Saturday, June 8.
We arrived in Barceona on Saturday morning. Tired from overnight travel and unable to get into our room until 1:00, we decided to go on a double decker tour bus to begin to get the lay of the land. It was a great way to spend about two hours and get a feel for what we wanted to do in our free time. After checking into our hotel and taking a short, rejuvinating nap we met up with dear friends and walked to Placa de Catalona and La Rambla to look for dinner.
Sunday, June 9
Sunday was the first official day of our tour but we were not required to meet with the group until 6:00pm. So we decided to walk to the Palace of Catalon Music followed by a trip to Mount Tibidabo and Park Guell. Mount Tibidabo has some of the most spectacular views of all of Barcelona and it's coastline. In the evening, after brief introductions to our Rick Steve's Tour group at the hotel we headed out for our first adventure- a cooking class at bcnKITCHEN. In my opinion, this ended being one of the many highlights of the trip because not only did we learn how to cook multiple Spanish dishes, including paella, but we were also able to interact and get to know our fellow travelers in a really meaningful way. Also, there was a lot of Spanish wine.
Monday, June 10
Monday morning we set off to explore several sites associates with Antoni Gaudi. We walked around Casa Batllo and took a tour of La Pedrera/ Casa Mila before heading off to La Sagrada Familia- one of Gaudi's most ambisious buildings. This unfinished Roman Catholic church is absolutely stunning- the scale of the building, the color of the interior light cast by the stained glass windows, and the variety of sculptures around the buidling really do contribute to a totally immersive and emotional experience. Late in the afternoon, we parted ways with the group and walked down to the Playa de la Barceloneta- one of Barcelona's many beaches and had a relaxing evening by the waterfront.
Tuesday, June 11
On Tuesday morning we met the group and headed out for a tour of the historic center of Barcelona, the Gothic Quarter. This included the Cathedral of Barcelona, constructed in the 13th-15th centuries. Because it was raining, we had to stop our walking tour a bit early and headed off to the Picasso Museum, also in the Gothic Quarter. It was fascinating to learn more of PIcasso's history and see the transition of his painting style over the years.