Over Easter weekend, we wanted to take advantage of my husband having a few extra days off of work and have a little adventure. Both of us have always wanted to visit Barcelona, and it’s less than a two hour flight from Brussels, so a few weeks beforehand we bought plane tickets, booked a flat on Airbnb, and congratulated ourselves on seizing the day.
Then, two days before our scheduled departure, terrorist attacks shuttered the Brussels airport. Obviously the fate of our trip was a very minor concern overall, but I admit that the prospect of cancelling the trip and spending an extra long, extra sad weekend at home did not make us any more cheerful. We agreed that if we could get a flight out, we would still go.
Amazingly we were able to fly out of and back into Charleroi, another airport slightly south of Brussels. Security was insane, but I considered that a small price to pay, on several levels.
With that, we were off to Barcelona! We were both so impressed with the city. I hadn’t been sure what to expect, but it was a really lovely combination of beautiful architecture, excellent food, fun shopping, and stellar people watching. We loved just walking around all day and soaking in the sights! Sunshine and warmer temps didn’t hurt, either.
After we got settled into our flat, we went for a walk and got some basic groceries, since our plan was to have a late afternoon snack out and about, then stay in at night after we put Henry to bed and have some relaxing wine and cheese. We found an excellent grocery store right away, and everything was much cheaper than in Brussels!
Our first morning we found an awesome little brunch spot, Cup and Cake, down the street from our apartment. Mimosas! We loved it so much, we went back two days later.
After brunch on the first day we explored La Rambla, a busy pedestrian street. It’s very tourist-y but in the best kind of way–excellent people-watching, sweet little newsstands and floral shops, street performers, etc.
We wandered around the Gothic Quarter and nearby neighborhoods that afternoon, taking in the architecture, enjoying the fresh air, and working up an appetite for our late afternoon tapas meal. We went to Tapas 24, a highly rated spot right in the middle of a nice shopping district. Lots to like!
I ordered a carpaccio dish, and truly thought I could hack it, but I just couldn’t deal when it actually arrived. Everything else was fabulous, especially the very relaxing glass of red wine!
We saw two beautiful churches during our stay. The first was the Cathedral of Barcelona, which we sort of stumbled across on one of our walks.
And we couldn’t leave without seeing the Sagrada Familia. I will be honest.. I didn’t really know about this church before we began planning our trip to Barcelona, but a quick skim of any guidebook will highlight the basics: it is Gaudi’s great unfinished masterpiece, a massive basilica that is designed to awe and evoke the natural world. I found the outside more intimidating than inspirational, but the inside breathtakingly gorgeous.
On our last afternoon, we stopped by Parc Guell, another Gaudi site known for its intricately tiled dragon and long winding benches that overlook the city. For a moment I thought Henry would take his first steps right there, but it was not meant to be.
Our trip was over far too soon, and we would absolutely love to go back and explore more of Barcelona! There are tons of cool buildings to tour, which we only saw from the outside, and lots of nice little shops and cafes to browse. Our apartment was perfect for our needs with a little one, and our smaller stroller, the Mountain Buggy Nano, performed well considering all the cobblestone action. I think we all felt lucky to escape for this little getaway!