So the truth is Jena and I planned to go to Brussels, Belgium this weekend but with the recent terrorist attacks and threats in Belgium we decided to fly to Barcelona, Spain instead. I am a firm believer that this is where we were supposed to be all along. This city is stunning! Last night coming from the airport to our hostel, I was a little worried because so many people were outside on the street as we walked into our hostel. I learned very quick that the Spanish culture is to wake up late and go to bed late. One of our tour guides today recommended that we get dinner close to 7 before it got busy with the locals going to dinner from 9-10 PM.
This morning began with a croissant and fresh squeezed orange juice. Yum! We found our way to the meeting point for our first tour of the gothic quarters of Barcelona. Our tour guide Ruby was truly a gem! I learned so much from her enthusiastic stories and facts about the buildings and history of the city. Did you know the Eiffel Tower was planned to be built in Barcelona until the city council rejected it and the artist took his design elsewhere? Fascinating!! We also learned about the human towers as high as this picture below. They were made of people standing shoulder on shoulder in front of the government building with a child at the top holding up 4 fingers. These fingers represented the four stripes on the Catalan Flag . This was to demonstrate that the working class is on the same level as the “important” government officials.
Coming to Barcelona, I thought all of Spain spoke Spanish. I was so wrong. In Barcelona, which is a city in the Catalonia region, only 60% speak Spanish but 40% speak Catalan. Jena and I have done pretty well speaking small Spanish words and asking how to say different words and phrases. Everyone here is so accommodating to English speakers but we still try to speak their language, well about half of them. Most restaurants have English menus as well which is very helpful! We took part in two tours today, both in English thank goodness. When I say this city is stunning, I mean absolutely stunning!!
We were very excited to learn that the Christmas markets opened today! We also learned about the Spanish tradition of the “Uncle poop.” Where we believe in Santa Clause, people here place this wooden log in their home and the children feed it during the days up to Christmas. On Christmas eve, the children beat this log with a stick as hard as they can. The next morning there are presents at the butt end of this log. The children believe that uncle poop pooped these presents and candies out just for them! Bizarre for sure.
And of course the food is amazing!! Tapas and seafood paella!! They also have the freshest markets that are filled with fruits, veggies, fish, meat, nuts, spices, eggs, and so much more! This is paradise!