I just returned from a week long meetup in Barcelona, Spain with my team from work. We all work remotely, so we get together once in awhile to spend time together to work on projects, talk about our work, and take full advantage of being in the same place at one time.
Here are some of the highlights:
The food in Spain is incredible! It really made me wonder why North Americans eat such garbage food. The ingredients weren’t even rare or expensive, just common, fresh, delicious ingredients, like fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, spinach, fish, beef, ham, eggs, potatoes, eggplant, asparagus, and peppers.
Waiting for tacos.
The meal times in Barcelona are much later than at home. Suppers were at 10:00pm or later, and most meals seemed like a social event. Most (all?) places had a tapas menu, which are like hors d’oeuvres or starters that you can share with your entire table. There wasn’t one thing I didn’t like.. Well maybe the eggs, anything with eggs I skipped 😉
Dessert should really never be skipped in Barcelona. This was a cake plate that we shared. Everything was so delicious.
Most of the restaurants were just little, intimate places, so we used apps like Yelp to find nearby restaurants that were likely to accommodate 9 of us.
We visited the biggest market in Barcelona. It was so amazing. I think I could live inside of it. So much fresh produce, meat, fruit juices, baked goods, more types of fish than I’ve ever seen, and chocolates and candy galore!
We also tried the infamous Panther Milk drink, a drink made of condensed milk, gin, rum, Cointreau, peppermint and cinnamon. Bottoms up!
The Abesta. A small cozy bar that serves panther milk and absinthe, and has tables lower than your knees.
The 9 of us stayed in an 8 bedroom, 5 bathroom apartment found on AirBnB – https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/2377178?locale=en
It was located on a main avenue, Passeig de Gràcia, which is a real ritzy area, with expensive brand store fronts. The street was lined with beautiful trees and benches, and had a gorgeous sidewalk with an imprinted pattern.
Passeig de Gràcia, a view from outside our apartment.
Our apartment was up in this building on the third floor.
Many of the tourist spots we visited had the common theme of being designed by Antoni Gaudí. He was an architect, but also an incredible artist. His designs are curvy and beautiful, with many tile mosaics, but also incredibly full featured for air flow, and light.
Just a couple blocks from our apartment was the Casa Batlló building that he designed. Here are some photos:
Chimney on roof
Gaudi also played a role in the design of the Sagrada Família church. It is a massive Catholic church that was started in 1882 and still isn’t done. They are currently aiming for a 2026 finish.
Mosaic style stained glass.
We paid the entry fee to see the inside of the church. I was surprised at just how much of a negative feeling I had about it all, and the overwhelming desire to get out of it. It is a beautiful building, but after being raised Catholic, and now being the furthest thing away from a Catholic, just the sites, scenes, symbols, and sounds were too much for me. I couldn’t help but thing it was all an insane, overpowering, colossal waste of money for the purpose of worshipping a god.
Gaudi also designed Park Güell that sits on the highest point over looking town. Here are some pictures:
Thoughts of Barcelona
This trip to Barcelona was my first visit to Europe. The city was beautiful, clean, and really easy to walk with lovely wide sidewalks, benches, and cross walks.
All the building fronts were about five or six stories tall, with balconies, beautiful windows, and wooden shutters for the sun.
There were no pick up trucks in sight, just small cars, and so many motorcycles. Not the road bikes we’re used to, but somewhere between a motorcycle and a moped. Nice, economical street bikes that parked on the sidewalks, all along the roads.
Motorbikes parked on sidewalks.
There were many areas with outdoor seating for restaurants.
I just loved the sight of watching these two older men walk by.
The people on the streets were beautiful and healthy looking. I didn’t see anyone carrying much extra weight. There were few tattoos visible. Many of the men carried shoulder or cross-body bags.
The restaurants were visited were very hospitable, with every one having at least one person on their staff that knew a bit of English, so we didn’t ever have much of a language barrier. If we did, our phones, Google Translate, or a bit of pointing got us through. Most restaurants even had an English version of their menu.
The meetup was excellent, and I took advantage of almost every hour, sleeping very little 😉 It is really great to work with people that you enjoy hanging out with. On the last day I mentioned it felt a bit like leaving summer camp, with all the hugs and goodbyes.