Our apartment is quiet this weekend. Bryan is already home in the States for Christmas, but I needed to stay and work another day.
I am behind on the blog again, so this post will be about Annie Brown’s visit and our trip to Barcelona, Spain! So, let’s rewind to Thanksgiving. Annie, Bryan’s best childhood friend, flew in the evening of the 23rd from Nashville to visit us. We left for Spain the next day.
As Annie, Bryan and I were planning the trip, we discussed the endless list of places to go from Amsterdam. And, Spain was at the top of all of our lists. Annie spent 4 years living in Honduras after graduating from college, so she is fluent in Spanish! (Annie chatting with all of the taxi drivers in Spanish are some of my favorite memories of the trip — she makes friends wherever she goes)
Visiting Barcelona in the winter proved to be the perfect choice. With fewer crowds and less heat, Barcelona was more enjoyable and easier to get around. Most of our itinerary came from our good friends in Amsterdam, Jamie and Mike. They lived in Barcelona before moving to Amsterdam. They knew all the best spots.
We arrived Thanksgiving night and went to dinner at a fantastic restaurant, Arume. While we did not gobble up turkey and mashed potatoes, Spanish tapas were a fantastic alternative. Plus, they don’t leave you quite as sleepy! We ate for hours, laughed, drank, and caught up, our very own version of Thanksgiving.:)
Located in the quintessential neighborhood, our Air Bnb felt like it was our own home. It contained the original Spanish tiles and more interesting paintings and knick knacks than you can imagine.
On Friday morning, we woke up early and explored. We headed over to brunch in a lovely part of the city near the university. Friday brunch at Brunch & Cake was probably my favorite meal of the trip-it is a must for anyone visiting Barcelona. It checked the healthy box for the ladies and not so healthy for Bryan ha! Bryan ordered chicken nachos…
After our brunch, we went to the famous shopping street La Rambla and the gals did a bit of shopin’ – not Bryan’s favorite activity. Actually, Bryan could not complain because he got a fabulous coat that he now wears all the time.
We were planning on going to Park Güell on Saturday, but because the weather was nice on Friday, we decided to go to see if we could get in. Unfortunately, when we got arrived, the restricted area was sold out. The famous benches are part of the area you need to buy tickets for now! That did not stop us from walking around the park and admiring Gauidí’s work. Annie brought her nice camera and took many of these gorgeous pictures!
We headed down the hill and went to a cool place for food/drinks, El Nacional. It reminded me of Atlanta’s Ponce city market because it had indoor food stalls in an industrial setting. After we ate some appetizers and had a glass of wine, we headed back to the apartment to take a nap before our big night out. Mind you, it was already 8pm. The night was young for Barcelona! Barcelona does not get going until later in the evening and we needed to keep our energy up!! After our nap, Annie, Bryan and I ended up going dancing into the wee hours of the AM and had the most wonderful time:)
On Saturday morning we spent most of our time at La Sagrada Familia. It is far and away the most beautiful and exquisite cathedral I have ever seen. Gauidí = genius. It is not only the enormous size, but also the interior architecture. The cathedral’s beauty and overwhelming presence of God brought us to tears.
After some more walking and shopping and eating on Saturday afternoon, we headed back to park Güell to take some pictures at the benches. Our love affair with Gaudí did not end there, because after the park, we went to the Gaudí museum and the outside of Casa Batlo. Gaudí is the man! I am currently looking at the beautiful Gaudí inspired ornament I bought for our tree.
On Saturday night, we went to another great restaurant we stumbled upon on our way to the W hotel, Sensi Mezzanine. One of Bryan’s favorite memories from his time in Europe in college, was skinny dipping with a group of guys in the ocean outside of the W! We wanted to go up to the top floor after dinner to check it out. The W hotel is in a really neat location in the city because it is right on the ocean and is shaped like a ship! We only stayed for one drink and then headed home because we were exhausted.
Sunday morning, we woke up and did a healthy brunch at Flax and Kale. Annie and I loved eating healthy and getting some green juice. It was much needed after the amount of eating and drinking we did during our time.
Our last bucket list item was finding churros.
Oh, and we found them. Delicious.
It was a great way to end our trip because on Sunday afternoon, we headed back to Amsterdam.
For the next couple of days in Amsterdam, while Bryan and I were working, Annie did touristy activities and a day trip to Brussels. We hated having to work while she was here, but enjoyed introducing her to our friends and getting to do dinners at night.
Bryan and I loved having Annie here and cannot wait until she comes again. She is already planning on coming back again while we are here, and could not be more thankful, or excited.