Surprise Trip to Barcelona : Day 2

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Let me show you today what I did a week ago on my second day of my surprise trip to Barcelona. We had a full day of fun in this vibrant European city and the weather was cold but sunny which was all we could have hoped for!

We had planned to get up early but we were so worn out that we actually overslept. We were on holiday after all so it was nice to get a good rest to start the day with plenty of energy. On the way to Barcelona by bus we noticed an advert of the Auto Retro Classic Car Show in Barcelona, we have a classic car and regularly go to meets so it was a real coincidence that one of the largest shows in Spain was that weekend! I know my boyfriend loves cars so I decided to suggest spending the morning there. 

We headed to the show which was being held in the Fira de Barcelona in Plaza de España. There was a really long queue to get in but we waited patiently and got our tickets to see the classic cars. There were many classic cars and we had a great time, although we've been to the NEC Classic Car Show in Birmingham and that's unbeatable!

I enjoyed taking photos of all the cars and we bought a couple of gifts for my father so it was a morning very well spent. The show was packed with people and there were so many cars on show or for sale that the morning went by really quickly!
It was time to have lunch so we decided to leave the show and look for a place to grab a bite to eat. We saw that there was a large shopping centre opposite which used to be the old bullfighting ring. We headed there and were surprised at how many stores and floors there were! We went to the top floor to take some photos and have lunch but the restaurants at the top were quite pricey and had long queues so we decided to go to the bottom floor to the fast food restaurants. 
We ended up eating at a Mexican restaurant which was really great! It really reminded us of our trip to Mayan Riviera two years ago and the quality of the food was amazing!
After fueling up we decided to go to Montjuic Art Museum, it was a pleasant walk to the top of the mountain but you needn't worry as there are escalators so you won't get too tired. The views from the top are absolutely amazing and we took a load of photos! 

We wanted to go to Fira de Santa Llucia which is a traditional Christmas market so we headed back to the centre of the city. The market is next to the Cathedral and everyone had told us it was worth visiting. Unfortunately it was completely packed! I have never seen so many people crammed together! It was still very interesting and I loved seeing some of the Catalan traditions such as the Caganer, which is a little figurine you place in the Nativity scene at home. But the funny thing is that it's a figure of a man...taking a dump! They've become really famous and you can even get famous people or characters! 

We didn't stay at the market for long, we decided to go into the Cathedral although there were quite a lot of people there too. They had a large nativity scene in the patio and we queued to take a look. It was very Christmassy and I love seeing the whole Cathedral lighted up with hundreds of candles. 

At the entrance of the Cathedral we noticed a lot of children with a strange log with a face and hat. We asked what it was and they told us it's a Catalan tradition. They have these logs at home and they children feed it biscuits (you leave the biscuits before they go to bed and they disappear, hehee) so that on Christmas Day it's full of presents in its belly. The children then hit the log with sticks so that the presents come out! Very strange indeed!
It was dark by then so we thought we could go back to Montjuic to see the fountains light up at night. We had heard it was a lovely light and music show and was worth seeing specially at Christmas as they play carols. There were a lot of people by the fountains but we got a nice spot next to the largest fountain. The display was amazing with lots of lovely colours moving around with the music. It was a lot of fun although by then I was frozen cold!

As it was quite late we headed back to the centre to Paseo de Gracia to have some dinner. We went to a lovely traditional restaurant were you choose "pintxos" which are small snacks typically served in bars in Spain. I loved the idea because you can try lots of different things in small portions so it's lots of fun! There are cold and hot ones to choose from and we had 6 each, it was all yummy!

After dinner we were walking back to the underground but we saw a nice place and decided to go in. It's called El Nacional and it's a newly opened restaurant and pub complex. It's set in an old market which has been redone and it's a fantastic idea: there are separate areas which offer different things: a grill restaurant, fish restaurant, pintxo bar, beer bar, oyster bar, wine bar... They're all decadently decorated and it really felt like going back to the fifties. 

That was the end to our day, it was definitely a day of traditions and going back to the past!

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