School would be letting out for two weeks so planning a little getaway seemed necessary. Unfortunately, traveling with a seven year old can present a whole different set of challenges. Last year we managed to go to the Alps and ski but it didn’t look too promising this year. Together we figured there isn’t much worse than travelling several hours by car into a tiny village in the mountains with few amenities, a seven year old only to be cooped up inside watching the rain pour down out the window. Regardless of the fact we knew we’d have to come up with a plan B it wasn’t so easy to find something we thought would work for everyone, especially in the off season. Florence, while we both wanted to go, just didn’t seem like a great idea. We might like art, but a kid? That’s a lot to ask. If the whether wasn’t nice, we wouldn’t even be able to enjoy their famed gelato.
Barcelona. We’d both been separately but never together and we thought maybe we could pull it off. There’s a good mix of modern architecture by Gaudi, kid friendly museums (a chocolate museum, science centre, aquarium), great food and lots of colour which makes anything feel a bit more lively in winter, still, we were nervous. I got to work on a scavenger hunt around the city for her (pictured here) in case we needed help to fuel our daily adventures. We did lots of looking around at places we’d like to see but one thing we didn’t realize was that we’d be there on time for the festival of Santa Eulalia, one of the patron saints of Barcelona and it’s geared towards children.
We were fortunate enough to stay in the El Born neighbourhood and while we weren’t too excited about the apartment we ended up renting – we were happy with the location. We became regulars at the Alsur Café around the corner from the night of our arrival and it was also where Irène discovered the “mocktail.” From then on, every restaurant/bar/café was judged by whether or not they had any on their menu.
On our last and favourite evening we stumbled on the Picasso museum which had open doors (they also have a festival of lights that is intertwined with Santa Eulalia which runs in the evenings) and lots of colour changing smoke which we had fun playing in before going to a few other sites where there was music, dance, interactive art exhibits and of course lots of fun with light. All so much fun! I’m not sure how we missed hearing about it before our arrival but we were really lucky to get to follow the parade of “Gigantes y Cabezudos” (latin for giants and big heads) complete with bands and canons and to see the Catalan human towers known as Castell which does seem rather quintessential to a trip to Barcelona. Of course I’m sure we’ll have many more adventures as a family in the future so if you have some great travel tips on how you made it fun, I’d love to hear about it!