Morocco and Spain Trip Recap

"Travel Loot" Cedar Park, 2017
Photo info: SONY SLT-A77V, 35mm, f/4, 1/20 sec, ISO640
“Travel Loot” Cedar Park, 2017

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Well, I finally finished up with all my back posts of our trip! The photo above shows a few pieces of the loot haul, and in the dish is a small stone that I picked up from the water at Barceloneta beach. I don’t even know if it is imported or not, but the authenticity isn’t important. It’s the memory that it represents that gives it value. One of my favorite movie scenes explains what I mean.

Anyways, here are a couple lists I made about the trip.

Total miles traveled: 12,905

  • Plane: 11,273
  • Train: 921
  • Boat: 29
  • Bus/Taxi: 682

Highlights/Bucket List

  • First trip to Africa – That makes it four continents for me!
  • Crossing from Africa to Europe by ferry – The so-called Strait of Gibraltar have been one of those mythical things since I was a little kid
  • Touching the Mediterranean – Again, like something out of a dream. Isn’t this where the Greek gods/heroes used to play?

Top Food

  • Boquerones tapas (fried sardines)
  • Tagine
  • Papas bravas
  • Almejas tapas (clams)
  • Jamón bocadillos

Post Index

Since I posted my trip entries after-the-fact, here’s a list you can use to easily access each one:

Barcelona – Day 2

"La Sagrada Famila" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/550 sec, ISO200
“La Sagrada Famila” Barcelona, 2017

Hello! On to day 2 in Barcelona.

One of the major sights we wanted to see is La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s amazing cathedral which has been under construction for well over a hundred years and won’t be completed for another 10 or so. As I mentioned before, I don’t care too much for cathedrals and churches, but this one is truly awe-inspiring. It’s got a modern take, is colorful and the design is intruiguing. That being said, my interest is purely about the design and construction, since I am not religious. Still, there’s enough here for the non-believer to be inspired by the human will to achieve. Amazing.

"La Sagrada Familia" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.2, 1/125 sec, ISO200
“La Sagrada Familia” Barcelona, 2017
"La Sagrada Selfie" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/120 sec, ISO200
“La Sagrada Selfie” Barcelona, 2017

Next up on the list was to do a bit of shopping – specifically to pick up a suitcase that we saw the night before so we could haul our loot back home. This included the food we would be buying from the Spanish supermarket, the paella pans, and non-breakable souvenirs. Plus our dirty laundy. I that gross to keep that with our canned goods? I wonder… oh well, too late now, right? 😛

"Barcelona Streets" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/550 sec, ISO200
“Barcelona Streets” Barcelona, 2017

Anyways, we bought the suitcase, dropped it off at the hotel, and made our way to lunch, which was on the way to MACBA: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, or the Museum of Contemporary Art. For our third paella of the trip, we visited Paelleria. We learned that paella is not as crispy on the bottom as we always thought, but that it was moister. The first paella we got was moist and we thought it was odd. But after the second and third one, we figured that is the way it is supposed to be. Anyways, the paella at Paelleria was delicious, and we also had to order a few other tapas. And beer. And sangria. 🍺🍷

"Paella" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/25 sec, ISO800
“Paella” Barcelona, 2017
"Salad Tapas" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/40 sec, ISO800
“Salad Tapas” Barcelona, 2017

Next, it was on to the Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s housed in a beautiful building, and the exhibit on the first floor was photography-based which I enjoyed. The other exhibits, however, were too esoteric and I couldn’t find them interesting.

"Museum of Contemporary Art" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/1250 sec, ISO200
“Museum of Contemporary Art” Barcelona, 2017
"Relax Time" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/150 sec, ISO200
“Relax Time” Barcelona, 2017
"Art Installation" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/11, 1/4 sec, ISO800
“Art Installation” Barcelona, 2017

After MACBA, we strolled to the nearby art supply store to check it out, then caught a taxi to Barceloneta Beach for another one the highlights of our trip: touching the Mediterranean Sea. I was so stoked to dip my feet in! The water was cool, but not too cold, and very clear even though it was a pretty crowded beach. Maybe it is silly, but walking barefoot in the waters was something I was looking forward to the whole trip! 🌊

"Mediterranean Waters" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/400 sec, ISO200
“Mediterranean Waters” Barcelona, 2017

Near the beach were a lot of really nice-looking restaurants, and by this time, we were getting pretty hungry. We checked Yelp and found a restaurant that looked good, but when we got there, it didn’t seem like our kind of place. So, we tried a nearby restaurant which normally you need a reservation for, but we got lucky (and we were early) so we got a table. The menu at Somorrostro was pretty fancy seafood, and we took advantage of our last night in Barcelona to have a nice, upscale feast. We had skipjack with pistachio and sour cream, black rice with smoked sardine and rabbit, shrimp taco with spring onion and avocado, zucchini flowers stuffed with cheese, and octopus with potato and chorizo. Plus beer, cava, and water, of course! It was kind of funny, but lots of the agua that the kids ordered at the different tapas bars come in uniquely fancy bottles. Never saw the same glass water bottle twice!

"Cold One" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/12 sec, ISO800
“Cold One” Barcelona, 2017
"Fancy Tapas" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/40 sec, ISO800
“Fancy Tapas” Barcelona, 2017
"Pulpo" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/15 sec, ISO800
“Pulpo” Barcelona, 2017

We were pretty tired after dinner, but of course we had to have our second dinner, and that would mean taking a taxi back to Tapa Tapa (thanks, Bay!) for drinks and tapas. 😄

"Refreshments" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/60 sec, ISO640
“Refreshments” Barcelona, 2017

A relatively early return to the hotel so we could pack up, and then we called it a day!  Barcelona 🇪🇸

Barcelona – Day 1

"The Streets" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4.5, 1/125 sec, ISO200
“The Streets” Barcelona, 2017

Hi! Well, as you may have figured out, we love to eat on our travels. In fact, eating and drinking is one of the main activities that we look forward to and plan for. So, without further ado, let’s get started with brunch:

"Brunch" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/3.6, 1/150 sec, ISO200
“Brunch” Barcelona, 2017
"Hot Chocolate" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4.5, 1/150 sec, ISO200
“Hot Chocolate” Barcelona, 2017
"Eggs Benedict" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/140 sec, ISO200
“Eggs Benedict” Barcelona, 2017

Just around the corner from our hotel is Alsur Café, where we sat outside and enjoyed coffee, hot chocolate, a smoothie, avocado-bacon waffles, eggs Benedict, and another waffle sandwich of what I don’t remember. I do remember, however, that it was all excellent. A good start to the day!

"Alsur Cafe" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/400 sec, ISO200
“Alsur Cafe” Barcelona, 2017

Our tickets for the Picasso Museum were for 14:00 so we had some time to stroll around Barcelona and do a little shopping.

"Barcelona Streets" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/170 sec, ISO200
“Barcelona Streets” Barcelona, 2017

We made it to the museum and enjoyed the drawings and paintings. The collection is mainly of his earlier work so if you are expecting to see a great expanse of his production, you may be disappointed. But, I thought it was good, and worth the visit.

The rest of the day was spent wandering the streets of Barcelona and shopping. Eventually, we landed at our first restaurant, Ciudad Condal. Yet another fun and delicious meal, and even Koa is expanding his palette! He’s becoming a fish-lover. In fact, when we were eating clams in Granada, he had the whole plate in front of him and was powering through those little suckers!

"Ciudad Condal" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/45 sec, ISO800
“Ciudad Condal” Barcelona, 2017
"Fancy Drinks" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/25 sec, ISO800
“Fancy Drinks” Barcelona, 2017
"Razor Clams" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/60 sec, ISO800
“Razor Clams” Barcelona, 2017
"Oh Yum" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/30 sec, ISO800
“Oh Yum” Barcelona, 2017

As became our tradition in Spain, we have two dinners… and in Barcelona, that meant going back to Tapa Tapa. I would have wanted to try another place, but Bay is crazy about Tapa Tapa for some reason! Well, he was the main driver for this vacation, so we let him indulge. 😄

"Meat and Fish" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/75 sec, ISO200
“Meat and Fish” Barcelona, 2017
"Ready for Us" Barcelona, 2017
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/60 sec, ISO320
“Ready for Us” Barcelona, 2017

And that did it for day 1 in Barcelona! Same old, same old, huh? Sightseeing and eating. Life is good!