barcelona brightside

 I originally booked two sidecar motorcycles for myself and my two teenage boys (only two folks to a side car) for a three-hour trip around Barcelona.  Unfortunately (ended up being fortunately), one of the motorcycles broke down so we were given the option of touring around in the vintage open air van.  We had the incredibly bright (holds a master’s degree in archaeology) Alessandro as our guide, Joao, the owner of the company also very bright (and without sounding like too much of a cougar- very easy on the eyes), and Diego our easy-going and excellent driver.  Joao was along to critique Alessandro (so, obviously quality control matters but he has nothing to worry about with Alessandro who is incredibly intelligent and well-spoken).  My two boys were tired (I had dragged them around Barcelona going on an epic 7 mile walking tour returning in time for 30 minutes of down time before our 3 hour car tour) so they weren’t very talkative but Alessandro is young, vibrant and engaging and has no problem talking to teens.

We toured Barcelona and substituted, on the fly, many of the places the fellas and I had already visited with new and “local” venues which we never would have known about had we not gone on this tour.  As our last interaction with the city, this tour provided the basis for jumping off for the next visit to Barcelona.  We had such interesting discussions about The Catalan Culture, The Spanish Civil War, Franco, Gaudi, Taxes and Politics.  In the wake of the Orlando tragedy, I was fascinated to hear about how the US is perceived and perspectives around class, wealth, gun control and politics.  Through travel, you realize how incomplete your own education is and by engaging with foreign cultures some of those gaps are filled.  I am so grateful for the educational, fun and novel tour that Alessandro, Diego and Joao provided- we all learned a great deal.

Barcelona Hospital

The “old” Barcelona Hospital remains and is the facade for a huge hospital encompassing a city block.