A warm breeze and palm trees greeted us when we stepped off the plane in Barcelona. The drive from the airport to our hotel through mountains and a desert-esque climate reminded us of home. Well, except that Barcelona has beaches of course. Speaking of beaches, we couldn’t wait to visit one our first afternoon here. As soon as we dropped our bags at the hotel, we walked 30 minutes to the beach dreaming of that warm sand the entire way. Like fish swimming upstream, we maneuvered through large crowds of fellow beachgoers (tourists and locals alike) in shorts and flip flops, crossed the bridge over the marina, walked around the port, and, finally found the beach we’d been looking for — and it was everything the Travel Channel said it would be. Packed. With. People. Crowds as far as the eye could see. Like nothing we’d seen before. In more ways than one.

we wouldn’t have changed a thing

As we made our way from the boardwalk onto the sand in search of a piece of vacant real estate to claim for ourselves, all seemed familiar. In fact, we even joked that the Spanish beaches looked like the busiest ones in San Diego and Los Angeles had a baby and called it Barcelona. Men were playing volleyball. Children were building sandcastles. And the women? Well, to put it as tastefully as possible (we do have under-age readers, after all), many of them only wore one half of their bathing suit. So, to say the least, even though we’ve been documenting this trip every step of the way with our cameras, some things just don’t need to be photographed at all… much less at 25 megapixels. Thus, there’s only one little photo that proves we actually made it to the beaches of Barcelona (which we made sure was,
PG) and that’s okay with us, because like Amy said, there are some things you just can’t un-see! And while we have to admit it was a slightly uncomfortable scene, we didn’t realize it was about to get worse! Much, much worse. On our way back to the hotel, we walked the wrong way down the boardwalk. The wrong way! We got lost. And that’s when we discovered that topless beaches were only half the story in Barcelona, but we didn’t realize it until it was too late. We’d wandered, like Chili’s baskets of endless tortilla chips, into the bottomless section of sand. And this time, it was not the ladies baring all, if you know what we mean. We’d never wished for a rewind button on our life or an erase button for our minds so bad. It’s (unfortunately) something we’ll never be able to forget!

Aside from that wild blip on the radar, though, everything else about our time in Barcelona was wonderful (and fully clothed). We spent time in the marina watching the boats come in and out, admired the architecture of the Gothic Quarter on an appropriately dark and cloudy afternoon, strolled through an old palace’s grounds that’ve been converted into a park, and walked around the outside of Barcelona’s famous soccer stadium (we didn’t meet Messi). After being in France for three days where we didn’t speak the language, it was nice to be in a place where Jordan’s college Spanish minor and Guatemalan study abroad could be put to good use!

Our favorite part about our experience in Barcelona, though? The fact that it rained through everything you just read in the last paragraph. Actually, it poured. We were fortunate to grab a few photos before buckets fell from the skies, and here and there when it let up, but we spent the entire afternoon touring the city completely soaked. Drenched. The first blast came while we were walking to catch our bus. We took cover under one awning and then jumped from one covering to the next, hugging up against the buildings like Spiderman playing a game of Frogger. The second blast came while we were riding in an open top bus. Jordan tried to cover Amy’s head with his trusty map (see destroyed map photo below), but to no avail. Her curls were ruined, Jordan was soaked to the bone and it very quickly became way too dark and way too wet to attempt any more photos. We found two seats on the inside of the bus, and rode back to the stop near our hotel, hailed a taxi late at night in the pouring rain, and finally made it back to our room. After securing a small umbrella meant for one, we trudged out again in search of dinner. Naturally, that’s exactly when the torrential downpour hit. We were searching for a tiny restaurant on a little side street, and since the rain was coming down so hard we could barely hear each other, let alone see in the dark, we got lost, again. We marched around the streets (in what eventually ended up being a big circle) as our socks sloshed around in the puddles that were once our shoes and made a squish sound with every step.

When we finally found it and walked in, everybody else, dry and warm, turned and stared at the two drowned rats that’d just walked in. Seriously, you guys, we looked like Jack and Rose in the corridor scene of Titanic minus the handcuffs and flickering lights. It wasn’t pretty. The host, in his dry coat, vest, and bow tie, showed us to our white linen cloth table near the largest window in the restaurant, where we could look out onto the street at the storm we’d just escaped from. As we shared a pitcher of fresh Sangria and a traditional Spanish entree (paella), we could’t help but laugh about the day we’d had. It’d been unexpected, that’s for sure, yet like our life, we wouldn’t have changed a thing, because we’d never be able to appreciate being dry, safe, and warm unless, occasionally, we had to fight through a little storm.

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We l-o-v-e traveling! Wanna catch up with our adventures around the world? You can do that here!

International: Ireland • England • France • Spain • Italy • Greece & Turkey • Anniversary Photos: Venice

Domestic: Nashville • Denver • Phoenix • Vancouver • Seattle • Vegas • Atlanta • Santa Barbara • Florida • Virginia • New England/New York • Sedona • San Diego • Nantucket • Boston • San Diego • Virginia • Arizona

For those who’ve asked, we been photographing our trip with the Canon 5D Mark III camera and Canon 50mm 1.2 L-Series lens. In hindsight, a wider lens would’ve been helpful! The European streets are tight, the buildings are tall, and the tourists are plentiful! If you need gear recommendations, you can view what’s in our bag by clicking here.

6 comments
filed in: Personal, Travel

    Christin

    These are just gorgeous! What an awesome experience! I was wondering how you both are in the photos together. Do you use a tripod? Thanks, Christin

    Amy & Jordan

    Hi, Christin! In Ireland, we had a few friends with us, so we just set the camera and let them shoot. For the rest of our trip, we mostly just used our iPhones for photos together. Occasionally, we'd hand off our DSLR to an American or Brit on automatic mode, too. Hope that helps!

    Laura Hernandez

    I don't think you guys could get any cuter! I can't wait to meet you at Connect Retreat. You're going this year right?

    Amy & Jordan

    Hey, Laura! Aw! You're sweet :-) We're still finalizing our plans for next spring but we're hoping to make it!

    I am often not a fan of blogs, but I simply can't stop reading yours! Especially the part about where you landed in my adopted city of Barcelona and got soaked by those horrid summer storms that ruined our beach weather for two months straight! Sorry about that. :) For some reason (given the distance between my finger and my ideal ring sitting forlornly in a jewelry store somewhere...), I am oddly enchanted by wedding photography. I love the stories they tell: part documentary, part love story. I'm also a sucker for a happy ending. Thank you for your excellent blog and for the photography and traveling tips. As a new (food) blogger and very amateur travel photographer, I appreciate the time you've taken to share your knowledge. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Amy & Jordan

    Aw! Melissa! This is SUCH an amazingly sweet comment! We did love Barcelona. We just wish it hadn't rained! It added to our experience, though :-) Congratulations on being a new food blogger! How fun! We hope we can connect with you in person at some point in the future! Best!