stephmodo: 24 Hours in Barcelona

24 Hours in Barcelona

• 14 April 2013

Since renovating our French cottage back in 2009, we've discussed how interesting it might be to fly into Barcelona, instead of Paris.  Supposedly the drive was an hour longer from the airport (6.5 v. 5.5 and after 20 hours of traveling ever hour counts), but the allure of the Pyranees lingered.  After seeing that airline tickets were less expensive by a few hundred dollars each, we decided to give it a try.  Oh the thrill of exploring a new place!

The timing on this trip was ideal in so many ways, given the momentous project I'd just completed and the fact that I felt we were due for a vacation with just our family (it had been 2 years).  On Monday and Wednesday of that week, I shipped off my Anthropologie shipments.  On Thursday, I cleaned, did laundry and packed up small suitcases for everyone (since I am traveling home alone with the kids, packing light was the name of the game).  Then, early on Friday morning, we headed to the airport in Seattle and our family adventure began.

This was my second time in Spain, but first time to Barcelona.  My first exposure to Spain was 17 years ago with my AP Spanish class!  I know I am dating myself here, but there you have it.  I vividly remember the hot sun, fantastic art, espadrilles, gazpacho and the thrill of studying a new culture firsthand.  This was my first time abroad without my parents and I can still remember how much I enjoyed my independence as a teenager.

Barcelona is well-known for its incredible architecture and often visitors reminisce that this was their favorite charachteristic about the city.  Gaudi is likely the most famous and recognizable, but he certainly isn't the only big name in town.  Walking, driving and touring around was a feast for the eyes.  How incredible it was to be in a place so incredibly supportive of inventive architecture and design, even when others mocked or discredited the results at times.  I feel this general vibe also relates to the human experience.  Stepping out, working hard, following your passions and not paying too much attention to 'the haters', has the potential to create the best possible results.

We found a great little apartment to rent via AirBnB.  When your family is large enough to require 2 hotel rooms, renting a apartment in Europe is much more cost effective.  Also, the access to a kitchen saves parents from incurring added expense and frustrating dining experiences with overtired chidren :)  The view was incredible and the decor was really fun; but, I think my favorite detail was the black-out shutters.  These made trying to work through our jet-lag so much easier and honestly, we needed all the help we could get that night!  It was crazy.  

We were only there for one day, but we did our darndest to haul our jet-lagged bodies out into the warm sun and see as much as possible of this beautiful city.  It turns out those touristy double decker bus tours are the perfect solution when dealing with a limited time frame and little energy.  Definitely make sure you get a seat up top!


  1. Good for you guys! Barcelona is such a wonderful city.

  2. This post reminded me of a trip we took to Italy a couple of years ago with our 3 children...we flew into Milan, then took the train to Florence -- but not before settling onto a double decker bus (on top!) and getting a "feel" for Milan. Sometiems the 24-hour trips are all you need to give your kids a taste of another speed. Living in Chicago, they found Milan to be a little like home, while Florence...well, that was a whole different story! We are doing a similar fly-by in London this summer (on our way to your French home!) and we have already promised the kids another double-decker bus tour. As for Barcelona, I've been there a few times on my own, but lately have been thinking that the kids would love it. I don't know if you made it to the Gaudi park, but it would be a wonderful day with children!! (Last time there I was single with no kids!) Too many places and too little time....

  3. I've heard nothing but wonderful things about Barcelona! Maybe someday...

    PS--I think we're about the same age, which makes me happy!

  4. Beautiful!! Spanish children's clothes and shoes are THE MOST BEAUTIFUL!! If you are passing back through be sure to find some shops. Amazing.

    Oh and don't worry. I'm about that old too. :). When did that happen?!

  5. Beautiful!! Spanish children's clothes and shoes are THE MOST BEAUTIFUL!! If you are passing back through be sure to find some shops. Amazing.

    Oh and don't worry. I'm about that old too. :). When did that happen?!

  6. Wonderful!

    Would you mind sharing the AirBnB you used? We are a family of 6 and Just this morning I was pricing our summer travel options to Barcelona, Paris, or Milan! :)


  7. Hillary, yes, yes, yes! So tempting.

    Kim, I will ask my husband re: the link. If you send me an email, I can get back to you quicker :)

  8. There is so much to see in Barcelona, that it can be hard to figure out how to go about it, especially with little ones! We were there 2 years ago, also for just over 24 hours, and we enjoyed it immensely! (If you want to read about it, it's here.)

    Love your photos!

  9. Nice! Had our honeymoon there - I do hope you get a chance to go back in the winter and the thick hot chocolate and churros.

  10. My cousin was a chef for Chez Panisse now a chef at a place in Barcelona called Toto Restaurante. You two would get along like peas in a pod!


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