine pairings and you go and enjoy. The food was beyond flavorful, cooked to perfection, plays on many different textures and flavors and all around great quality food. They are considered “farm to table” as well, which is my favorite kind of style so after hearing that I was all in and couldn’t wait to taste! It was a quite lunch as so we were fortunate to have some extra special attention for the staff. With each new dish or wine, the descriptions were always spot on and even helped me find an even more in-depth flavor profile I may have never reached. It was a dining experience and that is my favorite way to dine! I will admit, we came back with two couples on our tour for a second time to be equally as blown away, and so I was really able to see what the chef does in the kitchen. One very unique concept to me was frozen olive oil (like ice cream) and also a frozen component on the tuna dish that tasted like lettuce. How cool?! It was just a wild burst of flavor in your mouth as well as the different textures. It was just so enjoyable! In all seriousness, though, I may move to Barcelona for their “citrus diversity” dessert. Whoa baby! Again, many different textures, temperatures and flavors which all were in the citrus “family”. Curd, granita, foam, wow! I fell in love with it and, anyone of you who knows me, once I get a craving for something that I cannot take off my mind it is almost impossible to talk me out of getting it. So I may be visiting Barcelona a little more than I originally anticipated!
I love the different areas of Barcelona, similar to a big city, but didn’t feel as big! There are definitely areas to shop until you drop but there are, like mentioned, gorgeous churches, museums, restaurants and history. I loved walking through the Gothic Quarter and Born as they seemed a bit older, rich in history and the little shops, bakeries and restaurants around there felt extra special to me. I am looking forward to getting back so I can see even more and experience it all over again!
It is onto France for me now, but not until a little Sandra, Jenna road trip that took us to find some pretty amazing places! In the meantime, I pray the French have some patience with me/can’t see that I have phrases written on my hand…we’ll see!
P.S. I also learned how to make an out of this world, gin and tonic. I cannot wait to make them when I get back, too! I am doing a lot more than drinking, too, FYI.