Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Part Two of Mother/Daughter Adventures: Brilliant Barcelona

Now, onto the next chapter of our mother/daughter trip together.  Barcelona.  And it most certainly was brilliant.  We arrived on a Wednesday evening and made our way to the Airbnb flat I had scoped out and booked for us online.  We were thrilled to discover that their description "with views of the Sagrada Familia" was on the nose.  We had a stunning view of the towering church in all its glory, right out our quaint bedroom window.  And to add frosting to the already sweet cake, we could climb two more floors in the apartment building and go out onto the rooftop terrace for a truly phenomenal, totally unobstructed view of both the church, the park that lay in front of it and the eye-catching buildings circling the area.  See the smattering of photos below for views from our rooftop terrace.

Mom and me turned to one another, huge grins on our faces.  Awesome, we both agreed.  We asked the two warm, helpful, absolutely wonderful gentlemen whose flat we were staying in if they might recommend somewhere we could go for dinner.  They pointed us in the direction of Flax and Kale, a vegan/vegetarian restaurant.  Mom was hesitant as she wanted to eat some authentic Spanish food (when in Rome...), but they assured us the food was incredible so onward we went.

They also assured us the restaurant was easy to find.  They showed us which metro station to exit and explained it was a straight shot, easy as pie,  a mere five minute walk from there.

We exited the metro at the appointed stop, both excited and starving.  We followed (or so we thought) their directions, only to find ourselves very quickly totally and utterly lost.  We stopped and asked at least 3 different people which way the restaurant was.  Each person gave us wildly different directions.
Person #1 told us, "No, no, its about 6 blocks in the other direction."
Ok, so off we went.  When we reached the end of that set of directions to no avail, we asked someone else.
"Ah yes," Person #2 said, "you need to take your first right, then another right at the first small street, and then a left."
We followed those directions...another fail.  We asked yet another person and were sent down more side streets and then back onto the main stretch of busy road we had originally come from.
Forty minutes into this comical yet equally frustrating search, we debated giving up.  Both of us were starving and exhausted.  Each of us muttering various expletives, something along the lines of "f*ck this restaurant."

Yet, JUST when we were about to give up, we found it.  Of course.

And this place was well worth the search, the wait and the minor amount of frustration.  We talked about this meal for the rest of the trip actually.  I will post a separate review of the restaurant in further depth two entries from now regarding what we ate and what it was like.  But overall?  BOMBASTIC meal.  I would LOVE to go back there again sometime in the near future.  I am still dreaming about this meal.  It was that good.  If you find yourself in Barcelona, go to Flax and Kale.

Oh my word, were these tasty.  We took them to go from Flax and Kale.  The one in the middle was by far the best.  Lightly sweet, just so yum.

Sagrada Familia, up close and at night.

The next morning, we awoke and proceeded to the Sagrada Familia in order to get tickets for later on that day.  Mom stood in line for a while during which time I tooled around nearby, snapped some photos and scoped out a breakfast place we could grab something quick to go once I met up with her again.

What I loved already about this church, just based on the outside (as we had not even been inside yet): one side of the outer facade looked almost like dissolving sand or melting candle wax, like wet mud dripping down over on itself.  Incredibly unique, really marvelous and original.  The other side was the opposite.  Clean lines, smooth, almost like ice cream sugar cones standing upside down for the towers.

After securing tickets for the Sagrada Familia for later on that afternoon, we headed to the famous Park Guell, the park in which most of the architecture is done by the artist Antonio Gaudi, the artist whose work is the Sagrada Familia, the Casa Mila, and the Casa Batillo, to name a few.  Google these three places.  They will leave you spellbound.  His buildings, ideas and work mimicked much of what we see in nature.  One of his buildings is meant to symbolize a dragon (the Casa Batillo), another is meant to mimic the rolling sands of a beach in the wind with waving seaweed for the balconies (La Pedrera/Casa Mila), and the Sagrada Familia looks much like a forest on the inside, the numerous beams resembling branches and trees tangled above ones head.  His art is compelling and totally different.  Very memorable.

Mom and me really enjoyed wandering this park for the next hour, taking photos, enjoying the views and chatting with one another.  Super relaxing and fun.  Though the sun bore down on us as mid day came around, it grew stiflingly hot.  I felt like I was melting in my black jeans.

After the park, we headed to La Pedrera, one of Gaudis ultra famous buildings here in Barcelona which we had purchased tickets for the night before online.  However on our way over there we spotted the Casa Batillo and were transfixed.  I stopped to snap a few pictures of it.  For me, this was my own personal favorite in terms of the outer facade out of all the Gaudi buildings we saw.  Though in terms of the inside, the Sagrada Familia was incredible and just utterly mind blowing.  
More on that to come later... ;-)

Here we are, La Pedrera or Casa Mila (see photos below), one of Gaudis most famous buildings.  The outside is supposed to be reminiscent of sand on a beach when the wind is blowing, and the balconies are meant to resemble seaweed waving in the breeze.

I think the inside lobby either looks like dreams, or like the oily rainbows that sometimes shimmer on the surface of water.

All of the following photos are the rooftop of La Pedrera.  Really intriguing and cool, funky and unique.

After our rooftop explorations, we ventured into one of the sample apartments inside La Pedrera.  And yes, people actually rent out the apartments in this building currently today.

And now for a smattering of photos that showcase the architecture of Barcelona.  My Mom and I agreed, everywhere we looked we saw ornate, eye-catching facades, intricate carvings, charming wrought-iron balconies, Barcelona was a gorgeous city.  I was shocked by how beautiful it was actually.  I did not expect it to be quite so lovely.

Stay tuned for Part Two of Barcelona in the next couple of days!!!

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