This Family Travels to Spain – Barcelona, Part 1

family travel barcelona spain

I always struggle with getting up our family travel adventures in a timely fashion, so I’ve decided to not focus so much on the big picture and get every bit of our trip nicely summed up and carefully manicured in one comprehensive post. (Though, I am in the middle of doing this with our Panama adventure from last year, and will finish that baby up as such eventually.) Instead, I will be sharing our family vacation in Spain from earlier this year (2019) in small, largely photographic chunks of the activities or areas that we visited, and once they’re all posted I will write a sum up post with all the links to individual adventures. Sound like a plan? Okay, then let’s begin.

Our Family Travel Adventure in Barcelona, Spain – Part 1

When we arrived in Spain, we flew into Barcelona and stayed there for two (mostly sleepless) nights while we adjusted to the large time change. In these first couple of days we wandered around to check out some of the city in the area around our hotel.

Two of the first things that the hotel staff informed us of were a) political demonstrations are a part of every day life in Barcelona, and to stay clear of these herds with our five-year-old in tow. We did find ourselves close to some of these demonstrations and witnessed the large groups of dedicated people parading down the streets, blocking traffic, but felt fairly safe. Still, best not to risk being too close to the masses if any violence were to start up, which we didn’t see, but could certainly happen. And secondly, b) keep a good watch on your valuables. Pick-pockets are very much a reality in Barcelona, and they are good. I chose to keep my small wallet and cell phone in pockets in my sweater, under my jacket, and my husband kept a hand on his wallet in his front pocket at all times. We also made the decision to taxi from the airport with all our luggage, rather than haul everything on the subway where there is the greatest risk of having things nabbed.

We had nothing stolen during our trip, though we did become able to quickly pick out those who were up to no good, and looked them in the eye to let them know we saw them and knew what was up. I think this was a positive learning experience for our little one, who is growing up in one of the most trusting and supporting communities I’ve ever witnessed, to be aware of her surroundings and that not everyone is to be trusted, to gain some street smarts that will serve her well as she experiences more of life and this crazy world of ours.

Mercat de la Boqueria

Note: The photos I’m including here of the market are unedited quick snaps with my smart phone as I didn’t feel confident carrying around the Nikon at night and in busy places.

This food market was a giant display of vendors and many incredible fruits, meats, vegetables, fish, candies and confections. We bought some fruit cups and juices, and wandered the stalls to take it all in.

boqueria market barcelona

tapas in barcelona, spain family travel

And another sub-par phone shot of our first attempt at figuring out a tapas bar. Delicious little niblets with hefty helping of phenomenal cheeses, meats, and other ingredients included on the breads.

Walking Along Port Vell

The first morning we woke up in Barcelona (after not being able to sleep more than maybe 40 minutes myself – somehow the husband had no issues) we decided to take a sunny walk around the port area. The nice thing about Barcelona (and most of Spain) is that it’s almost always sunny, no matter the time of year. It makes it easy to feel warm and happy even in winter.

There were plenty of sidewalk vendors hawking knock-off goods.

There were also churro vendors, which we couldn’t pass by without trying. Z approved of this greasy, fluffy, sweet treat.

Esglesia de Santa Maria del Mar – Our Lady of the Sea

Esglesia de Santa Maria del Mar, Our Lady of the Sea barcelona

Very close to our hotel we came across a beautiful sanctuary that was free to enter. It’s an awing feeling to be inside such an old building with so much history and spirituality linked to it. For our first experience inside archetecture as old as this, we were amazed at the ability for humans to have built such an impressive building without the modern programs, tools, and equipment that we use today when constructing something of this scale.Esglesia de Santa Maria del Mar - Our Lady of the Sea Barcelona

While we adults were amazed by the building, our daughter was much more enthusiastic about the columns outside to stop cars that she could get herself up onto. Ah, travel with kids. Barcelona Spain Family Travel

barcelona spain travel with kids
Walking back to the hotel, noisy bell towers in the background.

Travel with kids in Barcelona Spain Barcelona Spain bell towers

Since we were still working through the jet lag and time adjustment, we found ourselves retreating to our room midday to take a rest. Along with napping, Z amused herself with building forts out of the beds and blankets, and I tried to snap some shots of the city from our window. The bells you can see out our window above are the glorious things that dinged and donged every half hour at all times night and day, which was not super helpful to getting to sleep at night time when my body was not used to sleeping anyhow.

Barcelona Spain family travel

Bar Jardi – Barcelona’s Secret Garden Bar

Before we landed in Barcelona, my husband’s friend who has close ties to Spain mentioned this funky little rooftop garden bar that we wanted to check out. While we walked around sightseeing, our jet-lagged little Z fell asleep in his arms, but we still made it to Bar Jardi.

It was a bit of a nice surprise to get a kid-free date with my man here while the wee one slept the entire time, as well as the walk back to the hotel following.

Look for this camel as you wander around Barcelona, then take the funky indoor “alley” into the shops, and up the stairs in the back to find yourself in the neat little city oasis.

So many beautiful buildings to come across just wandering around the city.Barcelona street Spain family travelThanks for being an amazing place to explore, Barcelona! I’ll share more about our adventures in this city in another post, as we came back to finish the last 4 days of our trip in Barcelona. But for now, that is all! Stay tuned for the next post that will share the start of our road trip from Barcelona down the coast to Malaga. (And if you’re curious to see even more, check out my Instagram stories where you can find almost all of my IG story posts from our Spain trip:

Thanks for reading! Please share any comments or questions below.

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