Thursday, December 03, 2009

65th Birthday Celebration - Final Photos - Barcelona

It has certainly taken me awhile to get my 65th birthday celebration blog completed!  These are the final photographs from that trip.  Our last four days were spent in  Barcelona, Spain.  We took an early morning flight on Vueling Airlines from Malaga.  Originally, there were fares for only about $100 U. S. one way but, because we procrastinated in our ticket purchases, it ended up costing us $159.00.  We had pondered with the idea of going by train, thinking it would be less expensive.  When I began checking that out, it became a nightmare.  Most train schedules had us being routed through Madrid and the trip would have been about thirteen hours and would have cost about a thousand dollars!

As it was, we had the horrible experience of having to pay nearly $300 U. S. per person for overweight luggage on Vueling which definitely limited our enjoyment of the last few days of the trip.  Most of us had flown to Europe on U. S. carriers to begin our cruise which had offered a higher luggage allowance and, what with souvenier shopping and the like, our bags were going home much heavier than when they started!

We stayed at the Hotel Lleo, conveniently located at the top of La Rambla, near the Placa
Catalunya, close to the Metro.  It was initially recommended to me by Steve Clark, a former British Air pilot - he and his lovely wife, Jenny, were tablemates on a southeast Asian cruise in 1997.  We became great friends and, once, we met and spent a weekend at the Hotel Lleo in Barcelona.  Last year, for my 64th birthday, they again met me in Barcelona to celebrate.

Busy bar in Ambios Restaurant at Placa Colon

I love this restaurant - I eat here every time I'm in Barcelona.  There are numerous restaurants in this huge outdoor square not too far from the port, at the other end of La Rambla from Placa Catalunya.  I've tried a couple of the others but I think this one has the best food!

This waiter came up to me and said hello.  He told me he remembered me from my visit last
year.  I couldn't believe it.  We did eat here twice and I chatted with him in Spanish.  Perhaps
he recalled us because we ( my cruise friend, Sherry, and the Clarks, from England, consumed an incredible amount of food and an even larger amount of wine! )

Almost always, in these wonderful Mediterranean countries, I order grilled seafood.  This
was a delicious octopus grilled in wonderful Spanish olive oil and garlic...delicious.  Usually,
my companions don't even want to try it!

The fountain at Placa Catalunya

We sat here for about two hours, just people watching.  It is a delightful place to see families with their children, couples strolling, tourists, street entertainers, vendors.  We sat here till the sun set and we knew it was time for cocktails and dinner!

A Barcelona alley 

A street near our hotel

Healthy balcony plant - wondering what kind of plant food they use?

Xaica Restaurant

We were so fortunate to discover this restaurant, near the Hotel Lleo.  It had great breakfast for about five euros, compared to the Hotel Lleo's which were double that or more.  Lunch and dinner, typical Catalan fare was very reasonable and they also offered buffets and Catalan desserts.  I was so suprised when I got back home to find it had several reviews in Trip Advisor.  I just wish I had know about Xaica years ago - since now that I am retired and on such a limited budget, I am not sure I will ever get back to my beloved Barcelona.

The counter where we ate breakfast two mornings

Sally Thresher and Phil Zaragosa at Xaica

The cheerful chef at Xaica

Street of beautiful street lights

Close up of lights

Entrance to El Poble Espanyol

El Poble Espanyol was built for the Barcelona International Exhibition in 1929.  It was meant to be a real "village" in the middle of the city, representative of all towns and villages of the peninsula.  The village consisted of over a hundred buildings, streets and squares, built to scale, and it was meant only to last six months, until the exhibitions end.  Its buildings are representative of many of the regions of Spain and many of the actual edifices still exist.

The village houses more than forty craft workshops and shops sell beautiful gifts created
in Spain.  Lovely fans, ceramics, lace, and jewelry are just some of the items available.  Spanish wines and olive oil can be purchased as well.

The entrance to Poble Espanyol

Exotic windows

Archways at Poble Espanyol

Madonna and Child 

Intricate steeple

Barcelona turrets

Alligator at Gaudi's Sagrada Familia

Spires of Sagrada Familia


Another pretty Barcelona building



  1. thank you for the wonderful virtual trip to Barcelona! you sure must have had a blast!!

  2. What an amazing post, I've been waiting for it! Thanks for these brilliant photos. (I can't name that plant, but I can testify that my grandmother grows it in her garden.) Cheers!

  3. magiceye - Barcelona was wonderful. I have been
    fortunate to visit there six times now, I
    believe and it is always exciting!

    fullet - I think we call that a jade plant here.
    I've never seen one that grows like that,
    however, hanging and everything! Glad you
    liked the photos. I never do take enough....
    just the incredible architecture everywhere,
    old and new, could fill volumes.

  4. Hi! ..65 years whew, that is really worth celebrating, i sometimes wonder if i'd reach it...loved the photos, the chef looked cheerful and friendly and the Paella yummy! thanks for taking me to Barcelona...more birthdays to come!

  5. Beautiful photos, yummy foods, and seemed like a super place to enjoy your birthday!

  6. Oh, I loved my little trip through your eyes to Barcelona! Wonderful buildings and nice photography too!

  7. Street scenes, street lights, spires and steeples, Ooo Carmen I liked them all. I regret that I missed Barcelona twice but I feel I've seen it now after viewing your lovely pictures.

  8. Spectacular birthday. I love everything you photographed, especially the food. I think I'll have paella this weekend.

  9. Barcelona looks beautiful and I love knowing you had such a wonderful vacation....I would love to know how you find all your bargains for travelling....I too am retired and want to travel but always think I can't afford it...:-)Hugs

  10. A whole plate full of tiny octopi?? Eek! I'm afraid that while I love flavor, I'm not a fan of sea food. Probably because all of my experiences have been inland and not good. Scarred for life by a bad can of salmon that had lots of little bones mixed in :P. However, give me any vegetable, fruit or grain, and I'll eat it happily.

  11. what a beautiful place to celebrate another fabulous year....

  12. Great photo's! You are a Beautiful & Happy Gal!
    Loved the unusual Alligator at Gaudi's Sagrada! Cool!

  13. Your photos tell a beautiful story of fascinating places and wonderful people. What lovely memories you will have to ponder on when you are old. 65! and going on 2!

  14. Such fantastic places! Glad you got to go there. I like the alligator, of course.