May 2, 2009

Day 1: {Barcelona, Spain}

I'm pooped! That's what happens when you become over ambitious and try to do too much in one day when you are in a foreign country.

Don't get me wrong....I'm not complaining because I had SO much fun today and I even sneaked in TWO naps!! Our very first day in Barcelona and the weather couldn't have been more perfect. 70's, warm with a sea breeze. I woke up around 4am because of jetlag and engrossed myself with some of my favorite books before waking my hubby up at 8am. We got ready, ate breakfast at the hotel, and bravely started strolling the streets with a map provided by the concierge. For this particular trip, we didn't feel like having a preplanned itinerary for each day, as we wanted to do everything at our own pace and just take it easy.

We started off on the famous streets of Las Ramblas, which was filled with flower stalls, street artists, musicians, bird markets, and a ton of tapas bars. The vibe was great--sort of felt like a never ending farmer's market from the states. It also reminded me of 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. I drooled over all the candies that I saw, as you can see in the photos below...

Next, we decided to do a Segway Tour to get ourselves familiarized with the city. I had my first segway experience nearly a year ago in San Francisco, and absolutely loved it, so needless to say, we were both excited to hop on a segway again in Barcelona! We had a private tour with just the two of us, so that we could stop at various points to sightsee and take photos. Our tour guide Vanessa was fabulous--very nice and informative and taught us quite a bit about the history of Spain. We started out in the older, more historical streets of Barcelona and eventually ended up by the waterfront which is considered 'Modern Barcelona'. As we segway'd along the waterfront, the endless Meditteranean Sea glistened at us. It was so beautiful it felt surreal. Since today was such a warm Saturday, the beach was jammed packed with people swimming and suntanning. We must have passed hundreds of outdoor restaurants/cafes that were just buzzing with both locals and tourists.

After two hours on the segway, our calves were about to give in so we returned them and found ourselves a restaurant along the waterfront for a yummy lunch. I had this foie gras truffled ravioli that was OUT OF THIS WORLD! After lunch, we took our time to stroll the streets where many street vendors displayed interesting hand crafted items.

At around 3pm I could sense myself dozing off a bit (remember I woke up at 4am!) so we made a stop at one of the many beautiful outdoor cafes by the beach and flopped down on their comfy leather daybeds. As Alan sipped his pina colada, I was in deep dreams already...

After my quick nap, we continued to stroll the shops along the beach but that glistening ocean was too attractive to miss so before we knew it, we took our shoes off and ran down the soft sandy beach. I took another nap and it felt like heaven with the warm sun on my back and the sea breeze to cool me off a bit. I felt like I was in one of those commercials that tell you 'Ahhhh, THIS is the life to live!' I was totally able to decompress.

With achy, blistered feet, I whined a bit about the walk to find a good dinner restaurant and Alan suggested we rent bicycles! I haven't ridden a bike for soooo long, so I loved the sound of it. Some of the more narrow streets were challenging to maneuver, but we enjoyed the challenge.

Our evening ended with a delicious dinner at a local restaurant known for its tapas and sangria. Ofcourse, we couldn't go back to the hotel without a gelato!!

What an unbelievable day! We loved being on our own and not having an agenda. We got to explore a lot of side streets with interesting shops, and were adventurous in trusting our instincts with restaurants. We heart Barcelona!!!!

Oh, one last note. Interestingly enough, we came across a wedding at one of the older cathedrals
and I couldn't help myself....I sneaked a photo of the bride and groom! :) Congrats!

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