Barcelona Zoo (take 2) and the Best Day so Far…

Friday was an absolutely gorgeous day in Barcelona.  I’m sorry to rub it in to all my New England friends who are suffering in subzero temps and lots and lots of snow.  But I think it made it to 60 here on Fri (and Sat).  Wanting to take full advantage of the beautiful weather, Liam and I set out on another exploration.  Today’s goal – the Arc de Triomf (for a little history check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arc_de_Triomf) and the Parc de la Ciutadella (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parc_de_la_Ciutadella) which also happens to abut the zoo we went to earlier in the week.  We essentially walked the entire length of Passeig Sant Joan – which runs north to south in the city and we pick up just a few blocks from our flat.

Liam and I made a pit stop to at least 3 different playground on our way to the Arc.  One of the great things about Sant Joan is the playgrounds that line the walkway in the middle between the north/southbound traffic.  It was a great day with my fabulous little boy who was content to walk with me or to hang in the stroller.

Random church                                                           Statue before Arc de Triomf


Liam eating choc donut                         The Arc de Triomf with mountains in the background

However, Friday night was not so fabulous.  Aidan had yet more meltdowns, triggering more meltdowns on my end.  His screams were so loud that I really thought someone might call the police.  He’s just having some truly miserable moments, misses home terribly and then it projects on to the rest of the family.  Not an easy time.

Josh and I had a long talk about him and about Spain that night as I sat there in tears just feeling totally isolated and frustrated.  Nothing is easy here and I’ve about hit my limit of patience.  And I think Aidan has as well.  Thankfully Aidan and I also had a long talk about other ways to express our frustration beyond screaming at the top of his lungs.  And that most importantly he needs to talk to Josh and I when he’s having a tough time.   I’m tired of being emotionally exhausted all of the time and celebrating the little victories – I just want one day to be simple and I feel like it’s too much to ask most of the time.

Apparently wishes really do come true because on Saturday we had the best day since we have arrived in Barcelona over a month ago.  Believe it or not, I saw at least one, maybe several, smiles on Aidan’s face.  He wanted to stay home and watch tv or play tennis against our back wall but we convinced him to go the zoo.  Yes, I know I just went to the zoo the other day with Liam but Josh and Aidan had not yet been.  And I’m so glad we went because not only did it invoke a much needed smile on Aidan’s face, but more animals were out this time then when Liam and I had gone.

We’ve decided it will be well worth it to become members there so we’re going to do that this week (it takes up to 15 days and like everything else, it is not an instant membership – we have to wait for it to be mailed to us).  We also got to see the dolphin show this time which was amazing to watch.  The kids absolutely loved it!!

I think this camel looks Elvis-like…he even had the snarl.      Boys playing at the one good playground here

After returning home from the zoo, I headed out to El Corte Ingles on a mission for a new pair of boots.  This is the one thing that is consistent in Barcelona – everyone wears these flat boots (I can’t imagine walking these streets all day in heeled ones so I can totally understand why they are the rage).  So of course, I need a pair.  That and I have my Uggs and that’s all that goes with my skinny jeans right now.

So I head to El Corte Ingles – I think I’ve mentioned this store before – it’s 9 stories and incredibly overwhelming.  It’s a bit like Macy’s on a much bigger (and lesser quality) scale.  Since I’ve got time on my hands I head all the way up to work my way down and see what this store has to offer me.  The highlights being the toys and the boots for me.

On the toys – I’d like to say to my Hasbro friends, you must make a killing in other countries.  My thoughts is that it’s cheaper to ship to Europe than the US and yet the cost of the toys is ridiculous.  I looked at a 2 pack of SuperSquad guys – 10€ (so like $13).  Another example – a non-Hasbro toy was the Fisher Price Imaginext Dragon Castle.  I got this for Big Kid for Xmas to the tune of I believe somewhere between $40-50.  However, here in Barcelona, it was 87€…yeah you read it right… that’s oh maybe $110 or so.  Insane!!!  Suffice it to say, I didn’t end up picking up any toys though I wandered the toy section for a while.  Given their 9 floors of general crap, the toy section was not that big nor was the selection and most of the items I could definitely have gotten at home (and for significantly less money).

On to the shoe floor.  It turns out there were 2 – well they were both partial floors.  I was really disappointed by the selection on the first one and was heading downstairs to leave the mall when I realized the next floor also had shoes.  Why they aren’t together???  Because it’s Spain, that’s why.  Now I’m faced with a new dilemma – one that I hadn’t thought of before I left the house.  What size shoe am I in Europe???  I look around desperately for a shoe sizing thing.  None.  I finally find a group of boots that are on the edge of the children’s section but I’m not 100% sure if they are junior size???  Turns out they aren’t since I saw another woman pick up a pair and just try them on.  So I basically did the same – grabbed a pair, put it down by my shoes and said, hmmmm too big… ok, so I’m not a 38…let’s work our way down.  Found a 35…too small.  Ok so either 36 or 37.  Making progress.  Finally figure out that I’m a 36.

I find in another section a really nice pair of brown boots that I ended up purchasing.  Would have liked a pair of black too but now I’ve been in El Corte Ingles for 2 hrs and I’m just done with shopping (yes I was believe it or not).  It was on my way out as I was passing the pocketbook section that I realize that I have a black purse and now brown boots.  Hmmmm… ok, thinking this could be a problem I schmooze the purses.  Nothing screams at me.  And then I realize, this is Barcelona, does it really matter?  I’ve seen some scary fashion statements here and if I mix brown and black am I going to stand out as much as the girl in a polka dotted shirt, striped knee socks, tall boots and daisy duke shorts?  Probably not.

By now I’m on a shoppers high – I found what I wanted and needed and while it took a bit more effort than I would have liked, I now know my shoe size here and can move forward.  I’m thinking since I’m feeling so good about the day, maybe we can try dinner out with the kids.  A lot of restaurants in Placa de Catalunya tend to be open earlier than 8 to cater to the tourists that are not as accustomed to eating so late.  I get home and say to Josh, what do you think about taking the kids out to eat in Placa de Catalunya?  He’s all for it and the kids were actually excited too.

So we headed out to Ciudad Condel where I had gone with Cristy a few weeks ago.  I was familiar with the food, the waiters speak English and I knew we could find things on the menu that the kids would like.  And they really did enjoy it.  They had their first tapas and enjoyed them.  Ok, more so Aidan than Liam but just the same Aidan really enjoyed the pimientos del Padrón (fried green peppers with salt on them), the calcots (the long onions that you dip in romesco sauce) and the mussels.  It’s a really nice restaurant with good quality food and I can see us coming here regularly with the kids in the future.

Aidan eating mussels                                                Liam trying peppers (wasn’t crazy about them)
Josh eating calcots

Because they were so good all day we decided to end the day with a trip back to El Corte Ingles where neither Josh or Aidan had been and took a little tour of the toy section.  After being told no a few too many times to things that at home may cost $10 and would be reasonable but here were 40€, we settled on a pokemon toy for Aidan and a toy story toy for Liam.  It was the perfect end to the perfect day.  You know what, Spain may not end up so bad…

Julie

3 thoughts on “Barcelona Zoo (take 2) and the Best Day so Far…

  1. I know what you mean about the prices, It is the same here between US and Canada. Just an example, a gallon of milk in the US in $3.38, here in Canada, (mind you,, we are in the dairy belt) $6.99, sometimes more. Glad you had a great day!!!!!

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