I’ve never been to Spain, but by all reports, Barcelona contains many delights, including a great zoo and the best aquarium in Europe. I’m actually not sure if either of these things would be on my list though (depending of course how long we stayed) because we do things like that so often here in the U.S.
So what would we do? It would definitely be a trip on which to explore art and architecture, two of Tommy’s loves. For starters, I’d like to hit the Gaudi trail, exploring the buildings of this most famous of modernist Catalan architects. We would definitely visit the Casa Batlló, with its hidey-holes, twisting staircases, and brilliant colors. I love that a tour includes going up to the roof to see the fabulous mosaic chimneys, which are like something straight out of a fairy tale. My curiosity was piqued all the more by the website, which describes a visit there as “a wonderful journey in search of emotions, an encounter with the spiritual aspects of art, a continuous discovery of the essence of the true perfume – elegance – that only works of genius can produce.” Sign me up please!
We’d also be sure to stroll around the Parc Guell (that’s a picture of it at the top of the post) which is full of Gaudi’s mosaics and buildings, including a dragon fountain at the entrance that I know the children would love. And I want to see the world famous La Sagrada Familia (the Church of the Sacred Family) which is unfinished, but should provide much amusement in the form of construction equipment as it is still being worked on.
There are tons of opportunities for outdoor fun in Barcelona, especially on the waterfront, where I would be inclined to rent bikes and ride along the beach. While we were down there, we’d also visit the Mirador de Colom (Columbus Monument) and the Museu Maritim (Maritime Museum) which houses replicas of all three of Columbus’ ships, which would thrill Tommy, whose favorite subject at school is history. There are also great places to walk, cruises on the waterfront, and best of all, a cable car that crosses high over the harbor and goes up to Montjuic Parc, another must-see destination.
In fact, I think that park would be worth a day visit all in itself. Not only can you get there by cable car and funicular, not only is there an 18th-century castle to explore and a lovely garden to picnic in, there’s the Poble Espanyol. This village contains recreations of landmarks from different parts of Spain including fountains, plazas, the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, and replicas of 116 other buildings. Artisans work on and sell their wares at shops scattered throughout and there is a space where kids can do crafts.
All of these things would be enticement enough, but the real selling point for me is the Fundacio Joan Miro, also inside the boundaries of this park. Miro’s imaginative and colorful paintings, tapestry, and sculptures would delight both of my little artists; I know I’d need to bring markers and paper for lots of copying. Debbie at Delicious Baby has a great post where she describes why this museum is wonderful to visit with kids (she also offers much excellent information about Barcelona to which this post is indebted).
I’m leaving many things out of this post, not least of them the food – from chocolate to churros, I know we would be in heaven. But dreams (and blog posts) can only last so long. I think I’ll need to plan a nice long trip there.
And don’t forget to visit my post “Sharing the Mother of All Trips Love” to find out how you can win a 25 dollar Amazon gift card. The contest is supposed to end today at midnight Pacific time, but I might be persuaded to extend the deadline so that everyone has a chance to participate!
Photo of Parc Guell used courtesy of Wolfgang Staudt.
Photo of Casa Batlló chimneys courtesy of mararie
Photo of La Sagreda Familia courtesy of jphilipg.
Photo of cable car courtesy of Jaume Meneses.