TLDR; The blog is a bit behind, but I will try to catch up! September was so dense with activity that it had to be made into 3 parts. This is part 3. The travel plan has changed dramatically. We stayed in Barcelona for just under 2 weeks. We visited Park Guell, La Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila, Casa Vicens, the Wounded Star (art on the beach), attended a Catalan Music concert in the Palau de Musica, Jyn purchased a high quality leather jacket, we walked las ramblas, found a few fantastic hole-in-the-wall places to eat (Bo de B!), had our first Coco Teas since leaving the US, went to Sitges (city ~45 minutes from Barcelona), filled out a ton of confusing paper work for traveling to Thailand, and basically, put the remainder of our trip on hold. Yes, again. We still managed to squeeze in some fun though 🙂
Barcelona is the land of heavenly tapas, Catalan as the first language (not Spanish!), Frenchies (dogs not people), reasonably orderly driving, Gaudi architecture, and less smoking than in average European cities.
After a few minor paperwork hiccups, we set off for Spain. Barcelona has a great “feel”. People are lively during the day, like to have a siesta after lunch, and many places are open late. It is one of our favorite cities (maybe even a small step above Amsterdam due to the better weather conditions). The city is primarily built on a grid which makes it easy to navigate, and we speak enough Spanish to be functional tourists. However, our Spanish is rusty and occasionally my Thai comes out instead of Spanish. Fun Fact: Apparently, the languages that you learn after your native language(s) are stored together in your brain. Interesante teewaah phom phuut phasathai kap Espanol juntos de vez en cuando (Interesting but I speak Thai and Spanish together sometimes).
Barcelona is full of ornate cathedrals. However, after seeing the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Wayfarer’s Chapel, we do not feel compelled to see all of the churches in each country. Those churches are the most spectacular for various reasons and most others tend to fall short. However, the Sagrada Familia needs to be added to that list, as it is the most iconic structure in Barcelona. It is a unique cathedral designed by Gaudi and even after 100+ years, it is still being built! ~10 years ago, people couldn’t go inside because it wasn’t finished, but this time we did and it was spectacular. Besides the splendor of the exterior character, the inside is stunning with colorful rays of light entering through the enormous stained glass windows.
For Jyn’s birthday, we reserved tickets for a Catalan concert featuring rising artists at the Palau De Musica. The concert was splendid and the interior of the building is also quite beautiful.
Strolling through Park Guell is another “must do”. I had wanted to revisit this photogenic destination with a nice camera for years.
Barcelona has many hidden gems throughout the city. Simply walk around and you are bound to encounter them. If you get tired, pop into a coffee shop and recharge.
Originally, we planned to visit Seville and Madrid, but that did not happen. Instead, we took a local recommendation to take a day trip to the nearby town of Sitges. Located on the coast of Spain about 45 minutes south of Barcelona, it is a favorite weekend vacation spot for Barcelonians. We enjoyed our time there.
Barcelona is fantastic. It lived up to our high expectations. However, life in the 2020s has a way shoehorning our plans off track. We had to fly to Thailand on short notice. Thailand is open to tourists, but being allowed to enter the country requires a bunch of paperwork. Thailand loves paperwork, especially the disjointed and frustrating kind. After about five days, we finished all of it and flew to Phuket, Thailand (pronounced “Pooh-ket”) to avoid the 14-day hotel quarantine requirement in Bangkok (yes, even for fully vaccinated travelers who also tested negative prior to arrival and negative again upon landing). We completed the “Phuket Sandbox” program and stayed in Bangkok for two months. Until next time folks!