SAS offers an airfare "Advent calendar" in December, where for one day only they post special deals on trips. Pam picked up airfare to Spain for about $100/ticket for us. Early early Thursday morning we drove to the airport and were off to Barcelona.
Here's the kids in the Oslo airport... an authentic Norwegian scene:
We took an expensive taxi from the airport to downtown Barcelona (63 euros = $100), to meet our apartment manager Roberto. We were dropped in the middle of the Gothic quarter, the oldest part of Barcelona. Pam couldn't have found a better location for us -- wow!
We walked down narrow streets that felt more like alleys... cobblestone streets, 60 foot high buildings towering either side, it felt like being a mouse in a maze. The building are very old and the walls bulge and seem to sway. Not many straight lines in these parts! The entrance to our apartment is tucked between two stores, we walk up a narrow staircase to an elevator and go to the 4th floor.
Our apartment is Catalonia-style, if there is such a thing. Tiled floors and walls, antique furniture, a large balcony. Just great! Roberto draws a map showing where a couple markets are, and we immediately head out to get some food.
On our way to the market:
We are close to Las Ramblas, the main boulevard in old Barcelona. It has a wide median crowded with kiosks, flower stands, beer gardens, and street performers. We stroll a few blocks and find the expansive outdoor market. It is an explosion of colors and smells!
We buy fruits and vegetables, juice and candy. Mango, papaya, some other fruits we've never seen before. There are strange meats at some stalls. Stomach? I'm not sure. We found one shop selling brains. The kids were horrified. Here's the picture if you'd like to see (I made it small because it's kind of gross. Click on it for full effect). Beware: heads with eyeballs, too!
On our way home, we stop to buy flowers for our apartment.
Some street performers are dressed as statues. I give Peter a coin to put in this pirate's box. Peter approaches nervously... and the pirate lunges! Peter just about jumped out of his shoes! (We saw this guy out here every day, even the day it rained. He was extremely nice.)
Finally, back for snacks and relaxing before heading out for the evening's adventure...