We arrived from Girona around noon, but Giana and I still felt fatigued from our illness, so despite the beautiful sunny day we stayed in and discovered Netflix hasn't yet arrived in Spain. Maria left to see some of the city, buy some groceries, and find a library to get work done on her interminable projects.
The next day Giana and I also ventured out, finding the sun and above 60 degree temperatures that we loved in Nice a week ago a bit chilly. When we made it to the door of the apartment, the girls decided they hadn't dressed warm enough and went back to the apartment for more layers. I waited on the street, pulling my scarf tighter as locals met the day without any coats at all. Soon I heard an agitated voice behind me that increased steadily to panic. It sounded like Maria. From the apartment's intercom Maria told me they had locked themselves in the room. Confused and concerned I headed back upstairs to find the key on the outside of the closed apartment door, and Maria telling me from a window how they had become locked in the apartment. After a hearty laugh I told Maria to slide, rather than turn, the**** of the odd door. The door released its embarrassed prisoners.
Finally on the road we first went to Parc Güell, a green park designed by Catalan artist Antoni Gaudí. The park covers a hill overlooking the city and gave me my first taste of La Sagrada Familia. I was excited to visit this magnificent yet unfinished church that towered over the buildings that had towered over me. We enjoyed the rest of the park, seeing Gaudí's distinct style in preparation for his work on the La Sagrada Familia. From the Parc we took a metro to La Rambla, a wide upscale shopping boulevard, and walked along it to La Boqueria Market. The market featured dozens of vendors selling fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats (including exotic options like cow heart and sheep brain), as well as ready to eat sandwiches, meat pies, gelato, candy and chocolate, and of course paella. We enjoyed cups of strawberries, fresh juices, and gelato before picking up our dinner. The girls got some meat pies while I had a bangin' bowl of paella. The girls picked up some chocolate for dessert, and I got a bag of Gummi bears. We turned in early so Giana and I could recover and Skype loved ones. That evening Maria went to La Sagrada Familia for Ash Wednesday mass while Giana and I watched The Walking Dead without Netflix.
The next morning, in the interest of getting to Thursday morning mass at La Sagrada Familia, we left apartment before noon. We left before the girls usually woke up. We attended mass in the chapel beneath the church and received a special welcome from the priest. Then we went upstairs.
La Sagrada Familia took our breath away. The modern artistic and architectural decisions felt very refreshing after many beautiful but centuries old churches. It really must be seen in person though, and my words won't begin to do it justice.
After taking it in we got brunch, still before we usually would have left the apartment, and then departed for Montserrat, a monastery on a mountain about 30 kilometers outside of Barcelona. The site offers spectacular views of the surrounding country, a beautiful old monastery basilica, and some nostalgia for the girls, but the altitude change had affected me poorly so after little more than an hour we descended.
Back in Barcelona, we wanted to have tapas and sangria our last night in Spain. We sat down around 5 pm and ordered a jar of sangria and a wide variety of tapas including grilled peppers, mussels, fried olives, fried brie, and some "Barceloneta bombs." Five hours and another jar of sangria later, we had some dessert and left, considering our slow dinner a successful farewell to Spain.
"Part of the ship, part of the crew"