I have a lot to catch up on!  This will be a double post because yesterday got away from me; I didn't have the energy to do justice to all that we'd experienced.  I am happy to report that I am now fully rested and refuelled - so grab a drink, get comfortable, get your reading glasses on (mom!), and here we go...

First I need to return to Saturday (Aug 3) night, when we had dinner with Noah and Lindsay.  Jeff coaches Noah and neither of us had met his wife Lindsay before, yet we all hit it off and had a great evening.  Noah had a specific restaurant in mind that he had read about it a guide which happened to be very close to our apartment.  Off we went, but being that restaurants generally don't open until 8 we had to wait about 45 minutes in a little bar next door having a drink.  That wasn't the toughest thing we've ever had to do, and we managed quite well.  ;)

When we went to the restaurant at 8 it was completely empty, and it felt as though we were the old ladies getting the 4 pm early bird special at a steak house.  Well, I can assure you, this food was no early bird special!  We had fantastic wine, excellent food, and great conversation.  The kids were so patient and played nicely while we adults took our time with the food.  The restaurant even made them special little 'children's platters' which was cute and I wish I would've taken a picture.  It was a mini kid-friendly tapas platter in essence, and much appreciated as neither of them wanted a whole fish (head and all), or any of the other things on the menu.

We ended with a stroll to a gelateria and then went back to our apartment for a nightcap and more conversation while the kids went to bed.  Time got a little away from us (as it tends to in Spain where restaurants don't open until 8 pm!) and when we eventually made it to bed we all fell asleep very quickly!

We woke up Sunday morning and caught a train out to Caldes de Malavella - the station closest to the town where my friend Mónica is staying with her sister for the summer.  After a little confusion at the Barcelona train station (they were doing some construction so for awhile it felt like we were walking in a maze!) we eventually made it onto the right train and took the very easy 1 hour ride up the coast.  Mónica's brother-in-law picked us up at the train station and whisked us away to the cute town of Sant Feliu where the rest of the bunch was waiting for us.  Chloë and Julia were excited to spend another day with their friends, and it was fun to see where they are staying for the summer.  Mónica's sister, Maria, had a baby 4 months ago so it was really nice to see her again and meet the new addition to their family - the last time I saw her she was living in Calgary and it's quite the contrast to her new home!

We had a long and leisurely lunch then went to the beach.  (I can see why Maria likes living there!)  The beach was busy and it was the final night of a big festival which had lots of games and rides set up along the beach boardwalk.  The girls were all dying to try the reverse bungie jumping trampoline, and they all had the chance to jump before we had to clean up and get ready to head back to Barcelona.  We caught the 8 pm train, and it was much more crowded than the one we had gone out on.  We hadn't considered the fact that it was a Sunday evening and many people were heading back to the city after the weekend.  When we got on the train we actually had to stand for awhile, and the thought of a one hour train ride while standing was less than desirable.  Thankfully about 10 minutes into the ride we came to a town and a few people got off and we managed to grab their deserted seats.  We had counted on buying some snacks in the little shop in the train station but it was closed, so by the time we got to Barcelona we were starving.  We ended up having a really nice dinner close to our apartment and then all collapsed into bed when we got home.  Lots of fun and sun makes tired people!

We had a great sleep last night and then went for a walk to the beach to hunt for crepes.  Barcelona has been great for having little fruit stands all over the place where you can buy cut up fresh fruit, so to tide us over we bought a cup of coconut (Julia's choice) and a cup with half mango half strawberries (Chloë's choice).  We strolled along the boardwalk breathing in the warm, salty air and trying to lock it into our memory.  Well, Jeff and I were doing that, but the kids were so focused on finding a crepe stand that I don't think they were paying attention to anything else.  We did eventually get those crepes, but all they did was make me want a coffee!  Next destination was a little café where we had fresh squeezed juice and coffee and felt complete.  (It's our last day in Spain, I needed some of their strong brew!)

After a little rest (it's a vacation after all) we walked back to the area that we had dinner the other night so that we could watch the boats and ferries coming in to port while we ate lunch.  The restaurant looked nice, but unfortunately the food did not live up to it's surroundings.  Definitely mediocre - we ate just enough to not be hungry and left slightly disappointed with the experience.  For anyone coming to Barcelona it's called Tapa Tapa and is on the end of the pier of Port Vell.  Blech.  But, if you only want a drink it's a really nice spot to sit!

We've now been sitting at the rooftop pool of our apartment for the last two hours just trying to suck the last bit of Mediterranean sun into our vacation.  After this it's packing up, eating dinner, and a final Spanish sleep.  I always feel a bit torn on the last day; I want to absorb absolutely everything around me, and yet I'm also excited by the thought of sleeping in my own bed.

Adios from the land of tapas, underage smokers, topless bathers and cheap wine… fresh seafood, lively banter, extremely late dinners, and a very relaxed and easy going lifestyle.

Vacations are great, but home is pretty nice too.


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