Days 5-6: Platja d’Aro and Barcelona

Day 5

We woke up in Playa de Aro, and it was raining. But it didn’t last too long. We managed to get ourselves down to the hotel breakfast around 10 am (it closed at 10:30 am). It was a buffet with meats, cheeses, breads, and some sausages and roasted tomatoes. It was very good, and the view couldn’t be beat.

Soon, it was time to checkout (noon) and Sonia and Nicole arrived. We promptly went up to the fifth floor to check out the view. The hotel had been recently renovated and the fifth floor became a ‘chill out’ deck and swimming pool. We proceeded to do a family photo shoot. Here are just a couple shots.

We all went for a drink at La Tisana, a beach bar/cafe that has been there ‘por toda la vida.” Before long, it was time to meet the rest of the family for lunch at another beachside cafe called M&B. This time we were also joined by Monica’s other daughter, Aida, and her boyfriend, Marc, though he wasn’t able to stay for lunch since he had to work. We had a big lunch, more talking, laughing, and a general good time. After lunch, we had extended goodbyes by the sea. That was the last time we’d see Monica and her daughters until either they come to the US or we’re back here. Nuri (my aunt) will come to Barcelona with Sonia and Nicole on Monday.

After collecting our luggage from the hotel, that was kind enough to let us stow it there while we were out, we loaded up Sonia’s car and we were off to Barcelona, which is about an hour and a half drive (same from LA to San Diego). My mom and Sandy sat in the back seat and had some snoozles while Sonia and I talked some more about life and how we’re doing. It was really nice.

We arrived in Barcelona around 6:30 or 7 pm. We are staying in a hotel that is right off La Rambla, so Sonia wasn’t able to park and let us out. We had to turn on the hazards, hop out, grab the luggage, and let her go find a place to park. We got checked in and up to our room, then Sonia came to the room. The hotel has a “secret garden” – a little courtyard in the middle of the building where there is seating and service from the bar and restaurant. We all went to the garden and had canas (draft beer) and talked some more. We offered to let Sonia stay in our room (we have two singles and two bunk beds), but she declined since she had to work the next day. We walked with her to La Rambla and said goodbye until Monday. Sandy took this photo of us walking up the street that I just love.

Sonia, Josefa, and Lizzie walking in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona

Day 6

We didn’t have much a plan for the day except to walk around. Our hotel here doesn’t offer free breakfast, so we headed out around 10 am and went directly to a nearby churreria. I had six churros and a cup of hot chocolate to dip them in (and drink). The chocolate is like it is in Paris, almost like liquid pudding, really thick and rich. Also really delicious! We took our churros and went to Placa del Pi, a lovely little square in front of a church (Santa Maria del Pi). We sat and ate our churros and admired the church and people-watched. We each took a turn going inside the church, which is really quite lovely.

We ambled on through the Gothic Quarter, and it was fantastic. There are a lot of people here, much like Paris. The GQ has many narrow little streets and passageways, and I love nearly all of them. It’s easy to get lost in there, but if you wind your way around long enough, you get to where you’re going. Of course, we have a secret weapon: my mom. She remembers these streets from her teen years, and she’ll come upon a street name that brings back memories. It’s fun to hear her little stories (“my mother and I came to the movies here,” “this is where I got my glasses when I was young,” or “this was my secret place that I’d come to read and look for GIs, I got a few of them from here” << that was the little terrace on the building of the Historic Archives of Catalunya).

Sandy & Mom on terrace on Historic Archives building

Before we went to the archive building, we saw La Catedral, which is beautiful. We hadn’t purchased tickets to go in ahead of time, and Mom was annoyed that she couldn’t just go in. They are refurbishing a lot of the churches and other buildings, and I’m sure the money raised from tickets goes, in part, to those refurbishments. It’s too bad we didn’t get to go in that day. Here she is from the front.

La Catedral (a pano shot so it’s a little crooked!)

From there, we took a short walk to the beautiful Juliet bridge…

Selfie with bridge

…then headed to Els Quatre Gats for some tapas. The tapas weren’t that fabulous, but the atmosphere is just cool there.

After that, we went somewhere we’d never been! We went to a store called Raima which is a 5-story paper and stationery store! Sandy was looking for a particular journey that is handmade in Spain by Miquelrius, and she found it! I also bought a small journal from the same company. The store itself is extremely aesthetically pleasing. It was a great little stop.

On our way back toward our hotel, we happened again upon the art piece called “The Kiss” which we had seen earlier as well. It’s a piece that is made up of hundreds of individual art tiles, but put together in such a way that from afar it looks like two people kissing. I don’t love the far look, but I like the small tiles. However, I did get a great picture of it, so here it is along with one of the tiles.

After that, we stopped at the Church of Sant Neri for a moment then went back to the hotel. Mom wanted to rest a bit, and it was pouring rain, so Sandy & I went down to the garden where we had some beers and a ham board. Super delicious. That’s also where we ended up having dinner a bit later because we weren’t on the ball enough to make reservations anywhere, and when we tried, the few places we called were full. The dinner was good enough. Sandy & I both had steak with a pepper sauce, and we shared some fries. Mom also had a steak but in a port sauce with au gratin potatoes. After we ate, we took a short walk along La Rambla and over to Placa Reial. It’s much better in the daytime. La Rambla has become a bit like Bourbon Street – just a touristy pit with all manner of people trying to get you to come to their bar or to buy some spinning/flying toy or flowers. Plus there were a bunch of rowdy folks, some bachelorette parties, some young hooligans, etc. Not my scene. I was glad to get back to the hotel. However, I did get a nice shot of the Liceo.

Teatre del Liceu

I’m writing this on the evening of Day 7, so I might write again to get all caught up! Until then!

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