My last vacation seems like a life time ago, unless you want to count bi-annual trips to Nova Scotia to visit family, which I do not, as they generally leave me wanting a vacation from my vacation!
It was September of 2015 when I finally accomplished the long time goal of crossing the Atlantic and visiting Europe, more specifically Barcelona, Spain. We arrived just in time for La Mercé, the yearly celebration of the end of summer. If you have never heard of it, it is a week long street festival covering much of the city, it includes many street food vendors, musical acts, fireworks and of course “Correfoc”, the fire run. Correfoc is quite the spectacle, with organizers dressing as devils and lighting fireworks off among the crowd, if you’re afraid of fire, watch from a distance!
The giant headed gentlemen above was one of the many supplying candy to onlookers during one of the firework shows. If you’re going to take candy from a stranger, make sure it is at night and from a man with a giant mask on.
We had every intention of making the beach our first destination after checking into our hotel room, but the jet lag had other plans and after a long nap the first night of our vacation was spent drinking Estrella (Barcelona’s local beer, which to this day I still purchase) in a park curiously watching people exercise. Apparently this is the norm in Barcelona, night time work outs at the park.
On day 2 we certainly did find ourselves at the beach, and a lovely beach it was. After apparently stealing beach chairs that were for rental purposes, not for unaware Canadian tourists to do what they want with, we were greeted by a man offering to sell us some adult beverages. After thinking to myself “I wish you could do this back home”, said beach bartender/waiter extraordinaire quickly hid between us so as not to get caught by beach staff while mixing our drinks, illegal or not, he made a hell of a drink!
One of the main reasons I wanted to go to Barcelona was the food culture, I have worked as a Chef/Cook for a good decade of my life, and the food culture in Barcelona is highly regarded. After a few days of exploring the Gothic district and its many restaurants, I found myself addicted to Spanish Tortilla and tomato bread. Spanish Tortilla is an egg and potato pie/omelette hybrid that is mostly associated with breakfast, but is available almost everywhere all day. This isn’t to take away from the amazing food all over the city, it is just a testament to how delicious the tortillas are.
Enjoying a delicious Spanish Tortilla and Tomato toast
After a few days of exploring the city and taking in touristy sights like La Sagrada Familia, we decided to leave the city for a few days and head up the Catalan coast to the Small town of Blanes, located at the beginning of La Costa Brava. Blanes was a major change from the hustle of city life. A very quiet town with lots of nice beaches and gardens, it was an excellent place to relax for a few days.
I could write for hours about the food, beaches, alleyway beers with locals and just general greatness of this city and its inhabitants, but I’ll spare you the long winded travel story and leave the rest up to your imagination and possible wanderlust.
Have any of you been to Barcelona or the Mediterranean in general? I look forward to reading about your vacation adventures!