Oh, the things I’ve seen in one month!


Now that I’ve been in Europe for a month, I’ve accumulated some photos and stories to share about the trip itself.

I didn’t come on this trip to do the “tourist thing”, so I didn’t just hop off the plane and go straight to all the things that travellers come to see in Barcelona. Churches and museums don’t speak to me much, either, so tend to go see those. So, if you’re looking for a collection of pictures of Sagrada Família, La Pedrera or Parc Güell, then you’ve got the wrong blog. Besides, there are probably zillions of profesional photos of those things on the internet. I like to take pictures because it’s something we don’t have back home, because it made me smile, or because it was neat-looking.

I hold up a Super Mario figure in front of La Pedrera

Mario admires La Pedrera

(I have, however, snapped a few pictures of famous stuff…)

Speaking of the “tourist thing”, I find it too bad that so many people seem to do just that. I mentioned this a few blog posts ago; the city is has so many different neighbourhoods with tiny streets, many green spaces, ramblas and plazas for you to explore; the parks are great if you want an alternative to the beaches. If you stick to “The” Ramblas because all you want to do is shop or eat, there are other places where you can shop or dine  without being elbow-to-elbow with a bunch of other people.

  • Okay – maybe you can’t buy everything on The Ramblas. Right now, they’re selling these toys that you put in your mouth so that your voice becomes just a bunch of high-pitched duck quacks. (If someone knows what these are called, let me know below.) If you find that you absolutely need to buy of these toys, to buy a toy which seems so un-Spain to me, then you’ll be able to find it only on The Ramblas.

Ah, the beaches

Barcelona has a 9-kilometer stretch of beaches. The Playa Barceloneta and Playa Somorrostro are probably of the most popular, which I think is due to the fact that they’re easy to find — just get off at the Barceloneta subway station, which happens to be the first stop along the beachfront.  I see many tourists exit that station in the morning, and head back in the afternoon.

I spend a lot of time on Barcelona’s beaches; I really enjoy looking out to sea and contemplating the horizon. As for the beaches themselves,  I think some of the other ones up the coast are nicer.  The Barceloneta and Somorrostro beaches have a rocky shoreline, so walking into and out of the water is uncomfortable on the feet. I haven’t tried all the beaches, but I seem to remember that it was less ouch-y on the feet at a beach more northbound.

Kids having fun on the beach

Kids having fun on the beach

A picture of men working out on the beach

I think these boys on Barceloneta Beach *want* us to watch them

As nice as Barcelona’s beaches are, I think there are nicer beaches outside the city. Barcelona’s beaches feel a little “forced”. Historically, some of them were man-made for the 1992 Olympics, so in that sense, they’re “forced.” But each beach has a little bar / restaurant, a busy boardwalk, women walking along calling out “massage,  masaje“, and men consistently calling out “beer, agua, cerveza, beer, mojito.” It takes away from the relaxation that I think the beach should be, and makes it more tourist-y.

So, I travelled to a nearby town for 4€, and the beach was great! While I was in the water, I turned around to see a cute Spanish town surrounded by mountains. So beautiful! It was quite different than the urban skyline you see in Barcelona.

I don’t want to mention the name of the town. I have no idea if my blog will become hugely popular, but I don’t want to be responsible for the influx of tourists to a smaller town.  A pizza parlour in Naples and a shop in Bali are now heavily visited by travellers because of the book Eat, Pray Love. I want the small Spanish town to remain a small Spanish town and avoid having “beer, cerveza, beer” all the time on another beach.

But, I come back to: don’t just stick to Barcelona’s hot spots. If you have a few days in this region and want to see Spain, then go do your own exploring. It’s very easy!

Would you drink the water?

So, I’m going to talk a little bit more about these waiters selling water and other beverages on the beach. You should at the very least have your own water with you — you can bring an empty bottle with you from home, and the fill it up at your hotel. It’s much more eco-friendly this way!

But, here’s something that make me go “blech”. I think these men buy themselves huge cartons of bottled drinks and refrigerate them overnight. They then carry the drinks up and down the shore in plastic bags. How do they keep the drinks cold? They bury the drinks in the sand covered in towels. Okay, so you may not necessarily find that in itself gross, but, one day I noticed that the beach clean-up crew found one of these bunches towels under the sand and threw them in the garbage. The drink seller came by 5 minutes later, retrieved his towels and replaced his drinks under the sand. Who knows how many times this process may have already repeated itself?

Ew. I couldn’t bring myself to drink anything these men are selling after witnessing that, personally. Plus, it’s not an enjoyable business they’re running, so I hope my readers know to bring their own drinks to Barcelona’s beaches.

Other fun pictures of Barcelona

 

I've been to Europe a number of times, and the narrow streets still make me smile.

I’ve been to Europe a number of times, and the narrow streets still make me smile.

Even street lamps are cool

Even street lamps are cool

A cool tower. I dunno what it is

A cool tower. I dunno what it is

The buildings are often so nicely adorned

The buildings are often so nicely adorned

The washrooms are more fun in Barcelona, women

The washrooms are more fun in Barcelona, women

The washrooms are more fun in Barcelona, men

The washrooms are more fun in Barcelona, men

Yoshi gets revenge on Mario...

Yoshi gets revenge on Mario…

Finally, a store for us... that sells kids' clothing?

Finally, a store for us… that sells kids’ clothing?

A funny street name

A funny street name

Torre Agbar from afar

Torre Agbar from afar

Torre Agbar up close, isnt't as pretty

Torre Agbar up close, isn’t as pretty

Paris

I met in friend in Paris a few weeks ago, and it was very nice. I allowed myself to feel like I was actually on vacation, which was great after the tough time I’d been having emotionally before that. I had only about 48 hours in Paris, and I enjoyed myself. I enjoyed some good food there too!

I didn’t take that many pictures, but here are a few cute ones:

Luigi jumps so high, he gets a 1up!

Luigi jumps so high, he gets a 1up!

Here's Mario admiring the detail on the Arc de Triomphe. Che bella!

Here’s Mario admiring the detail on the Arc de Triomphe. Che bella!

And a few inside jokes…

And now, a few pictrues that only a handful of people will laugh at.

If I told you once, I've told you 100 times...

If I told you once, I’ve told you 100 times…

... stop following me!

… stop following me!

A sentiment we felt in my previous job...

A sentiment we felt in my previous job…

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