Since we had arrived at Brandon and Rachel’s apartment later in the evening, their kids were already sound asleep. They must have been as excited as we were to see them, because the next morning, we woke up to kids whispering outside our door asking Rachel if we were awake yet, and when they could say hello. Kyle and I adore their kids, so we were quickly up out of bed, and out in the hall to give lots of hugs. It was a perfect way to start out our Thanksgiving day.
As soon as the kids were ready for the day, Brandon dropped Corbin off at school, and Rachel took Ellie to a daycare center. Brandon had to do some things for school, but Rachel, Kyle, and I took that time to go into Barcelona. Our first stop off the train took us to Las Ramblas, the most central road that cuts through the main part of the city. Along Las Ramblas there are a variety of shops, vendors, restaurants, and artists, as well as the famous La Boqueria. We made a quick stop in to wander through the stalls, taking in the scent and sight of vibrant produce and fresh seafood.
Next on our agenda, we headed to Catedral de Barcelona, Rachel’s favorite spot in Barcelona. Upon arrival, it was not hard to see why. The beautifully Gothic cathedral was built between the 13th and 15th centuries, taking around 150 years to complete. It is dedicated to Eulalia of Barcelona, a young woman who was viciously killed. According to the traditional telling of the story, she was placed in a barrel with knives stuck into it, and then the barrel was rolled down the street.
The story may be horrifying, but the cathedral is not. It is filled with lovely pieces of art depicting the life and death of Christ, intricately carved choir stalls, and colorful stained glass windows. I especially loved the cloister area that always houses 13 white geese, representing how old Eulalia was when she was martyred. We also took a trip to the top of the cathedral to get a view of Barcelona from above. We were not disappointed with the view.
It was way past lunch at that point, and we were hungry. We still had a Thanksgiving feast to prepare and eat, so we decided to stop at a tapas place. This restaurant’s menu only had appetizer sized portions and prices so you could order a variety of local delights. We were so hungry that I forgot to get pictures of all but my last tapas with bread, deep fried prawn, aioli, and lettuce. Kyle and I also loved the tapas with bread, steak, Roquefort cheese.
After our mid-afternoon snack, we caught the train back to Brandon and Rachel’s apartment. Here is where I take a moment to brag about our hosts. They put together an amazing feast! Turkey is a rarity in Spain, and an expensive one at that, so Rachel found delicious rotisserie chickens instead. And, despite other ingredients also being hard to find, somehow Brandon and Rachel were able to piece together all the usual elements of a Thanksgiving meal, even down to the pumpkin pie. Though we offered, we were told not to lift a finger. We felt so spoiled. We did, however, keep the kids entertained and out of the kitchen. I was the least we could do.
This year’s holiday has to be one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories. It had good food, excellent company, late night football (at Kyle and Brandon’s request), and a very strong reminder of how blessed we are. That is something we had no shortage of during this trip, as in most trips out of the country. We had the money we needed to travel, even though it took us years to save. We had been able to connect with my family history, through visiting the areas where my ancestors had lived. I had been able to stay relatively free from 1st trimester sickness and Kyle’s concussion hadn’t caused any further problems. We got to spend time with friends that we love. And we got to enjoy viewing beautiful vistas, both man made and divinely created. How could we not be grateful for what we had experienced?