Earlier this week Katy told me that we were going away this weekend and that I should be ready to leave at 4pm or so on Friday. I wasn’t sure where we were going or even by what mode of transit. She packed our bag and by early that afternoon we said goodbye to DeAnn and headed off to the airport. This was sort of a combo birthday/anniversary surprise for me in fact.
As we arrived at the ticket terminal I discovered that we were off to Spain for the weekend, Barcelona in fact! I had been there once before to present at a conference in 2010 but really didn’t feel like I had the full experience so I was excited to return with Katy. Getting places, though not always super cheap is at the very least pretty easy from southern Finland and so in 3 hours or so we had arrived. Katy guided us to our AirBnB flat and we were buzzed in to the building but to my surprise as the door opened to the apartment our good friend Nathan from Mozambique greeted us at the door (one of the readers in our wedding)! He and Katy had arranged a mutual meeting in a central spot that felt less summer’ish than Mozambique and more spring-like than Finland.
It turned out to be an amazing, relaxing and brainless trip. One of Nathans friends from the north of Spain used to live in Barcelona and joined us for the long weekend. Basically we told him to take us wherever he would go to eat and drink and see sites and we were not disappointed. We walked for hours around the city stopping at cheap bars, beautiful outdoor cafes and even a few clubs late in the evening. Somehow I managed to lose a sock.
The city is just so vibrant and real and refreshing though has a layer of gritty reality to it. The food, wine, history and architecuture make a wander about the twisting streets full of wonder and surpirse. At one point while meandering through the “Gothic Quarter”, we stopped at a small courtyard in front of what looked like a church and school. This was the Oratorian Monastery finished in 1752. The square was entirely surrounded by buildings and was maybe only about 20 meters across so the sunlight struggled to get in. Matt pointed to the outer walls of the monastery facade and said, “You see those holes there? This was the site of the execution of a bunch of monks during the civil war. Later, in 1939, a bomb was dropped on the building and square killing dozens of school children.” We took it in for a few minutes and moved on. (the pictures below were borroed from this blog)
Everywhere there is history here.