Barcelona, full of parks. And for some reason the people that make maps always color them green. But here's the rub. Most, not green at all. Pretty, but in a mediterranean way -- sandy dirt paths, palm trees, dusty cafe chairs. So wow, Mossen Cinto Verdaguer in Montjuic, an exception. Bring a picnic, spread out on the grass, under a shady tree, yippee!
8 euros a pop and a ride on the pony. Carrer de Riego 22, in the Sants neighborhood. There was a line...of grey haired gentlemen.
I've had a lot of fun showing kids the wheels and gears and maps of Barcelona's transportation system. Especially a blast when they don't normally live in a big city. So here's a sample of almost everything. I usually start on the Avenue Diagonal just west of Passeig de Gracia, in front of the red brick church (#452). I get on any of the buses going up the Diagonal toward the university, bus numbers 6,15, 33, and 34. Then get off at Francesc Macia, in front of Povim. Then I walk around the round-about and take the first tramVIA from there to Maria Christina station (all three tram lines go to this stop) and get off. At Maria Christina I get on the Metro L3 green going toward Trinata Nova and get off at the Paral.lel, at the far end of the platform I find the tunnel to the Funicular. I ride the funicular to the top station. Get off. From the first bus ride until here I've traveled on the same ticket, punched in the meter each time I get on. Now I'm in Montejuic Park. I take the gondola right next to the funicular (need to buy another ticket). I go to the last stop. Now next to the castle, I go up the road, through the castle gate, up the road and up the stairs to the very top level of the castle where me and the kids can see the working port (not pretty, but lots of machines and sometimes big ships) Now we walk down to the Miramar Hotel. Behind the hotel, on the sea-facing cliff is the Teleferic gondola, I ride that one across the harbor in a little red cabin. From there I walk to the W Hotel, ride up the elevator to the top floor, look at the view, then catch a cab back to where I started.
Originally a Southern California girl, Christmas day always reminds me of bikes, roller skates and basketballs. Perfect gifts for little giggle monkeys who live in sunny places...rip, open, play! So, gotta new bike, but no balance? Learn to ride it down on the promenade in Park Ciutadella between Passeig Pujades and the zoo. Nice and flat, long and straight, no cement.
Trash culled. A spark. Twisted, hammered, sewn, painted, torn, assembled into works worth more than a look or two. Recycled. Some funny, some angry, some just, well, crap (literally). Junkyard gems, a small quirky collection. Figure it out! A once a year exhibit in December at CCCB, Carrer de Montalegre 5. www.drapart.org
When Spain adopted the whole Santa thing, oh, about 20 years ago, it was too late to add chimneys to the buildings here and keep the Santa story exactly the same. Kids in Barcelona already had two holiday traditions involving gifts. A smiley faced log who poops presents after you sing a song, hit it with a stick and go upstairs to pray. And the three kings who bring gifts after a celebratory arrival in parade at Epiphany. But, where there is a will, and a pile of gifts, there is a way. So, over the balcony goes Santa!
For more on the holidays in Barcelona, here is an article Mary just sent me...http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/12/18/travel/a-catalan-christmas.html?emc=eta1
By Maia Pay Ozguc
Barcelona Impressions. Be curious. Be present. Be Barcelona!