We completely diverted from our slow travel mantra last week as we squeezed in a few big cities and historical highlights in Europe. From Sicily, we were headed to the mainland and, upon Luke’s request, we made a stop in Barcelona. He was learning about La Sagrada Familia in Spanish class when we left home, so it seemed like a great excuse to visit. With no direct flight, we had to lay over in Rome. And with seven hours to kill, why not go and see the Colosseum while we were there?!
So, over the past few days we have seen incredible Roman and Art Nouveau architecture, very different but both awe-inspiring. In Rome, Mitch and Luke took the inside tour (I stayed outside to people watch and save some Euros). We also made wishes at Trevi Fountain and gasped with our heads tilted towards the heavens at the Pantheon. Literally racing back to catch our bus to the airport, we lamented that there wasn’t more time. Rome is a treasure trove of history and sights.
We immediately assimilated into the late night culture of Barcelona with our midnight arrival. Hitting the ground running with only two full days to visit (it’s expensive!) we took an excellent free walking tour that highlighted Gaudi’s work around town. He’s a genius and a madman! The next morning after a family stroll down La Rambla, Mitch and Luke marveled at La Sagrada’s interior on a tour (see the pattern here – Mommy free time, budget friendly!) and we rode bicycles through the parks and along the beach promenade. Our quick visit was capped by the spectacular Font Magica light show, a must see.
During the quick stop, I was reminded how I just adore Barcelona. Although it’s become very touristy, there are still local neighborhoods with charm and the weather always seems to be spectacular. I’m putting it on my list of cities I’d love to live in one day.
Now we are in our 15th country! We made our way to Lyon, France for a solid week of staying put. We’ll rest our legs and live like locals before our itinerary heats up again with family and friends’ visits. In June, we’ll see Mitch’s brother Walker and our niece Julia, my mom, and our dear friends, the Sneeds. Summer is in full swing!