Thursday in Barcelona

ry=400-5Even though it was sunny and beautiful outside, we decided to take some time indoors and check out the children’s science museum, CosmoCaixa. Only a short metro ride away, this turned out to be an excellent choice. We all had a fun time exploring the exhibits, plus the underwater ecosystem and rainforest is super cool!

Remember when we ate at BuenasMigas a few days ago? Well, we found another one and decided to eat here again! This is a great option for a cheap, delicious meal in Barcelona. ry=400-4

After catching the metro back to Las Ramblas (where our flat was located), we relaxed a bit and let our 2 year old greet people on the street from our balcony. He thought this was so hilarious! It’s the little things in life, isn’t it?ry=400

ry=400-3For our afternoon adventure, we changed into our swimsuits and caught the metro to the coast. We were headed to Ocata but spontaneously got off when we saw a nice beach. It turned out to be a great experience filled with locals; we were the only tourists. The water was a bit cold but the boys mostly like to play in the sand anyway. We soaked up some afternoon sun, listened to the waves and seagulls, watched our boys wrestle in the sand, and enjoyed some calm time on the shore. Also our baby ate a lot of sand ūüôā

ry=400At this point I started getting hungry, so we walked about 3 minutes down the shore to a restaurant under a tent. I don’t think it had a name, just one of those beachfront¬†pop-ups. We shared a grilled cheese sandwich, and tapas (of course!): chili nachos (from the “international” section), and patatas bravas (our favorite!) while our 2 year old used his imagination in a playhouse nearby. It was fun to eat at a place where the staff didn’t speak English. I love being able to use my Spanish and it’s just more fun!¬†ry=400-1

What a great relaxing afternoon and evening <3 ry=400-2

 

 

Monday in Barcelona

After enjoying a night of rest, our first stop on Monday morning was La Boquería Market, just a five minute walk from our flat. 11011110_3509441653402_6463765469983615020_oThis place is HUGE and full of every type of food you could ever want! We enjoyed the fresh fruit juices and smoothies, dried fruit and nuts, freshly caught seafood of all kinds, meat vendors and butchers with every cut of meat (heads and everything!), eggs, breads, chocolates, artisan cheeses, and fresh fruit & vegetables.

10866189_3509442213416_7559007862306958661_oThere are even a few tapas bars inside that will serve you freshly cooked food at bar-type seating. They seemed busy but we didn’t try it with our boys. We enjoyed a cup of fresh coconut and bought a kilo of cherries for 3euro! Nowhere I’ve ever lived has had such affordable cherries, so we devoured these.11406535_3509442053412_1441439492679131623_o 11402269_3509441893408_6134677354243478795_o

After a fun time exploring the market and sampling some goodies, we decided to sit down for a “real” breakfast at a place called Escrib√°. Turns out, this place is also a sweets shop and it became our favorite breakfast place! I had a lovely caf√© con leche, our 2 year old had peach juice, and my husband (the coffee hater) ordered raspberry hot chocolate. We were surprised when he was served a mug of melted chocolate! It was absolutely delicious and came unsweetened; that’s real chocolate folks! He was given a packet of sugar to mix in and he did end up stirring in a bit of it. This was so yummy, and the main reason we came back twice more during our stay. For food I ordered a spinach and goat cheese quiche and the boys shared ensaimadas, a traditional Spanish breakfast pastry which is like a croissant made with brioche bread… I’ll just say I’m pretty sure God serves these in heaven ūüėČ

10869797_3509442493423_8198244545919667750_o 11393693_3509442973435_4921978299425943423_o

Stomachs full, we headed back to our flat to change into our swimsuits. Supposedly, Barceloneta Beach was within walking distance and we decided to give it a go. The weather was perfectly sunny (upper 20sC, low 80sF) and the beach was gorgeous! It was quite touristy and very crowded, we had to walk down a ways to find a place for our towels and I didn’t see any locals there.11406476_3509444333469_8423814723627102902_o With my kiddos, I like to sit right where the waves wash up over your feet but this area was covered in rocks that were actually quite painful to walk on. The sand is up on the shore a bit, so the water and sand don’t meet each other. We enjoyed ourselves looking for sea glass but it wasn’t quite the beach we had expected. If you’re just looking for a spot to lie in the sun that is near the city, this would be a nice place to visit. ¬†10012091_3509452773680_1486065642639570369_o

On our walk back toward the city, we found a cheap and delicious place for a to-go lunch,¬†BuenasMigas. 10003600_3509528655577_3316680050219139758_oThis restaurant serves focaccia which is similar to pizza, but it is rectangular and doesn’t have sauce. You can choose a variety of toppings and get it to go, which¬†was perfect for us at this moment.¬†¬†Both of our boys had fallen asleep while we wore them in their carriers! Playing at the beach obviously wore them out! 11357160_3509453093688_8461033028813933378_oBuenasMigas also serves freshly pressed juices. We got apple & basil and it was delicious! My brie/bacon focaccia was a good choice and so was my husband’s, tomato and goat cheese. The total for our meal here was 14 euro, very affordable!

After a quiet and relaxing walk home past the marina (both boys slept on us the whole way), we changed our clothes again and headed out to Parc Guell to see some Gaudí architecture.

11357224_3509393452197_4185240165584354689_oThis was when we figured out how to use the Metro we’d heard so much about. Barcelona has great public transportation and there is even a metro app (Barcelona Metro Map for iPhone) which was really handy. From the metro stop, we climbed a very steep hill to arrive at Parc Guell. I was impressed with our efforts because we were both carrying the extra weight of our children! Once it got too steep to climb, they had installed escalators to finally get to the top. ¬†11078162_3509468214066_5969360625862725302_oThis was a huge outdoor area where you can take various hikes/walks to see Gaud√≠ architecture. Our 2 year old loved running around and exploring this place! There were gorgeous views from the top and I’m so glad we came in the late afternoon when the sun had a bit of cloud cover; the weather was perfect. After wandering around a bit, we ended up paying the entrance fee to see the most famous Gaud√≠ pieces (most of the park is free except for these) such as “El Drac”. Hosea was on the search for the “big lizard” and was excited to finally find it!¬†11539070_3509470134114_3045482771265951311_o¬†11402654_3509474134214_5398298887293102313_o¬†11537451_3509472414171_66248143703519989_o

After our walk/escalator ride down the hill, and metro ride back to the city center, we finished off our day with more tapas and paella in the Plaça Reial. Our baby charmed the women at the table next to us and we were glad for them to keep him entertained during dinner! It was another beautiful day.

Stay tuned for Tuesday in Barcelona! You can read about our Sunday in Barcelona too.

At the Fence 

This week we had the wonderful opportunity to visit Barcelona. For our last afternoon there, we decided to spend time at the beach. We took the train outside the city a bit and got off spontaneously when we looked out the window and saw a gorgeous beach. We were ready! Ready for the therapeutic relaxation that an afternoon on the beach can bring. We excitedly jumped off the train and saw that the beach was just on the other side of a chain link fence. We were only minutes away from toasting the soles of our feet on the gloriously sun-roasted sand. Excitement was an understatement for what we felt. I took a second to just gaze at the beach through the fence and when I turned to leave the train station I heard an absolutely heartbroken cry. “Daddy! I want to go there!!!”, Hosea called. His voice seemed to reach new decibel levels. No amount of cajoling would convince the boy that we were indeed going to the beach right that very second. I finally had to pick him up, put him on my shoulders, and start walking before he was to be convinced.

DSC_0584So often, interactions with my son shed light on my own life and my relationship with God. I know I’ve had moments when I cry out, begin to doubt God, doubt His promises, or lose faith that He will continue providing for me. I’m just like my son, standing at the fence and gazing wistfully at the beach on the other side, doubting if I’ll ever get to enjoy the waves. But we don’t have to just stare from a distance. We can run toward the goodness of God and participate in His will for our lives. This is when God scoops me up and carries me so lovingly, so patiently toward Him. Always the Daddy that I need.

Let us go forward knowing that we have a father who patiently carries us!