Between Heaven and Hell

Barcelona – Part 4

I realized early on, when we began this adventure, that really, only one MAJOR outing per day could be planned before the kiddies lost their minds and were a complete mess (making my life a BAZILLION times harder than it needed to be). The outing for this particular day in Barcelona was was going to be something close to my heart.  We were going to visit THE MOST FAMOUS MARKET IN BARCELONA……. LA BOQUERIA!

The outing on this day was 100% for me. I was half hoping that the kiddies would be super excited by going to the market……. but I knew that they were most likely too young to enjoy this little treasure of Barcelona.

We spent a good portion of the morning at the hotel prepping for our adventure, before we hopped on the train, to take us into the heart of Barcelona and La Boqueria Market. We navigated our way on the metro and walked a good portion of La Rambla before coming upon the market.

It is a large covered market, that has all the spanish delicacies that one dreams of!  We walked in (make way people……double stroller coming through), to some of the most amazing smells.  We passed by a Tapas restaurat and the food smells were OUT OF THIS WORLD! Seriously……  what I would have given to have sat down and ordered a glass of wine and some fab food…..

As the kids and I meandered around the market we notice many local specialties and tons of frresh vegetables and seafood.  At this point I realized I was caught between Heaven and Hell.  Pure Heaven with all these amazing ingredients around me ….. and Pure Hell since I was living in a hotel with no where to cook all these ingredients. We ended up leaving the market with some AMAZING fresh squeezed juices…… but that was it.

It was hot day in Barcelona, and the kids seemed like they had had enough so we decided to make our way back to the hotel on the metro and call it a day pool side with Brodies’ new friend and some yummy eats.

Barcelona Part 5

Friday was our last full day in Barcelona and we woke up with a mission.  It was the day of the Opening Ceremonies for London 2012 and we were making our way to the Olympic Diving Pool from when Barcelona hosted the summer Olympics in 1992.  It is the most iconic of venues from the ’92 Olympics.   It showcased Barcelona as everyone had ever imagined it to be…..   The backdrop for the divers was (and is) SPECTACULAR to say the least!

We arrived via, the metro and then to a funicular up the mountainside to the dive pool.  I did find it strange that it took us a while to find the “Olympic Pool”.  I had assumed there would be signs pointing us in the proper direction, but there were none. We did eventually get on the right track and made our way to the admission counter and to the pool deck.

I will admit that I was a bit thrown off that this Olympic landmark was not better signed.  Coming off the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and seeing first hand the care that Vancouver has put into preserving its Olympic Legacy, I was shocked by what we encountered.  It was almost like Barcelona could have cared less about this once iconic venue…..   it made me sad 😦

Since it was the Opening Ceremony day for London 2012 I had hopes that something spectacular might be going on here….. and with 4000 seat bleachers…….I thought there maybe big screen TV’s with ticket admission to watch…. I dont know…. something….seriously SOMETHING! I was wrong…. there was nothing “Olympic” going on here…. BOO!

During our visit,to the pool we took in the most STUNNING view of Barcelona with no crowds. We got to cool off in the heat of the day in a pretty awesome pool with about 12 other people, as well we got to watch the Barcelona Diving Team practicing.  The kiddies and I thought that was pretty cool. The pool is in much need of some serious repairs as you will see by the pictures.  It is sad that such a beautiful pool is not being used to its full potential and is falling into disrepair.

The kiddies and I had a super fun last day in Barcelona, making our way around town like we were locals!

During the week leading up to the Olympics, Mike and I had been looking into places to watch the Opening Ceremonies. We finally decided that our hotel room was most likely the best place to see it.  We couldnt find any “hype” around the event so we made our own.

We had dinner across from the hotel in an “Itallian” restaurant that was attached to the mall ( *disclaimer*…. I  have already stated this was not a culinary journey for the Bain clan).  We then proceeded to the “mini” amusement park. You know…. the one that seemed to follow us everywhere in Europe.  Brodie was  full on on the trampolines from his experience in Luz St. Saveur and when it comes to any type of carousel…… well Syd seriously could go in circles FOREVER, so she was in HEAVEN!

We made our way back to the hotel, and with wine and chocolate milk ordered to the room, we had the best time cheering the London 2012 Canadian Team on as they entered the London Stadium with Simon Whitfield carrying the Canadian FLAG!  It was such an awesome evening, even if we couldn’t understand what the local commentators were saying!

It was an fabulous way to end our last day in Barcelona……

Enjoy your (not so) Daily Dose.

Xox

B.

Barcelona 2-1

Our Hotel. The Hilton Diagonal Mar. we were 7 windows up on the right hand corner. We looked right into Mikes work at SAP!

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La Boqueria

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An entire stall dedicated to Baccalau (Salt Cod)…. sorry it’s not my favourite!

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Our purchase for the day! So super YUM!

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Mmmmmmmm……..MUSHROOMS!

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nnnnn…….. NUTS!

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AWESOME and beautiful!

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YUMMERS!

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An entire stall just for Foie Gras….

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Outside the Market… La RamblasBarcelona 2-23

Hahahaha…. to late now….. but needed this for sure!

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Our entrance to the metro

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Pool…. Here we COME!

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Spiderman follows us EVERYWHERE!

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FUNICULAR up the mountain

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Mr. Man

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Little Miss

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Kiddos in Barcelona!

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Pool… finally!

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Olympic Dive Pool

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Down we go to the pool deck!

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Dive towers

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Barcelona team practicing

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Brodie LOVED THIS… said I NEEDED to take the birds photo!

He was right.

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Diving Platforms

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Repairs needed

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Hallway to change rooms… no signs, so it turns out we all changed in the “boys” change room.  Oops!

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Random fix-it-up places all through out the dive pool venue 😦

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Loving the stair walk up!

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Up Up Up

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Dive platforms

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“Olympic” signage…. so sad!

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More fun at the hotel pool before dinner!

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8:30PM and its EMPTY! Will be full in about an HOUR! Late night dinner for everyone in Barcelona!

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Round and round we go!

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Chupa Chuyps Truck

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Chupa Chuyps Truck was the favourite

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Motorcycles…. FUN!

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Opening Ceremonies – London 2012

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Yay Canada!

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Hello Canada… Hello Simon Whitfield

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The opening ceremonies were AMAZING!

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I have been waiting for this my WHOLE LIFE!

So…… the 301km from Carcassonne to Barcelona was about a 6 hour drive for us. We are not sure why, but the A9 was a PARKING LOT for a good chunk of the drive.  It may have been because of the wildfire that was happening near Girona, but we didn’t know for sure.  The traffic, after a couple of hours of stop and go, eventually opened up and we were finally moving along at a faster speed than 10km /hr, and using the gas pedal more often than the brake. THANK GOODNESS!

The drive into Spain was beautiful.  The countryside is so pretty. Rolling hills, golden fields, green vineyards, and olive groves. I loved absolutely loved watching all pass by. I did however think there was going to be a grand display letting me know I was leaving France and entering Spain but it was just 2 cement pillars and a sign that said Espana. I at this point, was pretty used to reading, and somewhat understanding the French signage, so with the spanish signs I was pretty much starting back at ground zero!

Finding our hotel was super easy, with thanks to the TomTom.  By the time we got to the hotel we were all pretty bagged from the hot slow drive to town, and we quickly realized that our plans of an early arrival and a scout around before dinner were over. Brodie emerged from the car scratching, super splotchy, and bright red. Our little man with the super sensitive fair skin, broke out in a crazy heat rash – we think from the mornings 3 hour swim in Carcassonne.

We were staying at the Hilton Diagonal Mar.  It is in a business district with Mikes office literally half a block away, (and we could look over every time we were in the pool), a major shopping mall across the street, the street tram was one block away and the metro was two blocks away.  It was super convenient for all of us.

We checked into our room, which would be our home for the next 7 days and was happily surprised that we had 2 room suite once again. Since it was later than we expected, we decided to quickly get organized with our luggage, and organizing the rooms, before heading out for a quick dinner across the street where there were a couple of restaurants attached to the mall, Go figure….. there were trampolines and train rides for the kids in the outdoor space leading into the mall.

We got to the restaurant at 8:30 and it was empty….. very few tables were full, and this made me a little nervous until Mike reminded me that people in Spain really didn’t eat dinner till about 9:30 onwards.  By the time we left the restaurant there was a line up of people with kiddies the same age as ours waiting for a table.

We woke up Sunday morning to a VERY BUSY hotel.  The amount of people at the breakfast buffet was unlike anything I had ever seen. It was pretty unreal with how BUSY it was.  It certainly wasn’t a nice relaxing, leisurely morning pace…. I am unsure how the Chefs were even keeping up with putting out the food…. it honestly was going that fast.

We had our family day planned.  We were going to take the tram down to the main beach area, and do a walk about, and get a lay of the land.  We walked around the Marina Port Vell, en route to La Ramblas. We passed so many AMAZING patio restaurants.  It was too bad that with the kiddies, being the age they are, just were not interested in the food that was being served there.

On our walk we happened upon an AMAZING gelato/chocolate/macaroon store, called VIKIO. Barcelona seems to be a town that is all about design.  I mean seriously incredible design, and this gelato shop was not the exception.  I was totally drawn into the store just because of the design.  Turns out their gelato totally rocked as well…. YES…. score!

Mike,Brodie, and Syd all opted for chocolate and I defaulted to my absolute favourite Stracciatella. Kind of a vanilla base, with chocolate bits in it….. SO SO YUMMY!  The portion sizes were absolutely CRAZY!  When Brodie got his gelato handed to him, he promptly proclaimed, with eyes as wide as saucers “I have been waiting for this my WHOLE LIFE”.  That was said with so much enthusiasm and excitement you almost would have believed, that he had indeed, been waiting all of 5 years and 5 months for that exact portion of chocolate gelato. That statement alone was worth what we paid for the gelato.  The little man makes me smile!

It was getting a bit later in the day… you know that time of day that Syd usually has her meltdown…… we this particular day was no exception.  We don’t know what set her off, but it lasted for a good 15-20 minutes of us trying to get a screaming child off the street and into some sort of shade since it was so hot and humid.  We finally got her in the stroller and we decide we would head into the air-conditioned goodness of the L’aquarium  Barcelona.  I always knew it was crazy expensive to go to the Vancouver Aquarium, but it seems like the cost is crazy expensive in every city we have been in.  I’m not exactly sure at the cost but I think it was around 80 Euro for the 4 of us…. which is CRAZY!  Brodie had a great time looking at all the fish, and loving all the sharks, but Syd didn’t really perk up till near the end of our time in the aquarium.  I think she was most impressed with the computer animated fish projected on the floor that would “swim” away if you stepped to close to them.

Our afternoon ended with a walk on the famous La Ramblas.  It was super busy and full of energy.  There were people “statues” that Brodie got a huge kick out of, and many treats tempting the kiddies, but the one thing that finally got them was sleep.  Both kiddies crashed in the double stroller, while Mike and I walked along, ending up in the Placa Reial for an afternoon glass of wine.  We eventually made our way to the metro and back to our hotel in the Diagonal Mar.

It was a seriously fun day. Exploring and getting the lay of the land was essential for the following days adventures with the kiddies, as Mike was back at work after a 2 week vacation.

So far Barcelona was a hit with Brodie…. who had been waiting his “WHOLE LIFE” to have gelato in that exact spot in Barcelona….. So glad we could make that happen for you little man!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

The parking lot on A9

Hello Spain… goodbye France

The EU and flag

I feel welcome!

Driving along the highway

Hello Spain!

Rest stop in Spain

Our TomTom app

Hello Hilton Diagonal Mar

Hotel entrance – the kids LOVED this door!

Looking at the mall across the street from the hotel

Girona fires

comfy kids

Our street tram

Poor little man with his heat rash!

Tram route

W Hotel in background

Fish by Frank Gehry

It was HOT!

A popular mode of transportation around town

L’Estel Ferit (The Wounded Shooting Star) by Rebecca Horn

L’Estel Ferit (The Wounded Shooting Star) by Rebecca Horn

Gelato/chocolate/macaroon store

Yummy Macaroons

Beautiful chocolate truffles

” I have been waiting for this my whole life”

The little lady and her ginormous portion of gelato

Human statue

Human Statue – Brodie thought this one was pretty cool.

The famed La Rambla

Sleep, sleep, glorious sleep.

Wine stop

Barcelona Metro

Metro Station

Our neighbourhood station