La Pedrera in Barcelona driving to Girona, Spain

La Pedrera

La Pedrera in Barcelona driving to Girona, Spain

Barcelona is a wonderful city to recover from jet lag. It is small enough so it isn’t overwhelming. The food is wonderful, even for those who have dietary restrictions. There is a mix of Roman ruins, multi-century Spanish architecture, and Gaudi! & then there are the people!!! Everyone we met was warm and welcoming.

We bought 2 adult soccer shirts and a shirt for the baby on the way. We already have two granddaughters. Mike and Kate are expecting a baby boy. Kate’s dad is a big Messi fan. Sean put one on.

 Today we left Barcelona for the North. We will not be going to Morocco. Instead we are going to the south of France & Portugal. Before we left Barcelona, Jim, Sean, and I got up and went to La Pedrera. You can go inside to see it. Sophia did not want to get up and go. (We won’t let that happen again. It was totally worth getting up for.)

   Antonin Gaudi was born in 1852 into a family of coppersmiths.  He moved to Barcelona to study teaching. He became interested in Utopian society and socialism. He studied architecture. I don’t know why he switched from teaching to architecture. His first architectural projects focused on buildings for proletariat. He began working on the cathedral Basilica de Sagrada Familia. He became enomored with the Catholic faith. After working on the project he converted both his political beliefs and his faith. He spent the rest of his life as a passionate advocate for Catholicism. When you are inside La Pedrera it feels like you are walking through a Dr Suess book. The roof has 13 chimneys + some vents all with interesting shapes. His designs were inspired by nature.


The tops of these chimneys are broken champagne bottles!

It is hard to stop taking photos. Each turn is cooler than the last! Some of these are from the rooftop to the buildings across the way.

He would do things like hang strands of wire upside down, examine their shape in a mirror, and mimic the shape they make draping down.

 The attic of La Pedrera is structured like a snake’s skeleton.

 His chairs and door handles are ergonomically designed. Gaudi would have a peron grab clay and then squeeze it and make a mold so that the door handle would be perfect for them. La Pedrera was originally designed for one prominent family. Eventually it was divided into apartments. Today much of it is still private apartments. These are a series of photos showing how an apartment would be decorated during Gaudi’s time.

                               We took a cab to the airport where we rented a car, left Barcelona, and drove to Girona. The taxi ride was funny because there was not enough room in the cab we hailed, so Sean and Jim had luggage piled in their lap. We went back and forth about taking a train or driving and opted to drive.

   I forgot to tell you a funny story. Everyone took a shower before I did. When I went into the shower, I noticed there were 3 bottles in there. Can you tell what they all have in them?

In case you cannot. There is bath soap, hand soap, and hand lotion. I asked who used lotion on their hair. LOL, Sean thought it was conditioner.

We rented a room in the historic district on the hill. (More on that tomorrow.) Girona is like stepping back in time. Sophia had never been to Europe, so she had never been to one of these old towns. Her entire face lit up. We would wait until the next day to explore Girona. We wandered around getting our bearings, marveling at the surroundings. Girona is in the Catalan region. Many of the signs are in Catalan. With our Spanish as bad as it is, it was confusing. We could not figure out how to get to our hotel so we hired a taxi to show us the way. It was worth every penny!



I love old cobbled streets!

Sean’s Barcelona jersey has people wanting to talk soccer with him. When we told Akmed, the person checking us in, Sean rowed instead, he told us it was called remar. El rema y esquia. Akmed was excited to hear Sean rowed because his best friend married a rower and the two moved to San Diego so he could row. “Do you know Bernard Stomporowski,” he asked. No, we do not.

 Sean had his favorite dish on the trip so far, a potato dish with sauce. While eating potatoes, soccer was on. We learned that if Girona wins 2 more games they will move up to Division 1. There are three divisions and they are fluid as to which teams are in it. Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville are always in the top because they are so good. There are 6 teams in each division. (I hope that is correct.) Our memory is sketchy on that detail. The other slots in Division 1 are very competitive. Both Bilbao and Barcelona are in the Catalan area. It was a great year for soccer in Catalan. Sean loves graffiti.

We met a group of Venezualans at the Harlem Club. The next day we saw one of them, Maximillano Fugues, with his wife, Lia del Sol, and mother-in-law in Girona. “Did you know the Game of Thrones is going to be filmed in Girona next season,” Maximillano asked. We did not. I looked it up and it is. When you visit here you will understand why they would use this location.

     There are many expats from Venezuala in Spain. We were told many of them are here because they feel Venezuala has become a dictatorship, and all the educated young people who can leave do. Jim asked what was going to happen to Venezuala after all the smart young people left. Jim was told, “Tell the last one to turn out the lights.”

We also learned the Spanish love Cuba. I cannot wait to visit there!

Check out yesterdays post here.

Last full day in Barcelona, Spain


Last full day in Barcelona, Spain

We woke up late again. Even I didn’t get up early this morning. When I finally woke the kids up before noon they were STARVING!  Even Sophia who almost never eats. Sean commented on the way over that the entire trip the 4 of us are looking for something to eat. LOL, that’s what traveling with a 15 year old boy is like. I get distracted along the way.


Sean need a pastry appetizer to eat on our way to the restaurant.


Sophia’s huge pot of soup!


There is a big soccer game tonight. The Bilbao fans have been celebrating since we got here. The red and white shirt are the Bilbao fans. The red and blue shirts are Barcelona. We learned today that Kate is having a boy, so we bought him a Barcelona team outfit, with Messi’s name on it!   


The kids wanted to go back and nap (so did Jim).We came back and I washed the second load of clothes.They dry the old fashioned way! The photos are on the wall behind where I am hanging clothes out. The kids are napping on the sofa bed together but there are three beds and three bedrooms. There is also a kitchen with all the appliances. The location is 2 and 1/2 blocks away from Gaudi’s La Perdrera. It is in a great location. I originally wanted to stay in the Gothic District. I am glad we didn’t. Every time we have been down there it has been really crowded and noisy. We are in the Modern District (named for all the Gaudi buildings in it). It is a litlle over a km to the Gothic District. Perfect! Here is a link to the apartment,

Our host Carlos.      

La Perdrera by Gaudi. The kids were seriously too hungry to go inside. They woke up from their nap starving AGAIN.

Casa Batillo, this is only about 4 blocks from where we were stayingg

Sean preferred the building next to it, below. He told us he likes symmetry.



Barcellona is a lovely mix of old and new. There are Roman walls with an oldchurch restored with Gaudi’s help alltogether. (Blair, “I will not stop sightseeing to eat, unless you let me get a photo of you two!)


Our table at the restaurant. I thought of Mark Klitsie! I should tellyou it is about 10 p.m.that we are eating dinner. It stays light until 9  


How much did we like dinner last night? Enough to eat here again on to night.


The owner of our apartment invited us to go listen to his band, Son de la Rambla play. They played traditional cuban music. There were some wonderful dancers at this. It got off to a slowish start because of the big game where Barcelona beat Bilboa 3 to 1. Everyone was watching it. It was the national championship. They play next week for the European cup against Italia. Once the game was over the party began! That is our host in red doing a rap number. It was a wonderful night. We got to sleep about 3 a.m. The band played until 4 a.m. The kids were tired and wanted to leave. I made them promise they would go to see Gaudi in the morning if we did!

Check out my first post from Barcelona here.

Barcelona day 1


May 29
We woke up feeling pretty good. Sean immediately wanted to go deal with tickets to Primavera Sound.


My shoes for the day. I would be back after getting the tickets to the concert. They looked so comfortable when I bought them!

We figured the subway out. Once again I understand the language better than anyone else. Sophia and Jim were both going to brush up onimage

their Spanish, but we are having to wing it on my high school and college Spanish. Jim and I like to take it easy the first couple of days, and then go like the wind the rest. When we got in the train we all were a bit grumbly and it was then I realized we were not quite as alive as we felt upon waking. (Dropping grumbly teens off in a foreign country at one of the largest music festivals with about 110 rules to follow seemed good in some ways and worrisome in others.)

At Primavera Sound
At Primavera Sound

There was tight security and the crowd looked nice. There were people from all over the world, judging from the accents we heard & many groups looked about the age of our kids. They did make Jim pay for a ticket and take the

Needed for entrance to Primavera Sound
Needed for entrance to Primavera Sound

kids in, but Sophia’s ticket was free so it worked out to what we expected in the first place.

With the kids deposited, Jim and I went back to the apartment, washed a load of clothes, and went to the Gothic District. The Gothic District is the old part of Barcelona built by the Romans. It has the narrow streets, cobbled walkways, twisty turns, and old buildings I love to see.,_Barcelona


The lovely church spire was designed by Gaudi (more on him tomorrow).

Here is a photo of Roman ruins that are being excavated.


I am a vegan and a foodie. Before becoming a vegan, it was hard for me to figure out what restaurants we were going to go to. Now I have many fewer to choose from, so it is easier. We went to a superb!!! restaurant last night. I am known among my friends and family for my healthy eating. I cannot get too far off my diet when we travel if I want to feel good. I have found that none of us feel good after 1 week if we eat too differently. So we stick as close as we can to what we eat at home.


Barcelona is a good city to be getting over jet lag. It stays open late and doesn’t get started early. Every one but me woke after noon, and we are staying up until the early hours of the morning.  The time in Barcelona is 9 hours off that in California.

Eating with the kids at 1:30 a.m.
Eating with the kids at 1:30 a.m.

Check out my post on the way from San Diego to Barcelona here.