Have Mother, will travel
Well, as I begin what one of my young professional friends described as my 'new nomadic life' I take my law degree and business degree in hand and ... go to Barcelona to study Spanish of course!
As my mother alluded to in her earlier blog, having now spent a few weeks of summer following a very cold Belgian winter, I was once again ready to embrace Europe and for the first month I will be doing this first with Mum and then Dad will join us later. Travelling with these two is rather nice and I would highly recommend them (sorry Thomas, such a shame you are in semester...). So we decided that seeing as I am the far less familiar one with Barcelona, I will share week one of Spanish living.
Last time I was in Barcelona was when I was 17 on a school language trip and my friends and I loved it. This time, following years of being in awe of my mother's skill with European languages, we decided to go to Barcelona where I would do beginners Spanish and she would do intermediate Spanish (this is an excellent coupling as it means she is really good at doing my homework!). Thus far I have found that I have used my French far more than English and certainly Spanish, but I can highly recommend the 'Speakeasy Language School' in central Barcelona. The classes right from beginners are taught entirely in Spanish and the 4 hours per day 5 days per week are actually highly enjoyable.
We have, of course, been eating some delicious meals and seen some amazing shops and monuments so far. Just to name a few:
1) Cal Pep: Amazing tapas where you have to wait for almost an hour, but well worth it for the food. Make sure you do not miss the tortilla or my personal favourite the spinach with chickpeas.
2) Sagrada Familia: 'An oldie but a goodie'. Having been here years ago I almost gave it a miss, however this Gaudi building is simply stunning. Everything from the towers to the stained glass windows must be seen... will it ever be completed? Nobody knows!
3) Montjuic: Some of my lovely friends from my law exchange in Belgium came to stay for the weekend and we spent the afternoon climbing around this park. From the drink overlooking the beautiful to the rather adventurous climb to the top of the mountain to reach the castle, this is by far the best way to view Barcelona.
4) Centric 35: Mum used her newly discovered internet research skills to find this solely Catalan (except for one Spanish menu) restaurant which only opened 5 months ago. From an extensive wine list to the best croquettas and paella sampled thus far, this is certainly the place to go.
5) Parc Guell: The weather in Barcelona is amazing and everything Gaudi seems to be as well. Another hot walking adventure with my Italian and Belgian friends, this place is breathtaking.
This is a short summary of only a few of the places adventured to so far however, and if you have any suggestions of your favourite Barcelona spots for our continuing mother/daughter adventure then just let us know, we have plenty of time to try everything out!
By Helen Dixon.