Europe Day 12 to 17 : Barcelona & Montserrat

After a short train ride from Perpignan, we arrived at our hotel in Barcelona Spain and were ready for a new adventure.  Just a few days before leaving home, I had changed our hotel to one in the Fira area of Barcelona which is a business district and less touristy.  The location was convenient to the Metro, walking distance to a supermarket & restaurants and it had a beautiful rooftop pool and bar to spend my afternoons and one day of work.

While we did visit the usual tourist sites like Sagrada Famiglia, La Pedrera, Las Ramblas and Barceloneta, we spent most of our time relaxing and walking the quieter neighborhoods.  My son and I both don’t like crowded tourist zones, so spending time in the not so busy restaurants or just eating food from the market in the room while watching the World Cup or Wimbledon championships was just fine by us.

The main food draw in Barcelona and in Spain is of course Tapas.  And we had plenty.  The problem for us was that by this time, we had gotten tired of eating out and while the tapas were all delicious, we still didn’t find any bold flavors with the exception of a few dishes like the spicy coconut curry muscles at Casa Varela and the Sausage & beans stew at Cal Pep.  We did enjoy some wonderful meals throughout the city.

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Mussels in Spicy Coconut Curry at Casa Varela – a small neighborhood restaurant

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Sausage & White Bean Stew with a Balsamic Glaze at Cal Pep in Gothic Quarter

On one of our days, we took the train and cable car to Montserrat which is about a 1 hour train ride from Barcelona.  Montserrat is beautiful and well worth a visit.  We hiked several trails and burned off some of the calories of the past several days. There isn’t much to eat at Montserrat so I recommend packing a picnic as we did.

One of my favorite things to do during our five day stay was simply to relax at the rooftop pool & bar of our hotel and watch the city below move through the day.  A true vacation must include true down time without scheduling activities every minute of every day.  Well relaxed and feeling like staying in Barcelona for another month, we prepared for our next journey to Madrid.

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