More Important Than Sleep: Barcelona

Every ounce of energy that was left in me cheered on the plane that was about to land in the beautiful country of Spain. My head was still trying to wrap around the idea that I had just gotten married only HOURS ago, much less that I was about to explore España. I literally debated whether the first thing I wanted to do was sleep or eat. Both of which are as important as breathing to me. And sleep -- well, I was sleep deprived.

I bought a bottle of tylenol PM (which just means I needed a sleeping pill) so I could take HALF of one the night before the wedding. Knowing how easily my thoughts keep me awake, I figured I wouldn't be getting much sleep the night before and I had to wake up looking FRESH. How on earth would that happen at 5 a.m.?! I took it at 7 p.m. to prevent looking drunkishly drowsy at 5 a.m., however I wasn't expecting it to kick in after 30 minutes! I was in the shower and as I was washing my hair, I would feel a sudden sensation to close my eyes shortly after my hands felt heavy on my head. Great! The last thing I needed was to pass out in the shower! I managed to finish, blowdry my hair, and get in bed. I knocked out, but to my unpleasant surprise found myself waking up at 2 a.m. Then at 3 a.m.

"Wedding!! Spain!!! Auggggh-- SLEEP!" kept running through my head. Too late -- 5 a.m. showed up, but I was excited, I was ready, and I jumped up from the covers. Fast forward to the end of the wedding reception. I was beyond exhausted. The emotions, the DANCING, the excitement, the lack of sleep... I could COLLAPSE! Add to that waking up early AGAIN for our Spain flight the next morning, and I was struggling to keep my eyes open.

As we walked out of the Barcelona airport, I did what every tourist does. I pulled out Jose's digital camera and filmed the walkway out of the plane into the terminal. Okay, maybe not every tourist -- just those kind. I was certainly one of those. I would stop midway to absorb all of it while Jose rolled our carry on, 30 feet in front of me, clearly finding nothing that interesting in the airport. But in fact, I wasn't really looking at the building -- I was listening to the people and watching them. I was taking in their clothes, their mannerisms, and their accent.

"Grathias!" Jose said to the taxi driver. I rolled my eyes and laughed. Then he proceeded to call me a "hater" because he was "blending in." Sure, cause I know Spaniards call out "haters" ALL the time :) Who was I kidding? I wanted to blend in too. To eat their food, to wear their clothes, to listen to them talk, to ride bikes, to completely absorb them like my skin would absorb the sun at the beach.

Jose spent a number of hours looking up hotels to plan our crazy, long stay in Spain. The long stay meant we had to find affordable hotels. Before the trip I thought most of these hotels wouldn't really have a "Spanish" appeal and be just like any hotel in the states: a bed, toilet, tv, and window type of room. Sometimes Jose, in confusion, would ask "what do you think a Spanish hotel is supposed to look like??" And when we walked out on the balcony of the first hotel we arrived, I thought "just like this."

Our view...

The pseudo beach built for the olympics...

Our first bite of tapas...

Jose mentioned that he had visited this Roman Catholic church a couple of years ago during his study abroad and explained how it was under construction back then as it was at that moment. My first thought was "really? and they're still not done??" Oh, ye of little knowledge.

I soon realized that this "church" is actually a historical piece of work by the famous Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. There was no question this church was (is) breath taking and pretty glorious in all its beauty -- but I didn't know it had been under construction since 1882!!! That's more than a freaking century people!

(photo of photo :)

The official name of this church/project is called The Sagrada Familia. You can read more details about it on your own, but just imagine this incredible architect with brilliant, yet extremely ambitious ideas, working on this church until his death in 1926. Then imagine his work being taken up by another architect who follows the models Gaudi constructed, but then some of the models and workshops are destroyed in the Spanish Civil War! The rest of the construction is made by adaptations and salvaged portions of Gaudi's original plans by various architects.

So we continued visiting more Gaudi's master pieces

How Gaudi designed so geometrically..
A model

Actual implementation of his model.

Came home to find some champagne and chocolate covered strawberries in our hotel room courtesy of the hotel itself!

The next morning Jose shook me awake and darted out on to the balcony before I could even open my eyes. When I went outside he pointed to the sky and said "let's watch the sun rise!" I was partially tempted to crawl back into the warm covers, but felt so lucky to have someone who appreciated these moments.

And the rest of the days in Barcelona treated us so well.

These are just a few. I didn't have much self control with my camera in the first city, but we also stayed here the longest. You can imagine how long it took me to just narrow it down! Our next stop: San Sebastian!