Our next stop was Calafell, a beach town south of Barcelona. We decided to break the eight hour trip in two and stopped in Alicante for a night. The weather was poor (a recurring theme) but we took in magnificent views of the city from Santa Bárbara Castle and strolled the old town in the light rain to make the best of it.
Our place in Calafell was an apartment overlooking the Mediterranean that’s nicely situated between Barcelona and Tarragona, two places we really wanted to see on this coast they call Daurada (Golden). The weather didn’t exactly cooperate but we did have a few nice days to enjoy, and we had plenty of opportunity to stroll up and down the extensive boardwalk in Calafell. It turned out to be a very productive work stop for the boys and the week felt more like a rest at home than visiting a foreign town, which was nice at this juncture of the trip. We used the train to visit other cities which gave Mark a break from driving, and we used the car a lot to run errands around Calafell just like we would from home. When it rained the boys did school work.
As for the sights, well, we were able to hit Tarragona, Sitges and Barcelona not just once but twice. We learned a ton about Catalonian history and culture. City walking tours are an easy way to do a crash course in local history and the guides, usually, are very good at what they do. With every anecdote, we’ve been learning that what we call Spain, as strong as it is, is really a loosely held collection of multitudes.
I could go on and on about the beauty and architecture, but the highlight of the week might have been our visit to Sagrada Familia on our last day in Barcelona. The pictures don’t do it justice. Barcelona really is a gem with its surplus of charming streets. We visited the Pablo Picasso museum. We had an unplanned lunch at Pinotxo’s (of Traveling with Rick Steves’ fame), we took a harbour cruise, and we strolled and strolled and strolled.