Thursday, August 18, 2016

Barcelona, Spain

After a 6 hour train ride we arrived in Barcelona. We took a taxi to where our hotel was on Las Ramblas street. We got to a certain point and then our taxi driver said he couldn't go any farther because the streets were too narrow. He said it would be easy to find our hotel. When we asked which direction it was he said you could either go left or right. 

??? OK

Well we wandered and wandered and then final found someone who could point us to the right street...which looked more like a back alley. We then went up and down that street and still couldn't find our place. No signs no anything but there was a lot of trash, back doors to kitchens and there was homeless people sleeping. Scary.

Finally someone helped us find our place. There was no sign anywhere and there was only a number 8 on the building near the door. I guess that was it. This was all we saw, a graffiti filled locked door (this was a picture during the day)

Jeff called the phone number to our rental place and they said he had to take a taxi to their other location to get a key for after hours (I guess the office closed at 3 in the afternoon). Of course none of this was told to him before.

So I am left with our kids and our bags waiting in a scary back ally in Barcelona while Jeff tried to find his way out of the maze, get a taxi, find the other location and get our key and get back to us. 

Wandering around we found a small courtyard with this church in it. We at least felt it was safer because there were tourists around. 

Since it was almost 11 at night and none of us had eaten dinner I looked around for our options. I found a bar kind of place and ordered a couple of sandwiches for take away and we all took turns sitting on this bench made for 2 while we waited for Jeff to get back. 

Once we got inside the building and locked the doors behind us (there were lots of signs telling us this), and got up the rickety stairs and the smallest elevator that I've seen in my life the inside of the "apartment" wasn't bad. This was our view from our window. 

Staying in a place as old as this building was unlike anything I've ever done before. Jeff would tell me stories about living in Europe, but nothing is like actually being there. Now I realize just how small a "street" can be, how old and rickety buildings can be and people still use them and live in them and how narrow hallways, elevators and bathroom stalls can be. It was something I had to get used to. 

I have to admit during the day Las Ramblas street was pretty interesting and I enjoyed it much more. 

Joel and Virginia met up with us the next morning and we set off to see as much of Barcelona as we could in a day before we were supposed to board our cruise ship. 

The highlight that we really wanted to see was La Sagrada Familia church or "The Sacred Family"  It is a non-denominational church that has been under construction since 1882 and is not set to be finished until 2026. That would be like the Salt Lake Temple still being under construction. 

The architect was Gaudi but since he died various artists have contributed to the church. 

It reminded me of a giant drip sand castle.

At first we weren't going to be able to go in because all the time slots were full for the day. Jeff pulled the handicap card and we were able to make it in thank goodness. 

This is supposed to be what it looks like when it's finished. 

Joel and Virginia have visited it in the past and they said these colorful windows are new. 

Hanging out for a few minutes because they are tired of walking. 

The was the most unique church I've ever seen. With all the work that has gone into it I was surprised to hear that they only do events in it a couple of times a year on special occasions. 

After we rode over to park Guell

We ended up having to take 3 taxis over there because our group is so big. 

Since we were short on time we only went to the free part of the park and just got pictures of the rest. 

This park has the worlds longest bench in it.

We still had a great view of the city. It was warm that day and I was enjoying the fountains that they have in the city that you can use to fill up your water bottles. Jeff said they had them in Italy too when he was on his mission. 

Another building built by Gaudi in the back behind the trees. We ended up taking the bus from here to get back to the center of town. 

We were loving all the churches that were everywhere.

And the street performers.

For lunch we went to the market. It was quite crowded.

We tried all sorts of fresh squeezed juices, empanadas and new fruits that we've never had before like dragonfruit, lichi and star fruit. 

We love the cured ham.

The cold smoothies and variety of fruits were amazing.

Ashley was fascinated trying the new foods. 

Finally it was time to get to the ship. 

Jacob being silly as always....

We enjoyed watching a movie on the deck and all the free food on the ship. 

Sunset on the water as we start our cruise. 

We were on a new ship that had an Imax theater and  4d ride. We tried out the ride which was a 4D scary movie experience. It was fun. 

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