It was time for our Eurotrip and we were ready!
We started off our trip to Barcelona, Spain to see my family for the first few days. The second week we flew to Palermo, Sicily to see the other side of my husband’s culture. After experiencing what Sicily had to offer, we flew up to Venice, Italy because you can’t go to Italy without seeing the sinking city of this beautiful country. Finally, we wrapped up our final week with Rome.
Coneix-me a Barcelona/Meet me in Barcelona
It is no secret that Latinos have huge families and I am no exception. Ever since my mother told me I had cousins in Spain, I had dreamed of visiting and getting to know them. I had gotten in contact with my oldest cousin, Ivan, who had been living in Barcelona for years after moving from Madrid. I had a feeling he and I would get along because he is a drummer and seemed to enjoy the same taste of music as I did. The last time he had seen me, I was about two years old so he was just as excited to see me as I was.
Ivan is the oldest of four and a professional musician. He also is an excellent swimmer and has now achieved his goal of becoming a certified swim teacher. While he was born and raised in Ecuador, he eventually decided to move to Madrid where his younger siblings followed after. Unfortunately, both his parents passed away early on in life and I was not able to meet them (properly). This was another reason I wanted to meet these cousins. I admired their courage to build a life while being pushed to grow up quicker than most from the lack of parental guidance.
After spending so much time with Ivan, we learned we had more in common than we thought: huge animal lovers, we question religion, we appreciate of the arts, enjoying drawing, even our style of clothing were on the same level. Because of Ivan, I was able to meet my other cousins Martha, Juan Carlos, and Dario. Martita and Ivan are closer to my age so they knew I existed whereas Juan Carlos and Dario were not even born when I was around at two years old 😛
Where we went, what we saw
D made it his mission to take me to have some paella. I had recently gotten into seafood so he wanted to satisfy my craving for some amazing seafood. While he gave it his very best shot, I am sad to say the place was a miss. We went to this restaurant called Can Ramonet which looked beautiful inside and out so we had high hopes that the food would reflect that. We ordered the black rice paella. In the restaurant’s defense, it may have been us. My taste buds were off since I was feeling a little under the weather but we would not deny the fact that the rice was unbearably salty. So salty that it tasted as if the rice was cooked with salt water and all the meat in the rice was cooked in salt as well. We were both disappointed but we decided to move on from there.
The night was saved thanks to Paradiso! Paradiso is a “speakeasy”. What is a speakeasy? I’m so glad you asked (no one asked)! A speakeasy is an “illicit” establishment that serves alcoholic beverages. This was a huge thing back in the day during the Prohibition time but kind of died out after 1933 (that’s when the Prohibition ended. Don’t take my word for it. Look it up. Honestly, this is going to be a long post so I really just got some of this information from Wikipedia… which, if you went to school for journalism, you’d know that you NEVER cite Wiki as your source. Too many people can alter it. Don’t trust everything you read on the internet, kiddos… except everything I say. I’m right about everything!)
Speaking of being sneaky, the speakeasy was pretty unique and cleverly hidden. Luckily for D, there was absolutely no line when we arrived and I did not find anything suspicious about it. He took me up to a deli shop that appeared to be popular since it was about 9pm and there were two people at the counter. It looked like a regular deli where you go and get your cold cuts and move on with your day. There was only enough space for about four people to be inside comfortably but there was a secret. He confidently walked up to the oven doors located left to the deli section and turned the oven handle one way and poof! This lead to another hallway where curtains covered what appeared to be another room that was being guarded by a bouncer. This must be some grade A horse-selling meat sort of place! When the bouncer let us through, I was amazed by where we ended up – in a secret bar! It looked so cool with these vines all around the ceiling, low lit lighting, and chic music playing. We stopped by to get have some drinks and they did not disappoint.
If I am being honest, I had forgotten how thoughtful and romantic D could be. I never understood how he could be this way so effortlessly. His way of loving someone is so classic that I swear he was born in the wrong decade. After this outing, Ivan had a list of ideas planned for us! He took us to this mountain where I wore the absolute wrong outfit for this but it was a miscommunication. Don’t ask me how this happened under the same roof, it just did.
After what seemed like forever, we finally got to the top of this mountain and the view was so peaceful and breathtaking. The air felt crisp and clean and while there were other people around us, it felt like everyone was there for the same reason: to just be quiet. Everyone spoke only as high as a whisper. Some some were there alone, others alone but meditating, couples just taking in the view, family members with their pets just taking pictures. It was just peace and quiet. It was beautiful. We carefully hiked down and made our way to Basilica de la Sagrada Familia. This minor basilica was still being worked on when we arrived to admire its gothic structure and it was still something to be amazed at.
D and I love the gothic style Barcelona has to offer and we were just in love with everything we saw. In fact, my cousin lived in the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona and that is where we also stayed through our duration of our trip.
By this point, I realized why everyone was so fit in this area: you’re walking everywhere. You don’t really need a car so you are always walking. That and the fact that the U.S. may very well be the only country in the world who thinks it’s okay to super size everything, even something as heavy as pasta (this is important for later when I brag about Italy). You see, while we ate a lot during our trip, we ate as everyone else did. It looked like tapas were the choice of meals and, hey, “when it Rome!” – err, when in Barcelona? No, the first one was accurate.
We walked everywhere and took mass transportation. I loved it. I hate driving with a firey passion so I will always opt out to walking whenever I can. On another occasion, we made the trip to Castell de Montjuic, a fancy castle!
The final place we went to was Placa de Saint Felip Neri. This place has a dark background of the 1938 bombing. You can see the ruins on the wall and if you keep walking, you will miss it. Ivan was able to point it out to us. So, naturally, it felt like a good time to take a picture together! We did pay our respect to read the plaque and remember the victims (children).
Until next time!
Barcelona was hands down my favorite vacation stop. I got the opportunity to meet another part of my family, I saw beautiful, historical buildings, ate delicious food, and even played my cousin’s drums. If you want to see that gem, you can head over to my IG @sssour_girl. I am going to split up the trip in different posts because, well, honestly, Barcelona deserved its own post. It was the BEST!