The end of August is always weird as a teacher. We had been on holiday for almost two months, and it was time to go back to work! As new teachers at our school, you have to come back for two weeks of teacher training. This year, as I'm not new - I just have to come back for one week. So back to
work we went, and then just before our students came back, my friend from University Alex Allen came to visit. I don't have many friends from Univeristy that I still keep in contact with - so it was so lovely that he was able to come to not only one, but BOTH of our weddings, and then also come to visit us
in Germany. We had a really nice time with him, exploring Frankfurt, and even trying Spaghetti Ice, which is a famous ice cream that looks like Spaghetti and is aparently a really Frankfurt thing! We found a good German beer garden to take him to too - but we needed a castle! Thankfully we had done some reasearch and found out that Konigstein had some good castle ruins! It just so happened to not be far away, and was great weather for it! It was a nice walk up from the station - you go through the downtown district, through a park and up a nice hill to the castle. It really is just ruins now, but it has all the cellars and such that you can walk through, and archways. We climbed up the tower, as that part is still intact, but sadly there were TONS of bugs, which made it a bit unbearable! It was so nice to have someone WANT to visit Frankfurt, and now we found some super German things to do when people visit us!
When you take people to Barcelona, of course they want to have tapas. Well, I didn't know any specific tapas restaurants, so when we did our walking tour we asked the tour guide for a recommendation that wasn't too expensive. Tapas are quite expensive here in Frankfurt, and I did expect them to be cheaper, but our guide suggested something called Pinxos, which are very similar
to tapas, apart from on little pieces of bread pancakes. He suggested Blai street, as he said it was full of all these pinxos restaurants. It was a taxi ride and a walk away ( we were learning that Barcelona was much bigger than just the touristy city center!) But once we arrived, we checked out a few of the restaurants. We found one which had 1 euro places and 1.50 for the beer - called Blai 9. It was pretty tiny, but full of people.
Along the bar were all these really intricate little pinxos - with differnt layers of food - like a quiche, and then a little slice of something, then a tomato, then a little sausage. They had all sorts of different ones! I loved the little caramel crepe one for last! We ended up going back two nights in a row, because we knew it would be good!
One of my favourite, favourite places in the whole world is Park Guell, in the north of Barcelona. I remember if from high school, when we went in my final year, and I was so glad that it lived up to the memories! For starters, Park Guell is really far away, out of town - you have to walk from the metro
station, go up these really steep roads, and then there are finally some escalators on the street. ( Thats something I love - escalators on the street!) And then from there, it's quite a walk! But eventually we made it! I was so sad to find out that they have changed the entrance since the last time I was there - and now you have to buy tickets to enter.
Tickets I was ok with, but they were TIMED tickets, so we had to go spend some time in town and come back. They limit the number of people now into the park - but oh my, it was so much better! I loved walking around, posing with the mosaic and seeing over the city. We didn't really get many photos with the lizard, but it was still so worth it!
It was really hard to meet up with Russ and Sophie after church actually. We rushed over in a taxi from the Sangrada Familia to meet them at the agreed upon supermarket. We couldn't find it when we first arrived, so I asked a nice old lady in Spanish! Me....speaking Spanish? I couldn't beleieve when it
came out of my mouth - but I guess listening to it all these years, some of it I had picked up! Mummy loves Barcelona, and Casa Batlo is where she takes everyone - literally everyone! So she said if we only went to one Gaudi house - that this was the one to go to. The audio tour was free - and so we listened as we walked. We ended up much farther ahead of Russ and Sophie, so we hung out and waited for them on the roof. It is literally one of my favourite places in the world up there. It's not that the view is wonderful
- it's that the actual roof is amazing and mozaiced! Sometimes the roof is busy and full of people - and other times it's not. We were there that we got to see it all - and take some amazing pictures while we had it all to ourselves! It's hard to beleieve that normal people once lived in this house, and it was their home! It just feels so quirky and arty and fun!
After our trip to the beach, we took the subway up to the Sangrada Familia. We had gone with Russ and Sophie the day before - but it had been cloudy outside, so the photos I had taken weren't great. So Josh and I decided to go on another walk there - and went into the park to take some photos where you could see the whole of the cathedral. It is simply an amazing building - and it isn't even expected to be finished for another ten years. It has just been being built for forever! Josh and I had a super quick lunch - him of choirizo and me again having one of my favourite watermelon ice lollies!
We walked for a long while, past the harbour - which has a lovely area! We missed one of our turns, and instead we ended up walking near to a highway in a real business district. Later we would learn there was a much easier way to get to the beach - but it was a super lovely beach! We went down to put our feet in the water and sand too!
On Sunday, Russ and Sophie wanted to go to church, and so off they went. We decided instead, to visit the beach. It turns out the centre of Barcelona is quite walkable, although the rest of it isn't so much so! But on our way to the beach, we passed the lovely harbour!
We kind of hung around our little apartement the first day, getting Pizza for lunch and ice lollies for dessert, before we went out to one of these free walking tours around the Old Town. It was quite long tour, but it took us all over the city, visiting lots
of churches, little walks I never would have taken, alley ways - and along the way, we learnt so much history about Barcelona. It was actually the perfect tour for us, because you could listen about the history and engage if you wanted to. For example, I never really knew that Barcelona had a cathedral - which was super pretty! We walked all around the town, maybe a couple hours or so - and even got some good reccomendations for food in the area - which would turn out to be quite useful! We learnt a little about
Gaudi too - I was pleased to have an introduction to Russ and Sophie because I had plans to drag them to Park Guell and we would of course go to the Sangrada Familia!
England gets harder and harder to leave, and it was tough to leave my family. Daddy took us to the airport, and I was so sad to see him go! We didn't find any good food (again) in Birmingham airport, but I did get lots of chocolate buttons! We kept feeling really sad to be back in Frankfurt, but it wasn't that we were going to be there long - because we let to meet Russ and Sophie in Barcelona. Thankfully, it was super easy to meet them at the airport, and we headed to our cute little Air B and B.
It was really close to Las Ramblas, which at the end has this monument with these great big lions. I always wanted to get up onto the lions in Trafalgar Square, so I was super excited that these were a little smaller and I could make it to climb up on them!
We spent a few days back in Florida, before we went back home to Frankfurt. It was really sad to be back in Frankfurt, but the next afternoon we headed to England, to celebrate my birthday with my parents. The first day, we drove all the way to Wales to do some ziplining. Saturday, the weather was good so we decided to go to Alton Towers. Since their crash, they have had really low attendence - and there were practically no lines! It was really fun and I even got my favourite sugar donuts! I made some funetti cupcakes for my birthday, and we just had a great time playing cards and hanging out with my family!