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Bonding in Barcelona, Spain
Getting the #family together for the holidays was tricky. As the designated planner, I chose #Barcelona; a quirky location fitting for an equally quirky family. We roamed the city on foot, tried salsa #dancing, scrumptious #foodanddrink, a tour round the stadium, the theatre, and relaxing in our amazing hotel.
Ah, family. Just like countless others, we’ve travelled together many times over the years, and it hasn’t always been smooth. There was the year my brother passed out cold in a cab in Chicago, the year my mom and her boyfriend got lost in Paris and rode the metro in a loop at least a half dozen times, the year my husband broke his hand the day before an epic ski trip. There’s also the occasional spat about who gets to pick the happy hour spot.
So, as the designated planner for the whole group, I was pretty determined to make our Thanksgiving vacation work for all five personalities involved.
We took over two rooms at the Hotel Colon, chiefly for the prime location.
Hotel Colón Thalasso Termal
Sagrada Família Tour
The Cathedral is right in front of the hotel and made for some excellent people watching. We spent quite a bit of time up on the rooftop deck, playing cards and drinking cava, the view is fantastic. The pool up there is even heated, but we unfortunately didn’t get to use it because well, who travels with swimsuits in November?! The central location made it really easy to pop out every morning for coffee and excessive pastries, I’m fairly certain we tried every shop in the neighborhood.
The Cathedral is right in front of the hotel and made for some excellent people watching
I’d pre-setup quite a few activities I thought my family would be into. Some of them we did together (you’re looking at a group full of Picasso geeks), but some things I decided were mother-daughter only, and we sent the guys off.
One of these girls-only outings landed us somewhere I’d never dreamed I’d be - salsa dancing lessons. It’s not that I don’t desperately need said lessons, I just didn’t expect to have the coordination or rhythm to pull this class off. However, the teacher didn’t quit on the spot, and my mother and I were more than happy to show off our new moves without embarrassment, which makes this class a winner.
Sagrada Família Tour
Museum of Chocolate
Most days, we strolled through the city on foot, shopping for Christmas gifts, and ducking in and out of cafes for coffee more often than we probably should have. We made our way down to Barceloneta Beach, not minding at all that it was windy, because the people in the area are just so damn entertaining. Every night, we were all worked up, trying our best to one-up each other with restaurant recommendations. Once I realized trying new foods was going to be our common denominator, I got in touch with the guys at Barcelona Food Tour and got us five spots on their Gotico Brunch Tour.
I realized trying new foods was going to be our common denominator
Barceloneta Tapas Tour
Museum of Chocolate
We walked the old town with a small group, so we could keep our focus on small local joints. My husband and I agreed the olive oil tasting was our favorite part, while my brother unsurprisingly chose a cheese plate as his top dish, and my mom and her boyfriend? Well, they picked a local favorite; thick hot chocolate and sugary curros.
My husband and I agreed the olive oil tasting was our favorite part
During one of our rooftop nights, my brother suggested we tour the FC Barcelona stadium, Camp Nou.
FC Barcelona Stadium Tour
Barcelona City Tour on Bus
I’m not going to pretend I’m interested in soccer in the slightest, and I had no idea who this Messi fellow was prior to this trip. But I’m democratic, so I was willing to tag along. Watching the guys completely geek out in the room full of Liga and Champions League trophies was a major highlight. With our tour, we got to go into the locker room, through the player’s tunnel, and out onto the field, which I have to admit was pretty impressive.
With our tour, we got to go into the locker room, through the player’s tunnel, and out onto the field, which I have to admit was pretty impressive
The night before we were set to leave, sending us in several different directions, I wanted to pull out all the stops. (Truthfully, I was desperate to spend a night sitting down; who knows how many miles I’d put on my boots this trip). Earlier that month, I’d snatched up tickets to Beethoven's Symphony #9 at the Gran Teatre del Liceu. I was pretty giddy about seeing anything in this theatre, it’s just stunningly gorgeous.
I was pretty giddy about seeing anything in this theatre, it’s just stunningly gorgeous
By the time I was done discreetly snapping photos on my phone of the black and white tiled floor, painted ceilings, and all gold everything, I’d nearly forgotten we were there to see a show! My mother was openly weeping (too much cava?) and I’m 90% sure the rest of us had a tear or two as well.
Overall, we had a really stellar Thanksgiving together in Barcelona. We laughed until (some of us) cried, stuffed ourselves silly with paella, and planned to spend many more holidays as one big dysfunctional family.