Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Con Gas in Europe

WYIRUN... all the more reason to drink sparkling water (agua con gas). The little things!
Running bliss was running on the seashore every morning regardless of what country or town I was in.

(Photos are missing, due to sharing iphone picture taking duty with the whole family)

Barcelona included market visits, a private bike tour by our one and only Margo Ford (stops at all of the historic sites), our own walking bouts to Park Guelle and Montjuic, a pick pocket incident, plenty of seafood, and being told countless times that Catalan is not Spanish.

For me, the market stands was like being a kid in a candy shop (Well, I guess I sort of was.) I could have spent hours scouring all of the pretty food items.

Adam, sorry I didn't bring any of this home to you
Juice from the market was a must.

Spending time with these two and the goofy guy below was definitely a highlight to the entire vacation. World Wars did not ensue and besides a few tired break downs, these peeps can really make you laugh.

Dad uses his impeccable spanish to decipher Barcelona's public transportation. Mom loved that we had to walk 'a million' miles after getting to our destinations.
 And for this, no words are needed. But I will use some anyway. Big a$$ vending machine.

As we plodded along to the top of Park Guell, hiking through treacherous terrain for the last 10 ft (kidding), Dad and I made it. Due to not buying tickets, we were limited to where we could go, but we didn't let that stop us. Boom, Barcelona in your face.

The intention of this park was to be divided into estates for the wealthy. Gaudi ended up designing one residential home on the park which was eventually given to the city.

And since, I still didn't get enough of these two, I have to show you more. This was my favorite lunch spot atop Montjuic looking over the city.

 And although inconvenient, I forced everyone to visit the Olympic stadium, a highlight of mine. Each Olympics has its harrowing moments and here, Derek Redmond crossed the 400m finish line on one leg having endured a slew of trials and tribulations.

If this blog were to have a cover photo, this below water would be on it. Agua con gas was an integral part to the vacation's success and Catalan have their own version. Thank you Vichy.

We left Barcelona to travel to Cadaques on the Costa Brava of Spain... doesn't that just sound fantastic? Well, it was. We were told by a Catalan man before leaving town, that it is a magical place where you fall in love, or re-fall in love. Well, that's great because I was traveling with my parents and my sister and her boyfriend. They shared the love though! Nothing like triple hotel rooms.

The best dinner of the trip was here, Can Raffa (the house of Raffa, the standing man above). Being the only tourists in the town, as it was off-season, the restaurant was serving, well... themselves and us. We got to meet the whole family, who actually sat down to eat at the table next to us after serving us about 10 courses of food and liquor. Rafael was the dad and the founder of the restaurant, Rafel, his son was our server who just brought us out dish after dish. As his family came in and out of the restaurant, we met Rafel's Parisian girlfriend, Mauricia, his sister and his mom who baked and made all of the desserts from scratch. Yea, we are talking homemade banana chocolate, mint chocolate chip and vanilla ice cream with vanilla beans they had picked in Madagascar.
 This picture was taken about 10x due to shaking with laughter... if you know me, you can tell it was a night unlike any other when I have lemoncello in my hand...WHAT?!?! We ended the night doubled over in a food coma ready for some rest.

You can see the magic

 Right outside the town is where the famous artist, Salvador Dali resided. His house was filled with unusual items, like a stuffed Polar Bear.

And couches in the shape of big lips with Firelli logos behind it.

Olav (the blonde one in the above photos), Page's significant other and the zen to the trip has been studying Aqua Culture in Sete, France. His niche is oyster farming so low and behold we got to visit an oyster hatchery... these things were microscopic

We finally made it to Sete, France where Page had been living the past six months. She took me up the mountain in the center of the city and this is what I saw.

Her respite was in the metropolis of Montpelier, where she could watch movies in English. Gasp!

We sauntered past this guy.

And to end (on a pretty weird note), on the train back to Barcelona, a woman had her suitcase located next to her on the train where slowly unzipped the top portion and this is what I saw. A hamster cage. There is a first time for everything.

A whirlwind of laughs, family, ocean, sightseeing, languages, and seafood. Boy am I glad I made the trek.
A running update to come soon (or some time within the near future)... or just the future.

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