Sometime this November, I was talking on the phone with my mom, “And what if I took T. to Spain with me?” I knew it might take some convincing, especially as his return date would be somewhere around the Mayan Apocalypse. Somehow, we managed to get him on board (the train and two planes it took to get to Barna) and the jet lag was off to a roaring start.
I have history of tours with my family (see here and here), but this one was especially sweet because how often do two twenty-something siblings with completely different schedules find a week to hang out? Well, we did!
It started with a nap in La Barceloneta which were followed by walks to the beach, homemade lunches and dinners (followed by more naps, naturally), and carefree meandering through Santa María del Mar and it’s fancier, big sister cathedral, Santa Eulàlia. Of course, you can’t do Barna without at least one semi-sketchy stroll down Las Ramblas and a good look at the city’s characteristic modernist façanas. The visit was even more meaningful for me, as I got to catch up with my fellow American adventurer friend, N., and the adorable kids I lived with last year (who won’t let you leave the house without at least one good love-punch).
After a quick train to València (punctuated by a merienda of donuts and coffee in the café car), we found a pleasant place to leave our bags and an even more pleasant place to have dinner. T. is a difficult customer to please, but when he tried the Bodeguilla‘s gooey Camembert and blueberry tapa, I knew I had him. It only got better the next day when we went for a two or three mile wander down to Calatrava’s Ciudad de las artes y ciencias and worked up an appetite for a 5-stop snack tour that included [in no particular order] fresh juices, red wine, magdalenas, pizza, and napolitanas. “The food in VLC is the best.” (Victory!)
Even though the city has lots to offer, no trip to my side of the ocean would be complete without a hike and a paella in the poble, so we boarded the short train to Sueca (where T. was astounded by the friki old man who had in a little foil pack more homemade cookies than teeth in his mouth to chew them) and crashed in the country house for a night. In the morning, we didn’t sleep in (…past ten-thirty…) and powered up Creu de Cardenal. Nothing like having a billy goat for a brother; to say my legs were trembling after the 538m ascent would be an understatement. However, the mountains showed off for us with vistas stretching on for miles. It was the cima of the trip in every way; when T. boarded the train (by himself this time) to go back to Barna for his flight, I couldn’t help but be proud of all we’d accomplished in the last week . Veni~Vidi~Vici.
-Outside of Santa María del Mar-
–Modernisme on top of Casa Batlló-
-La Llonja: Valencia’s old trading post-
-Feeling fresh before the hike-
-The boys at the top with the Mediterranean hanging out in the background.-
-When in Valencia, dine as the Valencians.-