After making our way from France to Spain, we high-tailed it for Barcelona. Our time in the EU is coming to an end because all of our efforts to get a visitor Schengen Visa extension have stalled out. The wheels of the Schengen Bureaucracy turn very slowly and we don't think an extension is going to happen. We also have to leave a few days (in our 90 day limit) for our stop-over in the Canary Islands before we head back west to the Caribbean.
So, in an effort to maximize our time left, we wanted to spend a few days in Barcelona and really take in this beautiful city. It did not disappoint! The Sagrada Familia Cathedral was mind-blowing. It was beautifully conceived by Antoni Gaudi, the architect of many buildings in Barcelona. It left a real impression on all of us, including the kids!
Our days in Barcelona were very full and we visited many sights including the Lego Store and the Chocolate Museum.
With so much to see, we thought it would be a good idea to have some personal transportation. So.... with the help of Decathlon (our new favorite retail experience), we bought Rollerblades and scooters. Aria/Stu chose to play homage to the 90's with the Rollerblades, and Micah/Lana picked fun scooters. We weaved our way through the streets of Barcelona and made use of their awesome bike lanes.
One of our favorite places in Barcelona was The Plaza of Catalonia which was always teeming with hungry pigeons. The girls loved feeding the pigeons, and the grow-ups enjoyed learning about Catalan culture.
We went to "Pigeon Square" everyday, and it was the kids' favourite place in all of Barcelona.
Before we came to Barcelona, we had no idea about the uniqueness of the Catalans and their struggles to keep their culture alive. In fact, while we were in the city, we experienced the anniversary of a day of protest for Catalan independence from Spain - super interesting. The Catalonian Flag was everywhere in the city.
The Barcelonis have a great fondness for Lana, as does the rest of our family. They have the graffiti to prove it!
As part of our desire to expose the kids to some Spanish culture, we each took a kid to something they were interested in. Micah and Lana went to a Flamenco performance while Aria and Stu went out for some traditional Spanish tapas.
Our time at Barcelona had come to an end, and we had to make a weather window for some safe sailing southwest towards the exit of the Mediterranean. We sailed for 48 hours from Barcelona to Cartegena on the southeast coast of Spain. It was an amazing city as well! There were lots of Ancient Roman sights to see, as well as Moorish buildings and interesting contemporary buildings. Cartegena has been a crucial maritime city in the Med because of its natural port, and its strategic position. Many different cultures have used it throughout history for defense, including the modern Spanish Navy.
This was the partially restored Roman Theatre which was surrounded by the modern city of Cartegena.
We are having so much fun on a daily basis during this trip! We try to keep busy and see as much as possible, while still making an effort to be spontaneous and relaxed as well. It's been a good balance, and here are some random photos to demonstrate what we mean.
Right now we are anchored in a beautiful remote bay off the southeastern coast of Spain. There is not a soul around, and it is incredibly peaceful. We are the only boat here, and in mid-September, it feels like Europeans have gone back to work. We are headed west towards Gibraltar tomorrow ahead of a strong low-pressure wind in the Med and will make it to Motril in about 36 hours. Click the link to the right to see our path and where we are right now! Stay tuned for more adventures and send some comments and subscribe, if you already haven't. Its a great way for us to stay in touch!
Very cool! -Jason K
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