Honeymoon Part 1: Barcelona

I'm going to go ahead and high five myself for FINALLY getting my honeymoon posted. Well, half of it at least. You know, it's only been FOUR MONTHS since we got married and I JUST got these edited yesterday. But then again, why do I put so much unnecessary pressure on myself?! This is my corner of the internet. Who cares if I post honeymoon photos a week after getting home or a year after getting home. I highly doubt anyone out there is thinking to themselves "oh mahhh gooooosh that girl needs to get her life together and get her honeymoon photos up!" Yeah right! Have I had too much coffee this morning? Perhaps.

Matt and I were married four months ago yesterday, and it was the single greatest day of my life. Followed closely by three weeks of amazing days as we honeymooned in Spain. We decided early on in our planning that we wanted to do a honeymoon registry. Matt and I already had a lot of the necessary "house stuff" from college years and my obsession with buying things before I need them, so we didn't really see a need for a traditional registry. And we really, really wanted to take an extended honeymoon to somewhere super rad after spending our entire relationship living at least two hours apart. Enter: Spain. Spain was Matt's suggestion. He's always wanted to visit the country and I knew I'd have an impossible time choosing a place if it were up to me, so we just decided to go for it. Thanks to some amazing luck with jobs and schedules, we were able to carve out three whole weeks for the trip. A lot of people have asked if we used any travel agencies or guides to plan it--nope! We planned it all ourselves through a ton of research online. I love you, TripAdvisor! We rented apartments instead of staying in hotels and I got an international phone plan for my iPhone so I could use it the entire time for looking up information or navigation as we wandered through cities. And, of course, Instagram ;) I'm sure spending three weeks in a foreign country with no real "plan" would freak a lot of people out, but it was AMAZING. Truly the trip of a lifetime. And now, the photos!


:: Our first glimpse of Barcelona from the plane was amazing! And the walk from the apartment rental office to our actual apartment was magical. It truly felt like we were in Europe right away. ::

:: we ate a delicious pizza dinner by the ocean that first night. and of course drank a LOT of sangria. ::

:: Our apartment was an adorable little studio located in the heart of the Old City. Winding brick streets, clothes on lines strung across your heads, it was awesome and noisy and authentic and perfect. We also had to climb a million ancient stairs to get there, but that's okay. That photo on the right is our street, right by our entrance. Calle Flassaders, how we miss you. ::

:: The apartment was walking distance from Parque de Cituadella, which is Barcelona's version of Central Park. It was so peaceful to walk through and so fun to see people lounging, reading books, sketching, even throwing a birthday party! We took rowboats on the pond one afternoon and had a blast. ::

:: I fell in love with Spanish architecture right away. Is all of Europe like this?! If so, I need to go there often. It's so beautiful and intricate and old. I have hundreds of photos of balconies, windows and buildings. I probably could have toned down the photos a bit but I just love them. I can totally picture the generations of people that have lived in these glamorous apartments, watched the world go by outside their gilded windows. Ah! I love it so much. ::

:: We found out before the trip that The Lumineers were playing in Barcelona while we were there. I lOVE them so I knew we had to go. We put it on the registry and sure enough, someone gifted us the tickets (thanks, Cliff!) It ended up being SUPER tricky figuring out how to actually go pick up the tickets. After a long, hot afternoon of walking around, getting lost, getting discouraged and ultimately thinking we'd never pick up our tickets, we stumbled across the right office and were able to pick them up. This photo represents one of the happiest moments of my life--gelato, Starbucks AND our Lumineers tickets. And my hair doesn't look too bad either, no?! ::

:: After the ticket adventure, we headed to Sagrada Familia, which was high on my list of must-see's. There are no words to describe my awe upon entering this church. The beauty is unbelievable, the detail and design, the thought process behind it and most of all, that so much effort has gone into a structure for the purpose of worshipping God. It's INCREDIBLE. I walked around with my jaw on the floor. I will never forget this day. ::

:: oh look, more photos of buildings and stuff! ::

:: We had a gelato-three-times-a-day rule. I think it worked out really well! ::

:: The Lumineers played Razzmatazz, a famous club in the city. I was more than a little nervous about seeing the show there. I mean, European clubs? You hear so many horror stories and I'm quite the worrier (and wuss!) But I couldn't have asked for a better venue to see them. It was pretty small and standing room only, so we were able to see everything and the sound was great. And halfway through the show they came out INCHES from us and played three or four sons. It was AMAZING. Definitely one of the coolest shows I've ever seen. ::

:: One of the things on our registry I was most excited about was sailing. We took a sunset cruise along the coast, complete with wine and live jazz music, and it was so neat. So relaxing and beautiful to be out on the water. The route took us right beneath the flight pattern for Barcelona's airport, so it was cool to have these giant jets flying overhead. Definitely a highlight of the trip! ::

:: I was really interested in seeing as much Gaudi stuff as possible, so we hit up several of the main attractions, including La Pedrera. This super weird structure has these creepy chimneys on the roof and awesome views of the city. It was originally built as an apartment building, so there's a museum as well where you can walk through what would have been a typical bourgeoisie apartment. It was super interesting and really cool to see. ::

:: We trekked up mucho hills to picnic and see Park Guell, another famous Gaudi creation. I must say, I was a little disappointed! I mean the park itself is AMAZING but I was so sad that it was SO super crowded with tourists and school groups. It really took away from the experience. We did decide to go to Spain during the absolute busiest season, as all of Europe was on holiday, so perhaps it'd be way better in the off season? It felt like something out of Dr. Seuss, for sure. Definitely worth seeing, but expect crowds! ::

:: Everywhere I travel, I love to visit the cathedrals. I think the old churches are just so awe-inspiring. They're so huge and sturdy and many of them were built by hand, brick by brick. Barcelona's Cathedral did not disappoint. We were able to attend Sunday Mass there and then stayed afterward to watch the dancers in the courtyard, thanks to a tip from a friend of mine. It was so cool to see this part of Spanish culture. ::

:: We were able to take several day trips during our stay in Barcelona, including one that took us to several wineries (thanks, Chelsea and Alberto!) This is another favorite from the whole trip. It was so neat to see these traditional Spanish wineries, sample many (maaaaany!) wines and cavas and learn about the Penedes wine-producing region. Matt was almost certainly drunk by the time we boarded the bus at the end of the day...he blames it on the glass of brandy he tried at winery #2 :) All in all, a perfect honeymoon day! ::

:: We definitely couldn't leave Barcelona without checking out Boqueria Market. It's a lot like Pike's Place in Seattle, although a lot smaller. So much color and texture and noise and people! I could have photographed there all day. ::

:: One evening we took a walk along the Arc D'Triomf, which was right around the corner from our apartment. The light was perfect, the street performers were out, and it was such a chill and fun way to spend an hour one evening. ::

:: We also took a day trip to Girona, which was incredible. I posted some more photos here if you'd like to see! Basically we walked around lots of medieval stuff and sat on some ancient castle walls. Pretty rad if you ask me. ::

:: The trip wasn't ALL go-go-go-, though. We ate lots of delicious tapas dinners... ::

:: drank mucho sangria... ::

:: and spent plenty of time laying on the beach. ::

:: One day we took an excursion to Costa Brava to go snorkeling and sea kayaking. SO MUCH FUN. The coast is incredible in that part of the country and our guide was really knowledgable and funny. Matt even jumped off a cliff! ::

:: two happy honeymooners :) ::

:: Our favorite part, hands down, was the hiking trip we took to the Pyrenees. We took a guided tour up into the Pyrenees mountains and spent the day exploring the medieval city of Vic, the teeny tiny mountain community of Queralbs, and then spent the afternoon in Valle de Nuria, hiking and taking in the scenery. We were only 1 kilometer (as the crow flies) from France! It was breathtakingly beautiful and such a fun way to end our Barcelona visit before heading to Madrid. ::

And that, in a very small nutshell, was Barcelona!! Up next: Madrid :)