Thursday, May 19, 2011

Barcelona and Stockholm (Part 5)

One of the things I've learned about traveling with a small child is that the very best location for your hotel is one that is within walking distance of a park, a store, and a kid-friendly restaurant. Our hotel in Barcelona (the Hilton Diagonal Mar) was probably the best-located hotel for a stay with a child of any I've seen. It's not down in the middle of the cool part of the city, but the cool part is just half a dozen Metro stops away. It's blocks from the beach, from numerous playgrounds, and across the street from a fantastic shopping area with tons of restaurants. We enjoyed our last days there so much that it was hard to leave!

It was cooler in Barcelona than we had expected, but that didn't stop Carter from having fun on the beach.



On our last day, we went down to the old part of the city to wander around and enjoy the sights. We went to the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, a beautiful example of Gothic architecture.



You can see that Carter really enjoyed this part of our morning.


It's really a stunning building.


Carter had more fun playing with a toy on the front steps, though. ;-)


And playing in the gravel in the plaza.


And chasing pigeons.


We always said that we expected traveling with a child would help us see the sights from a new perspective. It certainly does that! You start to look for things that you know your kid will enjoy, like construction equipment. We spent ten minutes watching some men maneuver a forklift through the cathedral. Carter was riveted!

We stumbled across a jewelry store with insect-themed jewelry, which Carter also found interesting. Check out this necklace:


We found a toy store along the way and he picked out a little toy machine, and that helped him be quite patient while we did our sightseeing.


We had a fantastic lunch of tapas and then headed back to the hotel with the intention of swimming for the afternoon. Here is the view from our hotel room:


Unfortunately, the pool was really cold. Carter and I both have quite a tolerance for cold water, but it was almost too cold for us! We swam for a while, and when Carter's teeth started chattering, we called it a day.


That night we went back down to the center of the city and went out for tapas. Carter had this yummy frozen yogurt parfait.


He also ate a good portion of the ham you can see here.


And then we headed back to the hotel with more than a little reluctance. We said goodbye to Mimi (who is now in Paris, I believe), and got up early the next morning to head to the airport to catch our flight to Stockholm.


We wandered around a bit when we arrived. The price tags were all pretty shocking -- Stockholm is expensive! We ate pizza for dinner and got a couple of beers each, and the bill was around $80. It was still daylight when we went to sleep -- I've yet to see it dark here.

This morning we went to the Vasa Museum, a museum built around a 17th century warship that was pulled from the bottom of the sea. This was the best picture I could get of Carter there.


He had fun running around, but again, it's hard to predict what he's going to enjoy and what he isn't. I thought he'd love running around in the grass outside the museum.


But what he loved even more was playing on this old propeller.



We took a boat tour, and he liked that as well.



We wandered around the old part of Stockholm for a little while, and then found a place for lunch. And that's been our day, basically!


We're here until next Tuesday morning, when we start making our way back to the US. I'll post again in a few days when we have some more pictures.

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