Grannies

HERE CONTINUES THE ADVENTURE OF OUR GRANNIES IN BARCELONA… Did you miss the previous blog? Read it here it is very funny!

As you might guess, Laurel is a shopaholic and she planned our morning excursion. We’re met at our hotel by Mònica, our guide for a private El Born shopping tour.

We start at Colmado, where Laurel picks up an amazing Manuel Bolaño hat—and Dori goes gaga over a gorgeous fish-shaped handbag (it looks like food, so I understand her attraction).

After visiting several other boutiques, we come to Le Swing, a vintage shop, and its sister boutique Blow. If I have a shopping weakness, it’s vintage. Hey, some of those things are from my era and I feel right at home! With a little help from Guiselle, the shop’s owner, I pick up a pair of retro sunglasses for my granddaughter Layla—and for once, I’m completely confident she’s going to love them.

We grab a cupcake at Lolita and then turn down a tiny street facing the soaring Santa Maria del Mar church and into Casa Gispert and the mouth-watering aroma of roasting nuts. Dori’s packing her basket full of oils, saffron, nuts, fruits, and fancy salts, and Eliza is trying (futilely) to restrain her.

Our last stop is Moska, an absolutely marvelous hidden gem—no pun intended—of a jewelry shop. Even no-nonsense Eliza is mesmerized by the dazzling display of unique and unusual pieces. We all put a bit more than we promised our husbands on our American Express cards, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime shopping experience, right?

Mònica did an amazing job finding exactly the right shops and boutiques for our group and she even makes a recommendation for a wonderful restaurant for lunch.

From there, we meet at the Plaça de Catalunya for our tour of the Sagrada Família. It’s our first Gaudí experience—and the one I’m most looking forward to.

The drive along Passeig de Gracia sets the tone as we pass by other Gaudí masterpieces—Casa Milà and Casa Batlló. And then the Sagrada Família comes into view.

We breeze through on a fast track queue and fasten our headphones so we can hear Oliver, our guide. Walking through the otherworldly Birth Facade sends shivers down my spine…I’m usually a nonstop talker, but for once, even I have no words. It’s something you simply must see for yourself to believe.

The tour ends and we return to our hotel for a quickie nap before The Big Event—our dinner at Enigma.

We take a taxi to the restaurant and give our secret passcode to the door attendant, and we are ushered into a space unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Between the overwhelming detail of the Sagrada Familia, and the cloud-like ceilings and waterfall walls of Enigma, my senses are in overload.

I’d love to tell you more about our dinner—the seven unusual seating spaces we were ushered through over the course of the night, the beautiful food artfully arranged on unusual dishes, the restrained and refined wine list—but Enigma has a very strict policy about photos and sharing your experience on social media. So you’ll just have to fly to Barcelona yourself to check it out!

After nearly five hours of wining and dining at Enigma, our culinary adventure comes to an end. Dori hasn’t stopped talking since we first sat down—and quite frankly, I’m afraid she’s never going to stop!

All in all, another amazingly successful day in Barcelona.

A day trip for our last day in Barcelona.

We sleep in on our last day—of course, sleeping in for this group of hardcore grannies means waking up at 8 am for a light breakfast of tomato toast (my new favorite thing—how did I never know of this delicacy before?)

By 10, we’re in a luxury van heading to Montserrat (picture below) and a date with the boys choir.

The zipcar to St. Joan Chapel is exactly what you’d imagine—the views are magnificent. Laurel’s selfie stick is getting quite a workout and she’s filling up her Facebook feed with shots of our grinning faces with Montserrat behind us.

From there, we make our way to the monastery for the 1 o’clock boys choir performance. Afterwards, we visit the Black Madonna and make a point of kissing her hand. We wander the museum and admire the paintings by El Greco, Caravaggio, Picasso, Dalí, and Miró.

Fortunately, Eliza booked a combination tour that takes us to the Codorníu Wine Cellars on our way back to Barcelona—you can never sample too much cava! We say goodbye to Montserrat and we are on our way.

And let’s just say, on a trip packed with amazing sights and experiences, Codorniu still manages to take my breath away. There are some 20 miles of underground tunnels to store the 100 million bottles of cava—and no, that wasn’t a typo. There are 100 millionbottles down there. The train ride through the tunnels past all those beautiful bottles is almost hypnotic.

We ended the visit with a cava tasting, and we all take home a bottle of the Reina Maria Cristina Blanc de Noirs, their newest white cava made from Pinot Noir grapes.

The sun is on the horizon when we return to Barcelona. It’s our last evening, so of course we want to find one last tasca so we can get our tapas game down pat.

Tonight, it’s Quimet y Quimet, quite possibly Barcelona’s most popular tapas bar. We feast on chipirones and plates and plates of montaditos, all washed down with Rueda and vermouth.

As we head to bed on our last night here, I can’t help but think this group of four grannies did Barcelona right.

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