Unlike most of our vacations this trip began with Jenn and I starting out at work. In fact for the first time since working at the same company, Jenn and I got to work out of Rosemead together before heading out to our late night departure from LAX heading to our final destination of Barcelona, Spain. Getting to work together also meant that we got to have lunch together. Jenn having worked out of our companies Rosemead office is way more familiar with the area so she took me to my very first experience with Thai food. All in all we really enjoyed the experience, it is not everyday that you get to try new foods and to experience Thai for the first time was a real treat.
Anyone knows that when your looking forward to something work can drag on and on, and this was no exception, however when we finally finished out the day we headed straight down to LAX. Our first stop was at the Marriott in LAX where we dropped off the car and took their shuttle down to the terminal where our flight would be departing. Before heading through security we stopped at the Daily Grill which sounded like a great idea to enjoy some good old burgers and fries before we headed out to Spain, plus who wants to look forward to plane food? After a nice relaxing dinner we headed through security where I of course got stopped and pulled to the side to get patted down (it wouldn't be a vacation without that happening) and then off to our gate.
For the first time in our recent travel history we actually did not have to sit around at the gate for hours waiting for our flight, we ended up getting to our gate with less then an hour until boarding on our British Airways flight connecting in London's Heathrow airport and then concluding in Barcelona, Spain. However even in the short time we waited for our plane there was a middle eastern couple with 4 kids that just absolutely lost it. Three out of their four kids were running up and down the terminal screaming, crying, and causing all sorts of problems. Once we started boarding something happened between them and the ticket agents and the husband and wife just started screaming at the top of their lungs in anger. The whole terminal went dead silent as the two argued back and forth with each other and with the ticketing agents. It was one of the most uncomfortable and awkward things I have ever seen in an airport and one of those things that does get you a bit worried before boarding a 10+ hour flight.
However the flight itself was as smooth as you could ever hope for. For the first time ever on a Europe flight I fell asleep for a good 5+ hours of the flight, and Jenn in typical form was able to manage almost all of the flight asleep. Once we landed in Heathrow we had to switch terminals which is an adventure in its own right, and literally run to our connecting flight to Barcelona. On paper the two hour gap between flights seemed like it would have been plenty of time but with the massive transit time between terminals, the extremely intense security, and long lines we barely made our connecting flight.
What I think I love most about this trip to Barcelona is that it was 100% a spur of the moment kind of trip. One day Jenn was searching online, saw a great deal, a few hours later we booked it, and a few weeks later we are in Barcelona. When we arrived in Barcelona we just walked outside, hitched a taxi, and headed to our hotel for the first three nights at the Gran Hotel La Florida. The taxi ride like so many in Europe was one where we were better off closing our eyes as their rules of the road are a little vague. When we arrived we were given some welcome champagne and we decided to upgrade our room from a mountain view to a city view and boy were we glad we did.The hotel is perched up on Tibidabo a hill that overlooks the entire city. The hotel has some history which is neat as well, it has been around since 1925, it was used as a hospital in the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930's, and actually was abandoned not to long ago. In 2001 they reopened it after remodeling the whole hotel, it is quite a beautiful hotel truly rich with character.
View from Our City View Room at the Gran Hotel La Florida
The Amazing Shower
A very comfy king sized bed
When we got to the room we ordered room service for dinner where Jenn had Penne Rigate with Bolognase sauce and I had roasted chicken with wild rice. It wasn't necessarily a "spanish" start but at that point we had plane food for the last 15 hours so anything that didn't smell like plane food was going to be perfect. After that we called it an evening and began planning for the rest of the trip. To say that is was a perfect start to the trip would be an understatement, we have never in all of our trips had such a smooth start to a vacation, and cannot wait to see what lies ahead for us on this amazing journey.
Room Service at the Gran Hotel La Florida
Penne Rigate with Bologanse Sauce
Grilled Chicken with Wild Rice