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:
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:
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:
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.