These past few weeks have been utterly hectic. We have been going at a constant pace...going, going, going...with the gut instinct to just see everything as fast as we can because we're technically visitors in a foreign country and that's what you do, right? You see every last thing you're able because you have to leave soon. Well, we realized that we have a little over three months left in this beautiful city and that it's enough to take it easy and to visit a new sight every few days and not feel bad if we decide not to do a darn thing (except eat chocolate-filled croissants) that day. So, last week we did just that.
We decided to first visit the Columbus statue that is located at the very foot of La Rambla (the part that is nearest the ocean). It is said that the statue is pointing East towards Genoa (although not true), the city of his birth, much to the chagrin of all us tourists who think it makes for a nicer story if he were pointing to Terra Nova. He is literally just pointing out into the vast expanse of ocean, making certain that we all know that he was a great navigator.
|I wish I knew what this building was. I liked the moon behind the building so I took a picture of both. It is situated near the statue.|
|Surrounding the statues are 8 lions; 4 staircases surround the monument and each staircase has 2 lions flanking it. Des made sure that I took a picture of him at every single lion.|
|A standing lion...Des didn't want to go underneath it alone because of "poop."|
|Pointing to the next lion he wanted to pose in front of.|
Much to our dismay, we weren't able to go up the monument because it closed at 3:30pm. Our guidebook said 7pm, so we thought a nice, leisurely stroll down La Rambla at dusk would be perfect. That way, we could watch the sunset and the city's lights. Next time, look up information on internet first.
Dejectedly, we decided to take an alternate route home through the heart of El Raval. Even though every single guidebook says that this is a sketchier neighborhood, we really feel safe in this little multicultural community. I mean, we don't go down creepy-looking alleyways or anything, but we feel entirely safe walking TOGETHER (I still won't walk through the bottom half of El Raval alone at night) through the neighborhood up to our apartment in the top half of El Raval. We made sure to walk through The Rambla del Raval so that we could see Botero's Gato del Raval. Botero is my favorite Colombian artist (probably my favorite artist of all time), so to get to touch one of his pieces was a special treat for me.
|Yep, Des is starting to push me away when I kiss him.|
|I can't wait to take Des to the Museo Botero in Bogota. It's my favorite museum in the entire world.|
On our way home, we stopped and had some drinks at Kasparo, a cafe/bar that is in the same plaza (Vincenc Martorell) where we have our playground. We let Des play in the playground while we ordered our drinks (cava (Spanish champagne) for me, a beer for Bill, and a hot chocolate for Des). You have no idea how wonderful it is to be able to do something adultish while your child has the time of his life on the swings. I know some of you don't condone drinking, and a mom who admits to drinking around her kids is kinda weird, but it's a part of the culture I grew up with and darn it, if a single glass of champagne makes me happy, then I'm a better mother for it, although my greatness as a mother is inversely related to the increasing number of said cups of cava.
On Saturday, we went to Poble Espanyol, an open-air architectural museum located on the mountain of Montjuic. It is a village that was built for the World Fair in the 1920s that was supposed to showcase the typical architecture from each province in Spain. It was supposed to be torn down after the Fair, but it was the most popular attraction at the fair and so was left to stay. As you walk through Poble Espanyol, you could visit several shops filled with artisanal foods and crafts from the different parts of Spain. Although we got there late in the day when many of the shops were closed, we still walked around before we had dinner and saw the flamenco show.
|A building typical of Aragon.|
For Christmas, Billy's brother Dan got us tickets to see what is arguably the best flamenco show in the city: El Tablao de Carmen. Included in the price of the ticket was tapas and drinks, plus the performance. I was worried that the tapas wouldn't be enough to quench my hunger, but they were! And it was delicious and they gave us a pitcher of Sangria, which made me super happy.
|The view from our table and the small stage up on the front.|
I used to think, as is usually the case with ballet, that flamenco is all about the female dancers. However, I was proven wrong. I enjoyed watching the male dancers; the power of their performances was almost overwhelming. It definitely got my adrenaline pumping.
|One of the female dancers. If I could wear a dress like that every day, along with a rose pinned to the top of my head, I totally would. I would just shake my butt all day long and swish my ruffles about.|
|It was an amazing and inspiring experience. Thanks, Dan, for the wonderful Christmas present!|
|Cosmo Caixa is housed in a building a the top of a hill that was built in the early 1900s. They kept the facade intact and expanded it to house all of their exhibits and a 3D imax screen.|
|In front of Cosmo Caixa.|
|An exhibit about microbes, situated ideally next to an exhibit about epidemics. The public health nerd in me was geeking out at all of the old public health propaganda posters and artifacts. So awesome.|
|Des kept wanting to touch this reproduction of a neanderthal. I didn't know how to explain to him that these weren't monkeys, that they were our ancestors and that this particular one had died. But that it was all fake and they weren't really real.|
|And then, there was a replica of an Amazonian forest (el bosque inundado) where you could walk through and see all sorts of birds and animals (including one giant capybara) indigenous to the Amazon.|
|Picture courtesy of Desmond. We were glistening with sweat while we were in the inundated forest.|
|Ha! Another picture taken of Desmond. This time it was of us on our way back from the museum, worn out after so much walking around and chasing a toddler and losing him and finding him and chasing him again.|
Thanks for reading!