Cathedrals, Tapas, and Flamenco in Spain (Part 1: Barcelona and Madrid)

***There are two posts for Spain because we wanted to share lots of pictures! Part 1 is Barcelona and Madrid. Part 2 is Granada and Seville (coming soon).***

Leaving Spain was heartbreaking for us! The country is filled with so many things to do, amazing food to eat, and beautiful places to see, including tons of cathedrals. We visited more cathedrals than Cody wished for and ate tapas every single day. The beer and wine is cheaper than water so of course we had a lot of that too. Spain is at the top of our list of countries we want to visit one day again. Each city we visited was so different from the next. Two weeks was just not enough! Over the two week period, we traveled by train from Barcelona to Madrid (including a day trip to Toledo), then Granada, and finally, Seville.

Barcelona:

Tapas, tapas, everywhere! You can find tapas bars everywhere in Barcelona (and most other cities in Spain). Ciudad Condal was super popular because they offered a ton of delicious tapas for crazy affordable prices. Our pictures didn’t come out the best, but we promise, the food looked and tasted fantastic!

The biggest Christmas market in Barcelona, called Fira de Santa Llúcia, is on Avenida de la Catedral, where we saw the beautiful Gothic-style Barcelona Cathedral:

View from the cathedral – just a tiny part of the Christmas market:

One of Barcelona’s main shopping streets filled with hundreds of people:

Tiny cute streets in the Gothic Quarter:

Barcelona is one of the most packed cities we’ve ever visited. I know the holidays tend to get busy, but word on the street is that it’s a crazy busy city year-round.

We rock climbed at Chris Sharma’s gym in Barcelona. He’s one of the best rock climbers in the world and also good friends with Jason Momoa (a.k.a. Khal Drogo/Aquaman!!!), so of course we were on the lookout the entire time, but no luck. Supposedly, Chris is always there. We’ll just have to go back one day. The gym is in a random industrial area on a quiet street about 30 minutes away from the center of Barcelona. Check out the long line just to get in!

Here’s Cody owning that boulder:

If you go to Barcelona, there are things that you just have to see. Antoni Gaudí was a Spanish architect who created some of the most creative, beautiful, and detailed buildings in Barcelona. The Sagrada Família is one of them – it’s a massive basilica that has been in construction since 1882. Gaudí took over in 1883 and added to the massiveness and beauty the church is known for. The basilica is still in construction (since 1882!) under the direction of Gaudí’s plans and will not be finished until 2026… SO crazy.

And here is Casa Batlló designed by Gaudí (notice how the balconies look like skeletons!):

Your average mushroom fireplace:

Water vibes:

And of course in Spain, you MUST have good sangria and paella. Here we are excited before dinner:

Gelato every single day <3

 

Madrid:

After Barcelona, we took a three-hour train ride to Madrid. I know we say this about almost every city, but we LOVED Madrid. There was so much to see and do there. It’s also just a beautiful, fun city.

Christmas markets and decorations everywhere!

The Madrid version of Venice Beach, California:

While in Madrid, we discovered something new: food markets. Have you ever been to one!? We had no idea these magical places existed… supposedly we have one in Downtown L.A., but not sure if they are exactly the same. So, you walk into this building filled with different vendors serving delicious and sometimes very hipster food, order a drink from one of the bars (this could be a standard bar, a wine bar, a beer bar, etc.) and walk around with a drink in your hand picking out small, or big, bites. You pick out a little bit of this and a little bit of that. It’s awesome. Cody was obsessed.

Here are some pictures from a few different markets around Madrid:

Cute outdoor seating at one of the markets:

We took a 30-minute train ride from Madrid to Toledo for a day. Toledo is a beautiful old city rich in history and made up of small, narrow, and mostly quiet streets. It was once Spain’s capital and is known as the “city of three cultures.” People with Muslim, Jewish, and Christian backgrounds have coexisted there for a long time.

Toledo is known for their steelwork as well as damascene artwork (a type of metalwork that involves adding silver and gold to steel, or other type of metal). We saw a ton of mostly touristy shops selling things like swords, armor, damascene art, and other similar pieces. Seeing these shops everywhere just added to the already-medieval vibes of the city. We liked Toledo, but it was a little too quiet and medieval for us. One day was just enough!

Back to Madrid 🙂

We found the coolest bar in Madrid called 1862 Dry Bar. The drinks are amazing and the bar itself has a super classy, old-school vibe (hence the name). We loved hanging out here a couple of the nights chatting over some interesting cocktails. Go here if you like drinks and are in Madrid!

And finally, we couldn’t go to Madrid and not try the famous ‘churros con chocolate’ from Chocolatería San Ginés! This place was insanely busy all the time AND it’s open 24 hours a day. The place is filled with tourists and the walls are covered in photos of celebrities who have visited the popular spot. It was totally worth the wait. Who doesn’t love dipping sugary churros in hot chocolate?

With lots of love,

Deena & Cody

 

Part 2 of Spain coming soon!

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