Dario and I decided to spend some time with the family back in Italy, both for the pleasure of being together for the holidays and to skip out on some of the cold, dark, Irish winter. Unfortunately, we seem to have brought the weather with us!
(Click to enlarge.)
On a clear day, you can see the Pope's house from here.
Last weekend Rome and many other parts of Italy got hit with a tremendous snowstorm. We were excited since it's an unusual event, we have plenty of firewood, and our electricity (and internet, thank the gods!) stayed functional. Not everyone was so fortunate. There is another storm that is supposedly headed this way again even now. I hope it clears up in enough time that we can head to Fiumicino on Monday for our flight to Spain. We've been looking forward to the trip for months!
I've managed to acquire a few stamps from Spain in my passport, but I've never been to Barcelona or Madrid. Our trip to Girona looked like a perfect time to sneak in a side trip to The Big B. Over on Ye Olde Facebooke Page, some of the lovely folks I'll be meeting in Girona are handing out the tips, fast and furious. I want your feedback, too!
Oh, luxurious villas, how I'm looking forward to meeting you!
Handily enough, Mariana from My Travel Thirst lives in Barcelona. Dario and I will definitely be taking some of her advice for eats and sightseeing before we all head north together.
Andrea from Destination Europe has also shared some of her Barcelona recommendations with us. Perhaps even more importantly, a recent post about her February travel plans has provided a great video of a calçotada for me to steal and wow you with — mmm, BBQ'd onions and wine…
Calçotada action starts around 3:20.
Can't see the video? Watch it here: http://youtu.be/PMLUbaHkJ9U?t=3m21s
Other folks we'll be meeting along the way will include:
– my dear (online) friend, Marlys of Easy Hiker, who managed to extend her trip a few days just to meet! Travel is so great for that! :D
– Maria, introduced to me by Linda of Islandmomma while I was visiting Tenerife, is originally from Barcelona and will be in town. Yay! Now Dario gets to meet her, as well. (Too bad Linda won't be around — she's excellent!)
– Janine, friend of our mutual friend, Dario. No, a different Dario; he's from Florence. Naples Dario and Florence Dario have been together in the same place and managed not to cause a singularity, which was a huge relief.
– Our host, Richard, of Charming Villas.
– Erin of La Tortuga Viajera, Cheryl of the aptly named cherylhoward.com, Marie-Eve of Eurotrip Tips, Jade from Vagabond3, Kamala of Brownell Travel, and Laurel who used to write "Expat in Germany", but recently gave in and revealed her love of monkeys.
Sa Vista, you are so beauuutiful!
I've received some recommendations about where to go in Barcelona, but there's a part of me that really enjoys going somewhere with a blank slate. My ignorance will potentially make me amusingly gullible. It will certainly mean that any and all impressions and "Wow!" moments will be genuine. I hope what it doesn't mean is that I end up in the, "Omgosh, you went to Barcelona and didn't do ____?" category.
Now is your chance to save me from that terrible, terrible fate. Our budget is somewhat limited, so extravagant dinners and theater shows are not likely going to work. Spontaneous, free/low-cost, and silly things, however, absolutely will! So…
48 hours in Barcelona — what do I see?
Barcelona sounds good. Looks like you are in very good company on the trip. The group should be some fun.
I’ve not been to Barcelona, but if it is at all like the few bits of Spain I have seen, definitely have tapas.
Oh, tapas are most definitely on the menu! Never got around to mentioning it on the blog, but one of our favorite restaurants in Cork is a tapas bar. And if it’s good in Ireland, I can only imagine what tapas actually taste like in Spain! :D
I was there a few months ago and was taken to a cool and unusual restaurant called Speakeasy – a bit hard to find, no sign in the street, hidden in a storage room behind a bar. Good tapas, too. Have fun in Barcelona!
If I can find it on Google Maps (or maybe if Mariana knows of it), we’ll see if we can squeeze it in. Thanks for the tip! :D
All the Gaudi stuff – and the Latin quarter =) We’re headed back to Europe in a few weeks and I’m so not looking forward to the cold! Enjoy – the villas look amazing!
Thanks, Andrea! Will add that to my very scientific scribbled notes (haven’t done a spreadsheet yet, d’oh!). Hope it warms up before your return!
*writhing with jealousy*
I’ll have some wine for you, Amy. ;)
Head to El Xampanyet, a beautiful old-fashioned bar, for tapas and cava.
I think I’m going to have to start a spreadsheet and hope that I can find all these great places on Google Maps. Thanks for the recommendation, Ana! :D
I want to come too!! What a fun group you will be meeting :)
Yes! So fun to add personal memories and impressions to a blog. Not to mention that shared experiences rule!
Thanks for the mention! I’m really looking forward to exploring the region and meeting everyone. I leave tomorrow morning. Yay!
Drive safely, Andrea, and see you soon! :D
Despite the fact that everyone will say the same thing you can’t go to Barcelona without checking out some of Gaudí’s work, because it really is every bit as amazing as you think it will be, likewise the façcade of the Palace of Music (inside was way too expensive for me!), the market off the Ramblas (try to get Maria to meet you there because she knows a great bar, which was closed when we went in October :=( ) Surprises for me were the Chocolate Museum and the Roman ruins under the city’s museum, and the Church of Santa Maria del Mar, which is much more beautiful than the cathedral in my view. I can guarantee that it’s one of those places to which you will want to return, though Maria and I found it expensive after Sevilla last year. I could go on and on. Oh – I went once in January and it was very cold, so be prepared for this cold snap to extend there too I’m afraid.
I am very jealous of all these wonderful folk you will be getting to meet. I feel as if I know some of them already! Hoping you have as wonderful a time as I think you will!
Thank you so much, Linda! Those are great tips. Ooo… Chocolate Museum. Do they let you purchase treasured artifacts? ;)
Being in a Canadian winter right now I am wondering why I’m not in Barcelona myself! Have fun meeting everyone.
Thanks, Ayngelina! I fear that the little piece of Canada that has drifted over to Europe may actually encompass Spain as well as Italy. Looks sunny, but coooold: http://www.girona-tourist-guide.com/en/weather/forecast-girona-spain.html
At least you’re prepared for it there! ;)
I have no idea at all I’m afraid, but I’m planning a trip to Barcelona myself in the next couple of months, so am looking forward to stealing your ideas ;)
Haha! It’s only fair, since I stole the video link from Andrea. I’ll see what I can dig up for you, Laurence. :D