spanish fly

We just got back from Spain and Morocco, and it was fucking amazing.

For most of the first week, we were in Barcelona. This part wasn’t vacation – Ed was attending MWC with his company, and I was working from the hotel. I was also sick, having the symptoms I felt the day before we left turn into a full-blown flu/cold thing. We landed late Saturday night, and by noon the next day I had completely lost my voice. This sucked. I was 2/2 for Sick in Barcelona (albeit nowhere near as sick as last time), and I was over it before it had officially begun. I’m starting to think Barcelona is a somewhat cursed destination for me.

Still, my only real plan until Friday was to work, so instead of working in a sunny Spanish cafe somewhere, I stayed in my hotel room and worked and felt horrible. I did force myself out a few times to wander the Gothic Quarter in search of food, visit Casa Batlló, and have some amazing tacos, but for the most part I was left to my own miserable devices and recovery. The recovery part was essential, because as of Thursday at 5pm, our vacation was starting and I had plans. Many, many plans.

Luckily, by this time I was feeling much better so on Friday, I officially got my Barcelona Do-Over. We walked from our hotel to La Boqueria for some fruit and chocolate, then headed to Sagrada Familia which neither of us got to see last time (I was on my deathbed, and the others went only to find it closed due to an emergency). It was okay I guess:

lol jk it was fucking magical

I have a serious boner for stained glass, and it fucking delivered. The day was overcast, but we got some sunlight during our visit and it looked like this and holy shit. I understand why it moves people to tears (not me though, I’m way too cool to cry) (okay, my rage at the idiots doing photo shoots kept the awed tears at bay) – I have never seen anything like it. It’s amazing. If I ever go back to Barcelona, I will go visit again after I recover from whatever illness will strike me then. We took the elevator up one of the towers, and had some stunning views of the city:

so uniform! so orderly! so jealous.

Saw Gaudi’s grapes, walked backed down the spiral stairs and got shaky-leg, tingled in the pants over the stained glass some more, and generally just had a great time admiring the insanity of Gaudi’s vision.

From there, we went to Park Güell which I had also missed last time ’round. The weather was nice, and we enjoyed walking through the park .. but wasn’t crazy about the teeming crowds of people, all trying to take selfies and fashion pictures of each other. I still wasn’t feeling 100% so we didn’t climb up into the park, but did spend a good amount of time admiring the structures and park features:

you’re pretty okay, barcelona

With that, our week in Barcelona was over. Next stop: Madrid! We’d never been there before, so we hopped a train and had a pleasant ride to the capital of Spain.

Madrid was really nice – in fact, we both agreed that we like it more than Barcelona (sorry). It reminded me a lot of Paris for some reason, except cleaner and friendlier and less tower-centric. I had picked our hotel at random some months before, and once again hit the jackpot – it was outside of the bustling tourist area, but a fantastic location for walking (and a block away from all the art), quiet, comfortable, and had an EPIC breakfast each morning. We’d absolutely stay there again. Our train got in around 5pm, so after checking in we wandered around the neighbourhood in search of food, finding an incredible Mexican restaurant several blocks away. We ate ourselves stupid, then rolled back to the hotel to sleep.

As it was our first time in Madrid, we booked tickets on the hop-on-hop-off bus tour to get our bearings. Sunday in Madrid was super nice, so we round the routes several times to take in the city. There was much we wanted to do, but we really only had the Sunday to play with .. because the next morning, we were off to friggin’ Morocco. I had booked the hotel in Madrid for the entire week (we’d be leaving from the Madrid airport instead of Barcelona), in part so we could leave the majority of our stuff behind and travel light to Marrakech. It’s a somewhat extravagant luxury, but amazing for my overthinking brain and general anxiety.

I’m gonna end this here, because Marrakech deserves its own post. Madrid was awesome, and we’re hoping to go again next year if Ed does MWC again. We didn’t have time to check out the museum or palace or Primark or the Madrid equivalent of Times Square – our 2.5 days wasn’t nearly enough.

for example i only got to make one superman pun about this building and i’m capable of so many more


recapping spain

Home is the best!

We got home on Tuesday, and the cats were SO HAPPY. They wouldn’t leave our sides, which was very nice and somewhat damp. The flight home was uneventful – almost comfortable, even – and although I was still sick, I was overall pleased with just about everything.

Without further ado:

Barcelona in Bullet Points!

  • Neither our flights to or from Barcelona had USB. However, I was able to manipulate the universe in such a way that we each had double seats to ourselves for the long flights.
  • I’m still marveling at the size of Barcelona streets and sidewalks – they’re fucking huge and it’s so nice
  • Our first hotel was attached to a mall, so that was pretty fun – there were plenty of food options available and a supermarket for water and no Diet Coke
  • I missed Diet Coke
  • A lot
  • I didn’t get to see quite a few things on my list because I was sick, but my favourite places I DID see were La Boqueria and La Pedrera
  • Our second (third) hotel was right off La Rambla, a popular thoroughfare in the center of town. It was pretty amazing and reasonable and I completely enjoyed being in one of those little balcony suites I had been admiring all week.
  • Not having access to laundry is a pain in the ass
  • Hotel laundry is laughably expensive
  • I have a really bad stress fracture in my left foot that made things painful – I don’t recommend it
  • My (horrible, no good, terrible) stomach flu had me spending a lot of time in bed, feeling sorry for myself – but it also gave me a lot of time to just listen. So much of Barcelona takes place on side streets and alleys, where pedestrian traffic is king. It was really nice having the prevalent background noise consist of Spanish chatter, laughter, scooters, clinking dishes, and skateboards rather than the usual trucks and honking we get at home. I could definitely live in that environment, and not miss the urban mess of Vancouver one bit.
  • I have been itchy for over a week and I don’t know why
  • Seeing Barcelona by tour bus was awesome, but a two-day pass didn’t seem necessary
  • We didn’t get to use our tickets to Sagrada Familia because they were for the day I got sick, so clearly we will need to return to Barcelona to do that
  • Park Güell, too
  • The weather was gorgeous the entire time – it only really rained on one day, and I was sick in bed anyway so I missed it
  • Everyone was dressed for winter, which was adorable in the +14-18C sunshine
  • I got a lot of weird looks for being bare legged and without a jacket/toque/scarf/mittens/boots
  • Or maybe they were just staring because I am so exotically beautiful
  • But I doubt it
  • Did I mention that the alleyways were amazing?
  • I took a lot of pictures of buildings
  • You can see them here
  • We ate patatas bravas with every meal
  • I was actually sick of them by the time we left
  • To be fair, I was actually sick at the time we left
  • Ham. Ham everywhere.
  • One of the best meals we had in Barcelona was at a vegetarian restaurant
  • I’m surprised, too
  • The Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris is a nightmare – it took us our entire layover of 2+ hours to get from our arrival gate to our departure gate
  • Drinking chocolate is amaaaaaazing
  • It was fun seeing Barcelona with other people! I love traveling with friends. I should do it more.
  • It’s SEVEN MONTHS until my next trip and that is so depressing I could cry
  • I wonder if I could go somewhere for my birthday
  • I think this should happen
  • Anyone want to adventure?