There’s a point in every woman’s life when she realizes time is short—it’s OK to live it up and start ticking the boxes off on your bucket list.
For me, that point was three months ago. The day my three best girlfriends and I decided it was time for our first granny getaway.
Now I know what you’re thinking: How much excitement could four grannies really conjure up? This blog is going to be boring with a capital B.
Not so, my friend. Sure, this was our first (of what I’m pretty sure will be many) grand granny adventures, but I think we did it up pretty well. You just never know what four adventurous women will do on a Rueda-fueled weekend in one of the most magical cities in Europe.
Read my story…you’ll see Barcelona (and sweet little grandmothers) in a whole new light. And you may even get a few ideas for a girls’ getaway of your own.
It all started with an Enigma. Literally.
Dori is a foodie. I know it’s trendy these days for everyone and his brother to say he’s a foodie, but Dori’s the real deal. As in, no Chicken of the Sea for her—she orders tinned tuna from Tre Torri at $38 a can.
She read a New York Times article about a new restaurant in Barcelona that serves a 40-course tasting menu. And her obsession with Enigma was born.
Needless to say, as her three closest friends, we were more than happy to feed that obsession. That it involved a trip to Barcelona was just icing on the cake.
T-1: Expert Barcelona packing tips (or “No, Laurel, you can’t bring eight pairs of shoes for a weekend escape.”)
Dori and I are pretty experienced travelers. We know to keep it light and simple in Europe. Laurel, on the other hand…not so much. Her type of travel involves cruise ships and beach resorts, the kind of places where four oversized travel cases don’t pose a problem.
We’re in her bedroom plucking bad ideas out of her suitcase as fast as she can put them in. The dialog goes something like this:
“Oh goodness no, not that hot pink fanny pack. Or that ridiculous mantilla for the Sagrada Família. And definitely not those awful white tennis shoes that scream ‘I’m an American tourist.’”
Eliza goes into drill-sergeant mode. The no-nonsense one in the group, she takes matters into her own hands and sets one rolling duffel on the bed. We help Laurel whittle her pile of clothes down to an appropriate weekend wardrobe (with just two pairs of shoes). She looks like someone just ran over her cat, but at least she’ll be able to manage her bag.
That dreadful task accomplished, we celebrate in true Spanish style—with a bottle of cava, a dish of olives and marcona almonds, and a few good laughs.
You’d never believe our first night in Barcelona.
El Prat looks like every other modern European airport we’ve wandered through, except with a bit more glass, modern sofas, and bright colors. Eliza had the good sense to book a private airport transfer, so we’re met by a cheeky driver with a sweet Catalan accent who makes pleasant small talk.
“So, ladies, are you excited to try tapas tonight?” he asks.
“Topless! Who’s going topless tonight?” giggles Laurel. I’m wondering just how many bloody marys she had on the plane at this point.
We check into the Hotel Claris, freshen up, and set out to get lost in the Gothic Quarter. Dori has her eye on Els Quatre Gats. I’m not sure she has eyes for anything but food…that is, until we pass by the Museu de l’Eròtica.
Oh yes. We definitely did. We went right in and walked around. And let’s just say we learned an awful lot about erotica from the paleolithic era—and I’ll leave it all to your imagination.
We’re dying for a soothing glass of wine after all the, ahem, excitement at the museum, so we head in what we hope is the direction of the Four Cats.
We’re sauntering along the Rambla, trying to look confident and Catalan, and giggling like school girls. We come to the Pla de l’Os and the magnificent Miró mosaic and Laurel whips out her selfie stick for a quick shot before the sun goes down.
I realize we’re heading the wrong way down La Rambla so we make a quick turn and make our way down Carrer de Montsió to Els Quatre Gats. After we’re seated, we act out our favorite scenes from “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” with me playing Vicky, Laurel doing her best Scarlett Johansson, and Eliza in the Javier Bardem role. A few glasses of wine, a lot of olives, and a steady stream of mussels, clams, octopus, and squid…an utterly perfect evening.
We fall into our beds exhausted and excited for the next day’s adventures.