July 8, 2019: Park Guell and Gothic Quarter

Monday. GT2 Day Thirty. Barcelona, Spain.

Dominica and I were awake with the alarm at six o’clock this morning. Very little sleep for me, four hours total with only forty five minutes of deep sleep. I had tried out the new anti-snoring device that goes inside of my nose last night, but it was a total fail. Not only was it less comfortable, but it restricted my airflow so much that I stopped breathing immediately upon starting to drift off. I think that it is actually worse than having no device at all. So I lost a bit of time sleeping last night because I tried that and had to revert back to the nasal strips.

We were fully ready to walk out the door, dressed, ablutioned, packed, by six thirty when we woke up the girls. Today we are going to Park Guell and are attempting to get there via public transportation, and then to get into the park for free so that we can avoid forty Euros in entry fees just to walk around the park.

We were out the door at five to seven. Walking fast hoping to catch the V17 bus to Park Guell. Dominica has some app that said that the bus was slightly delayed, so we were looking good. We already paid for the bus passes, so we only need to hop onto the bus.

We made our bus, no problem. Busses in Spain are so easy to deal with. Cheap, clean, air conditioned, comfortable, easy to navigate. Even better than the metro, which is really easy, too.

We made the mistake of getting off of the bus two stops too early, so we had to hike uphill rather a bit to get to Park Guell instead of getting off right at it. But we only lost five or maybe ten minutes tops, so we were okay. Just hot and tired.

We hiked into the park and got the monuments area, which is the area that is restricted during the day. When Dominica and I were last here in 2012 this area was fully free and you could just enter. Now it is ten Euros during daytime hours, and is limited to just four hundred people at a time. So much harder to go to see.

We really only needed probably twenty minutes, thirty tops, to do everything that we wanted to do. Pictures, a walk through the park, and we were done. Back to the bus and a ride back to Barceloneta. Emily wanted McDonald’s, but we could not find one that was really close, and then we discovered that all of the American fast food in the area were closed for breakfast anyway – American style breakfast is not popular at all in Spain. Breakfast of any sort is not a big thing.

Dominica found a place called Brunch and Cakes, and how could we resist that. So we went there. Dominica got coffee while Emily, Madeline, and I got fruit smoothies. They were all so good. Emily and Madeline got some chocolate, banana cookie pancake thing for breakfast. Dominica got the Brekkie Board, which was a selection of different breakfast items. I got the full veggie which had vegetarian chorizo, guacamole, and all kinds of things. Probably our most expensive meal of the trip, but really good and an important change of pace and a lot of good nutrients.

While we were finishing our brunch, a storm hit and we were caught in the rain. So we waited it out at the restaurant and when there was a break we made a run for the apartment. The plan had been to go to the beach now, but the storm included a lot of lightning, so we are not doing that right away. The girls all laid down for naps. So I did some recording, uploaded videos, took a shower, worked on the blog, etc.

The napping went on for several hours. I guess everyone was really, really tired. The trip has really burned everyone out. But this is the home stretch. Just today and tomorrow to go. We can do this!

Emily got up and decided that she was hungry a little after two thirty. We had eaten this morning at nine thirty, so that was five hours and made sense. A tough time to find food in Spain, though. The girls wanted Burger King, and there was one right next door to where we had had breakfast (although apparently I was the only one that had noticed this and all three of them tried to tell me that I was crazy and had imagined the whole thing… to the point of even walking me back to the breakfast place and saying “see, here is where we had breakfast”, and they were all shocked when I looked to the left and pointed out the Burger King not forty feet away.)

It turns out that Burger King in Spain does have electronic ordering, but does not sell fish. So there was literally nothing for Dominica and I to eat there (they don’t even sell their veggie burgers that were so awful that we would not have eaten them anyway.) The girls ate at Burger King, while Dominica and I went next door to Kapadokya and got durum falafel for lunch. Which was pretty decent and not too expensive.

After lunch Dominica was not feeling great, but had not gotten onions, so we brought her back to the apartment and dropped her off. She had not gotten a good nap in earlier. Emily and Madeline wanted to go souvenir shopping. So that is what we did. The three of us set out and went for a long walk down to the beach hoping that we would find stuff there, but we did not. Then we walked way back south and into the Gothic Quarter and went all through there. All in all, we did almost five hours of shopping! And we walked, a lot. I had thought that today was going to be a very light walking day, but by the time that we were done I had about 13,500 steps in. Not a huge walking day, but more than I had expected.

Souvenir shopping was arduous, but we got it done. And if we had not done it we would not have ended up in the Gother Quarter and the girls would not have seen that important part of Barcelona.

We stopped at a grocery for some last minute supplies before going up to get Dominica. I was the only one that felt like going out, so we stayed in. The original plan was that Emily wanted to go out, like “real going out” tonight to like a club or something, so the plan was relax or nap until it was time to do that. But by the time it was late enough to consider going out, Emily was too tired. We had talked about doing beach shots this evening, but it is overcast and she is tired. The hope is that there will be sun in the morning, so we are going to attempt to get up and do that right away tomorrow.

Around eleven the three girls decided that they were hungry and all wanted pizza. Madeline decided that she would come with me, so the two of us went out to go to Kitchen to get pizza like we had on our first night. Except they ended up being closed. That didn’t work. We went to Las Fritas and just got boardwalk take away French fries for everyone. Madeline got ketchup. Emily got mayo. Dominica and I got a jumbo fry to share with melted cheddar and emmental cheeses.

That was our night. By midnight everyone was in bed, but had been laying in bed (except for me at my desk) since around eight. Mostly a lazy day, but with a lot of walking for the three of us.

Hard to believe that tomorrow is our very final full day in Europe! This trip has been planned for so long, and seemed like such a huge thing, and now it is not just underway, but already over! How can this be? This makes me feel old.

The kids, back in Frankfort, did a “How to Train Your Dragon” movie marathon tonight. I talked to Liesl a little today. Normally I talk to Luciana more because she is always on Snapchat, but we’ve heard that she has lost all of her devices because she was being ornery so she has not been online.