Our long weekend in Barcelona was amazing. Barcelona is a city rich in culture, entertainment, and scenery. Instead of opting for a hotel, we rented a small flat near a busy strip of restaurants, shops, and bars called La Rambla. While it was nice to be only feet away from all the action, I think I would have perferred to stay somewhere more peaceful and less touristy. Jignesh and Dennis, however, loved the La Rambla and the constant party that it provided. During our 4 day holiday, we experienced a little of everything that Barcelona has to offer. We indulged in some amazing food and beverages (paella, sangria, tapas), toured some great sights (La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera, Parc Guell, the National Art Musuem, the 1992 Olympic Park, etc), and relaxed at the beach. We even attended our second football game in less than a week! While we were there, one of Barcelona's largest festivals was also taking place. We never figured out the reason or the theme of the festival but we were surprised by random bands and large monsters parading through the streets. One night we were even showered with masses of confetti. The locals are some of the kindest people that I have met. They were all willing to help with directions and answers to our typical toursity questions. Spain is truly a country that works to live instead of living to work. Dinner does not typically take place until after 9pm (many restaurants do not even open until after 8pm) and it is not unusualy for stores to close in the middle of day so that people can return home for a long siesta! Clubs and bars stay open until 7am and the main streets are still filled with people at 2am! While I usually turned in early by Spainard standards, Jignesh and Dennis seemed to fit right in. The weather was also amazing. Before leaving, reports were expecting heavy showers for our entire stay. While it did rain a little in the evenings, the days were warm and sunny. It was a nice change from the cloudy and increasingly chilly weather now found in London. Honestly, there was very little that I did not like about Barcelona and it was hard to board that plane on Mondy. Barcelona has ignited our travel desires and we are looking forward to exploring many more countries and cultures.
After returning from Barcelona, Dennis stayed with us a few more days before heading back to Chicago. Brian, a friend who lives in Australia, picked up where Dennis left off and this past weekend was spent exploring a few London sights but mostly just enjoying the company of a good friend. We have a few days of quiet before we welcome Jiggy's Mom this Friday!