Sunday, June 22, 2008
Here's how it all went down...
Who: My two brothers Quinn and Sean, Darlene (Quinn's g-friend), and my 13 year old nephew, Kalin. Oh, and me.
Sunday: Left on a red-eye to Newark (got in too early)
Monday: Kalin had never seen New York City before, so Sean and I decided to taxi and train it into the city to show him times square, etc. We had 10 hours or so until our flight took off from Newark, so we took advantage of that time. I think Kalin was sufficiently awe-struck. NYC is truly a wonder to behold. While there, we also were able to see our cousin Kristen Curran who works close to Times Square.
When we finally made it back to Newark, we hadn't quite decided on where we would actually travel to. There were many possibilities: Frankfurt, Belfast, Dublin, Zurich or Barcelona. Approximately one hour before departure, we decided on Barcelona. For those of you not aware, Quinn works for Continental Airlines (as does my sister Megan, Kalin's mom). So, with airline benefits, we fly stand-by, and whatever is open we take. Hence, the last minute decision.
After getting to the departure gate, the plane was delayed (almost two hours). However, we weren't too worried about it once we learned that we were all upgraded to Business First Class!! WOOHOOO!! Now, I've had Business First in the past, and lemme tell you, it never gets old. We decided to surprise Kalin at the last minute, and he was surprised, to say the least.
side note: this trip to Barcelona was the first trip out of the states for Kalin and Sean.
We departed for Barcelona (in our cushy seats, delicious food (too much, really)).
Tuesday: Arrival to the beautiful city of Barcelona. I am fortunate enough to get Marriott rewards points through work, so we were able to use the points for our stay (which saved us about $800 plus). The nice thing about our hotel was that, since I'm a Platinum member, we were able to go into the concierges lounge, drink soda, eat yummy food and just enjoy the place. It was quite the first class service. I was impressed.
Tuesday evening we took the bus into the city and visited Plaza Espanya. We ventured to an area where the Olympics took place (year?). The beautiful museum (now I can't remember the name, but the building was lovely), afforded us a grand view of the city and all of its vastness. It reminded me of Mexico City in a way as the city sprawled out before us.
Wednesday: A day in Barcelona (Bar-th-elona). Took the bus into the city (a mere 20 minute bus ride) to Plaza Espanya where we took an open top bus ride through much of the city. Barcelona is such a large, sprawling city full of beautiful old buildings and beautiful people. To quote 13 year old Kalin, "there are tons of hot girls here!" - ah, we love 'im. We hopped off of our bus so that we could get a close look at the Mediterranean Sea. Lo and behold, there it was, and a beautiful blue/green color. It happened to be a very busy day for sea-goers, and we even had to avert the eyes of Kalin when we spotted a few topless old women. Yikes!
It was a really beautiful day on the Mediterranean, but we were ready to move on to the Gothic quarter of the city, called Barri Gótic which was inspiring in itself. The old town district is called the Gothic quarter for the Gothic monuments found there. IT was formerly an ancient fortified Roman village. It's the site of both historic monuments and modern institutions. We were mostly in Las Ramblas, which is a long avenue with a central pedestrian walkway full of newsstands, cafes and restaurants, and dotted with mimes, pavement artists and more.
We ended our day there and traveled back to our hotel by taxi. This was probably the most Spanish I was able to speak. During most of the trip, I'd speak to people in Spanish and they'd answer me in English. I guess we all wanted to show off our skills. No problemo, yo.
One of the highlights of my day: Magnum Bar! If you haven't had a Magnum, you haven't lived, my friends. Pure heaven!
Thursday: Enjoyed the concierges room one last time by eating Pan de Chocolate and drinking the orange FAS. I then headed to the airport in my plane bound for Newark, leaving my family behind to experience more of Europe. However, I boarded my plane and found another first class seat and more heaven to follow.
My one souvenir: a Flamenco fan, to remind me of my secret wish. Yes, I want to be a Flamenco dancer. There you have it! Now you know! Sheesh!