Author Topic: A trip to Barcelona with hint of terror - with as2 & co.  (Read 952 times)

Offline as2

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A trip to Barcelona with hint of terror - with as2 & co.
« on: April 23, 2018, 09:16:10 PM »
Disclaimer:
Iím  a rambler. I ramble on and on when Iím talking, itís only worse when Iím typing, so bare with me, or dont. Your decision. : )

It all started one afternoon in November, the 21st to be exact, while at work, I received this alert. Being a long time MS reader, but new to the miles game, I had not a mile to my name, and snagged a couple Y class tickets for myself and DW, for her birthday in August. I was undecided about bringing our son, who was going to be about 1 yo at the time of the trip, and stupidly decided not to book a ticket for him. Thankfully, in the 9 months between booking the trip and actually taking it, I got the Amex BP, and ticket prices once again dropped, and I was able to book him a lap child ticket for ~$90 which triggered my BP credit. I decided this trip would be a surprise for my wife, and was toying with a few different ideas as how to break it to her. After consulting with family and friends, the general consensus was that telling her as we pulled up to the airport, would be of my less intelligent decisions, so that plan was scrapped. I was planning on leaving the job I was holding at the time, and coordinated with them to have my final day be the day before the trip. I told DW that I would be working through the end of the week, when actually tuesday was my last day. Come Tuesday, I checked us in for our flights, printed the boarding passes, framed them, and presented my wife with an early birthday present. Needless to say she was a bit shocked, and it took her a few minutes to realize what was going on, but then, we were off to Barcelona!
Me being me, I had read up a lot on DDF but had made 0 formal plans. No hotels booked, no activities planned, nothing. I new of the Kosher places in BCN, and some of the attractions, but overall, I had no plans other than to relax.(Relax + 1 yo child = not happening, but it was worth a shot) In the many months between booking and departing, I had opened multiple cards, and accrued a few points,(mainly UR)  so my game plan was to book a hotel on the fly.
Wednesday August 16th
We Headed to the SkyClub in ORD, prior to departure, watched the planes, and ate breakfast. We then headed to the gate, and boarded our flight to ATL, the short first leg of our trip.


Upon arrival in ATL, we headed to the the Skyclub in the international terminal, where we ate, showered and hung out a bit before the flight. The amenity kits they gave for the showers were nice, although the pictures I had seemed to have disappeared. The lounge is nice, and seems newly remodeled. Below pictured is the shower (only pics I could find unfortunately)




The flight to BCN was uneventful, and the food was...well the usual in economy, Stogelís famous double wrapped feces.




Once we landed, we gathered our bags, and I cracked open my laptop to book a hotel:) My plan was to use UR at 1.5 cpp, but I was blindsided by the fact that bookings needed to made 24 hours prior to travel. Oh well. I checked Pricelineís express deals section, and found a Hilton that seemed to be in a somewhat central location, and booked it for the night. We took a cab to the hotel, and checked in. Exhausted from our day/night of travel, I decided to skip dinner at Maccabi and eat some of the food we had packed instead. DW wasnít as keen on the idea, until we heard there was a terror attack just in front of the place! I didnít quite grasp the severity of the situation, being that I hadnít really been checking my phone much, but when the GM of the hotel came around accounting for each guest, it became a bit more real. We later heard that those who were fortunate enough to be in the restaurant, as opposed to in the drivers path, were stuck there for hours on end as a manhunt ensued for the suspects. At this point, we realized how lucky (if you will) we were to have stayed in that night. As the night went on, the death tolls came in, and we received calls from those who cared, making sure all was OK. I made the mistake of missing my grandmothers call, a mistake I will never make again! We turned on the local news, as we watched helicopters circling out our hotel room window.
Friday morning, I contacted the local Chabad guy, to ask him if the kosher/jewish establishments on La Rambla were open, to which he replied they were. A mere 12 hours after the attack, we headed to the scene, in hopes of getting a hot kosher meal, as well as some food and basic necessities for shabbos. The area surrounding La Rambla were closed to cars by the police, so we were dropped off a block or two away. As we made our way down La Rambla, we passes memorial after memorial, in honor of the victims.



The scene was surreal. For those who have never been to BCN, La Rambla is the main street, constant foot traffic. People all over were taking pictures, lighting candles, crying, or just going about their business. We slowly made our way down the street to where Maccabi is located, only to be met with a graffiti covered shutter, and a sign that read ďSorry for inconvenience Restaurant Maccabi is not open until SundayĒ.



This threw a bit of a wrench in our shabbos plans, as we were hoping to take some food to go for the meals. We assumed the other stores were closed as well, and decided to walk around a bit in search for a fruit store, and some basics we knew were kosher, thanks to the Chabad website. As we walked, we passed La Catedral de Barcelona, a magnificent building.



There were some creatively designed letters forming the word ďBarcelonaĒ or something like that, outside the Church, yet it seemed to look like a jungle gym to the kids in the area. I managed to take a quick shot in the split second it wasnít being climbed on.


We walked the neighborhood a bit, and managed to find a small grocery store where we were able to purchase some fruits, veggies, cereal, drinks, and jelly. We had brought CY milk along, as well as bread, snacks, and some shelf stable meals just in case, which proved to be a good move. We took a cab back to the Hilton, packed up, and headed to the hotel I had booked the night before.
After some research, I had decided on the W Barcelona, but at the time, she was way outta my league. I had searched through a bunch of hotels, and decided on the Renaissance Barcelona Fira.


I booked 5 nights at ~12k UR/night, not the greatest redemption in history, but I couldíve done worse. This hotel is a bit removed from the happening areas, but is just a train ride away. Being a gold member, I went to the designated counter and started the check in process. We had arrived a bit early, so we waited around for a while while our room was prepared. This gave us the opportunity to look around a bit, and we were more than happy to. The spacious lobby had plenty of place to sit, and the area in front of the hotel was great for my son to run around. We were notified that our room was ready, so we headed up and checked it out.
The room was not overly spacious, but we were more than happy with it considering the tiny room we had at the Hilton. There was a king bed situated between two glass walls, with a bathtub on one side, and a couch and table on the other. Curtains surrounded the bed, closing it off from the rest of the room.











We turned the lounging area into the babyís room, for lack of better option, which worked out just fine. The unique palm tree designs on the side of the hotel, are actually windows in that shape, which added a cool touch to the room. The vanity, adjacent to the tub, was all white, in line with the design of the room. The toilet was tucked away in its own little area.



The hotel had a unique design, where your room door opens to the ďhallĒ which is completely outdoors. There were rooms on either side, but the way the building is built, itís more like 2 towers connected by walkways. If it rains, theoretically you would open your hotel room door and walk out into the rain. They had some cool glass panels that slide up in case of inclement weather.
Below is what it looks like standing in the doorway of the room as well as a view if the split sides from the front of the building.





I found this to be quite interesting, and unlike anything Iíd seen before.
We still had some time until shabbos, so we decided to check out the rooftop pool, something that had caught my eye when looking at this hotel. It did not disappoint.



We decided the pool was a must do, and would return after shabbos. We chilled out and took in the scenery for a bit, before heading back to the room and getting ready for shabbos.



Friday night we had Meal Mart shelf stable chulent, tradition soup, and some bread we had brought from home. We heated the meals in our sink, using the electric kettle to fill the sink, and placed the food in it just before shabbos. Shabbos morning, we had cereal and milk, avocado toast (minus the toaster) PB&J, and some fruit. We walked the walkways a bit, and enjoyed the weather, and before we knew it shabbos was over.
Sunday morning, we walked to the train stop a short walk from the hotel. We bought a pass, and with the help of google maps, we caught our train. There is one transfer to get to La Rambla, and itís stop was interestingly named.



We caught the next train and made it to our stop in no time. The train stop lets you out directly below La Rambla, so itís just an elevator ride up into the daily bustle. We had strolled La Rambla a bit on Friday, after finding Maccabi closed, so we decided to spend a bit more time there today. La Rambla takes you straight down to the waterfront, so we made our way in that direction. Along the way, you see all sorts of peddlers, peddling their wares, as well as many restaurants of different sorts. There were numerous street performers, trying to make a buck, and some were worth a watch.








We walked up the and down the waterfront, taking in the sights. There is an aquarium, a mall, as well as many different activities.



There were plenty of nice places to sit and relax along the waterfront, so we sat down and watched the boats for a bit while enjoying the breeze.
This seagull was contemplating life at the edge of the pier.



A bit of ways up the pier, we came to the mall. We weren't interested in shopping, but the main entrance had a cool mirrored overhang. (extra points if you see us)



We decided to walk towards the Zoo, and possibly checking it out, but it was too much for one day, so we decided to head back to La Rambla and get lunch/dinner at Maccabi.This time it was actually open!



Maccabi didnít disappoint. Itís a solid place, although we hadnít had a hot meal since we left, so our opinions may have been a bit skewed:) There were plenty of dishes to choose from, and the price wasnít too bad either.





   
We headed back to the train, and were happy to see our hotel, after a long, hot, walking filled day, and settled down for the night.
I donít remember exactly what happened, in chronological order, so Iíll sum up the next few days in a big jumble.
We spent all of our time walking La Rambla and the waterfront. At the very end of the street that runs along the waterfront, is the Barcelona Zoo. I purchased 2 tickets online for about $38 and my son was free (under 2yo). The zoo is nice, and there is plenty to see there. Itís not the largest, but it will definitely eat a few hours if you take your time. If you hold a valid drivers license, you can rent a golf cart, wich we gladly did after walking many miles. There are several sizes of golf carts, ranging from 2 seaters to 6 seaters, and they are priced accordingly. We opted for the 2 seater, and held the little guy on our lap occasionally stopping to get a closer look at the animals. A one hour rental set us back about $19 which was well worth it IMO.
There is a open park area outside the zoo, a great place to kick back for a bit, which we did.
Along the waterfront there are people selling items, and we stopped to pick up some sunglasses which we desperately needed.
A strip of the walkway along the waterfront



Just before the zoo, there was a long walkway if you can call it that, with lots of grass and palm trees. Beautiful green birds flew between them, making for a relaxing stop. At the very end of the walk stands the famous Arc de Triomf.



We visited Maccabi numerous times, and made our way through the parts of the menu we found most appealing. Sorry, weíre not the adventurous type:)
Pictured below are the dishes I could actually find pictures of (still not sure where the rest went)
Our drinks, kebab skewers, chicken schnitzel, the hamburger with chips, entrecote, and the humus with tahina.












Wednesday morning, we packed up and made our way to the airport. Thankfully we had left extra time, as there were security checkpoints set up on the road in to the airport, due to the the attack the week prior. We boarded our flight home, and with memories to last a lifetime we were back to real life.

Online ChaimMoskowitz

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Re: A trip to Barcelona with hint of terror - with as2 & co.
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2018, 09:38:17 PM »
Nice TR!!!
Center top, did I win?
I just found a new supply of forks!

Offline TimT

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Re: A trip to Barcelona with hint of terror - with as2 & co.
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2018, 09:40:08 PM »
Thanks for the ramble. Glad you were all ok. Thatís pretty scary

Offline Yaalili

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Re: A trip to Barcelona with hint of terror - with as2 & co.
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2018, 09:47:04 PM »
Great report and pictures! Brought back nice memories of my trip there 6 months ago.

Offline mmgfarb

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Re: A trip to Barcelona with hint of terror - with as2 & co.
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2018, 10:00:58 PM »
Nice TR!!!
Center top, did I win?
+1 Nice TR!
The real question is how much the points are worth  ;)
"JS [is] a fetid cesspool of unvarnished linguistic manure, with lots of useless drivel and post-padding." -Moishebatchy

Offline as2

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Re: A trip to Barcelona with hint of terror - with as2 & co.
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2018, 10:23:21 PM »
Nice TR!!!
Center top, did I win?
Chicken dinner for you my man, go refreeze that crow


Thanks for the ramble. Glad you were all ok. Thatís pretty scary
BH. A tad too close for comfort.


Great report and pictures! Brought back nice memories of my trip there 6 months ago.
Thank you! That's what TRs are all about :D


+1 Nice TR!
The real question is how much the points are worth  ;)
The $0.09 question! Or was it 1.7? .3?

Online ChaimMoskowitz

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Re: A trip to Barcelona with hint of terror - with as2 & co.
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2018, 10:25:07 PM »
Chicken dinner for you my man, go refreeze that crow
I was hoping for chili.  >:(
I just found a new supply of forks!

Offline as2

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Re: A trip to Barcelona with hint of terror - with as2 & co.
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2018, 10:26:18 PM »
I was hoping for chili.  >:(
Kitchen closes at 10...

Offline mmgfarb

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Re: A trip to Barcelona with hint of terror - with as2 & co.
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2018, 10:28:45 PM »
Chicken dinner for you my man, go refreeze that crow
Hey, I found you too, I'll settle for some pastrami  :)
The $0.09 question! Or was it 1.7? .3?
Lol
"JS [is] a fetid cesspool of unvarnished linguistic manure, with lots of useless drivel and post-padding." -Moishebatchy

Offline as2

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Re: A trip to Barcelona with hint of terror - with as2 & co.
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2018, 10:40:05 PM »
Hey, I found you too, I'll settle for some pastrami
Cleveland is as far as I go, meet me there or forfeit it. :P 

Offline mmgfarb

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Re: A trip to Barcelona with hint of terror - with as2 & co.
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2018, 10:55:23 PM »
Cleveland is as far as I go, meet me there or forfeit it. :P
You tempt me...
"JS [is] a fetid cesspool of unvarnished linguistic manure, with lots of useless drivel and post-padding." -Moishebatchy

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Re: A trip to Barcelona with hint of terror - with as2 & co.
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2018, 11:06:36 PM »
Cleveland is as far as I go, meet me there or forfeit it. :P
No prize for second!
I just found a new supply of forks!

Online davidrotts63

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Re: A trip to Barcelona with hint of terror - with as2 & co.
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2018, 11:06:48 PM »
Great job.
I can only imagine what it would of been like had you led your wife blindly to the airport, and then start this surprise "trip" with a freaky terror attack.
First TR?
I'll tell you later

Offline as2

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Re: A trip to Barcelona with hint of terror - with as2 & co.
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2018, 11:32:48 PM »

Offline as2

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Re: A trip to Barcelona with hint of terror - with as2 & co.
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2018, 11:34:10 PM »


Great job.
I can only imagine what it would of been like had you led your wife blindly to the airport, and then start this surprise "trip" with a freaky terror attack.
First TR?

Yea, in hindsight a few things wouldn't have worked with that plan, but I did have most of it planned out. Worked just fine the way I did it. Yes, first TR. Was sitting in front of my computer last night, and decided to throw it together.