Monday, May 4, 2015

Road Trip to Spain: Barcelona

Previous Spain posts:
Road Trip to Spain: Costa Brava
Road Trip to Spain: Montserrat

On the last day of our trip to Spain, we finally made it to Barcelona.  Rather than driving into the city, we opted to drive to a nearby town (about 30 minutes) and park for free, and then take the train (about an hour).

As many a traveler knows, when you have limited time in a major city, the temptation is to cram in as much as possible to make the most of it.  Well, ever since we discovered Simplicity Sightseeing back in 2012, we know ourselves better.  Our goal was to see the cathedral, grab some food, and head home, tourist-guilt-free.  Anything else was just bonus.

But you must admit, if you're going to a city only to see a cathedral, the Sagrada Família is a pretty good one.

our favorite part, the columns designed to look like trees
The four of us listened to the children's version of the audio guide together.  Frankly Pete and I find we enjoy children's guides just as well as the adult ones; they're often less boring with less information-overload, while still giving you the general idea.
pretty crowded!

We bought tickets to climb one of the towers, but they were closed due to the weather.  Apparently our credit card has been refunded.

By the way, in Spain, the "grab a pastry" part of Simplicity Sightseeing = order tapas and sangria
a nearby restaurant for lunch
taken by James
After the visiting the cathedral, we walked over to Parc de la Ciutadella (i.e. pointed ourselves on the phone GPS toward a largish green space within walking distance)

That's about it!

Maybe next time we head this way, we'll arrange lodging in the city and see more. Meanwhile, we were happy with our mainly-beach vacation.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Road Trip To Spain: Montserrat

First Spain post - Road Trip to Spain: Costa Brava

Midweek, we took a day trip to Montserrat to go hiking.  You're better off googling it then having me explain, but it's an abbey on a mountain, an hour outside of Barcelona.  Here's the wikipedia to start.

You can take a cable car or rack railway up to the abbey from the town below (where the train from Barcelona stops) to add to the experience/expense.  Since we had the car anyway, we drove all the way up to the abbey and parked for 6€. 

from abbey-level
Once you're at the abbey, you can walk or take a funicular further up the mountain.

From the top of the funicular, you can hike further up and around several trails.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Road Trip to Spain: Costa Brava

This will be the first of 2-3 posts of photos from our vacation in Spain.  My strategy is to mostly photo- dump without a lot of commentary, or else this could take awhile.
about 675 miles
I will just say this: I credit Pete with the vision for this vacation.  This guy works long, hard hours during the week and then volunteers nearly every Saturday and Sunday for church at what is basically a second part-time job, not to mention how dedicated he is to serving his family in between and during all of this.  He deserved to have a break that would actually be a nice, relaxing break for him.

So he wanted to go somewhere relatively warm.  He wanted to take a road trip rather than fly.  He wanted to drive somewhere - for it to actually feel far, far away.  He thought Spain sounded nice.  When he got there, he wanted to drink a beer and stare at the ocean.  And that's about it.

When you're vacation goals are very basic, it's very easy to meet them!

With one weekend off church and a day spent driving each way, we had 5 days to spend in Spain over the Easter holidays.  Through the magic of airbnb, we booked a very inexpensive apartment (even by airbnb standards) overlooking the ocean in a town we'd never heard of, and then proceeded to worry we'd been tricked or missed the fine print.  

Thankfully, all was as advertised!

We spent most of our time at the beach in town or hiking along the coast to other beaches making up the Costa Brava.  Some of the neighboring countries had already finished their Easter breaks, so it wasn't terribly overcrowded.

On with the photos.

St. Antoni de Calonge and Palamós:

Exploring to the south:

Exploring to the north, La Fosca Beach:

Exploring to the north,  Cala de S'alguer:

Exploring to the north, Castell Beach:

A drive to the south, Tossa de Mar: