To celebrate my brother in laws birthday a group of us met up at Foxwoods Resort and Casino for some gambling, dinner, and laughs.
In the afternoon we spent our time between the slots, roulette tables, and the bowling alley. I definitely did not win but Greg ended up winning a little more than he came with. In the High Rollers (bowling alley) we got some drinks and food and unfortunately. Whenever we are with a group for drinks or food we end up just splitting the check evenly. Lately, I have noticed an upswing in staff asking if we would like separate checks. That definitely wasn't the case at High Rollers. When others in our party asked for a separate check our server had to double check with her manager if that would be okay.
After drinks, we gambled a bit more and made a dinner reservation at Vue 24 for 8:30 pm. A few minutes before our reservation 5 of us met up at the correct elevator and ventured upstairs. The restaurant has a casual elegance to it and we were welcomed to our table. We all ordered a starter, entree, and dessert but I'll only speak to my meal. My start was the Foie Gras. The sear on the foie gras was perfect, the french toast was a large portion, and the blueberry compote wasn't overly sweet. My entree was the Pacific Halibut. This dish was scrumptious! The fish was cooked perfectly and the charred tomato sauce along with the crab meat was an amazing combination of flavors. For dessert, I chose the bananas foster tart. The dessert was good but I was hoping for a bit more punch of passion fruit flavor.
After dinner, we decided to make the long drive home but others stayed a bit longer to test their luck. All in all, it was a fun outing with friends and family
We were quite taken by the juxtapose sides of Barcelona. On one hand it is a beautiful historic city where you walk next to a wall built in the Roman era and on the other hand you go into a restaurant that is creating some of the most innovative dishes today. Barcelona is a must visit city for anyone who loves history, art, architecture, amazing food, and friendly people.
I'm sad to say that this is my last post about our inspiring week in Barcelona. In the next few days you'll be able to download our free 2019 Barcelona City Guide.
New spots in Boston MA
Traveling in 2019 to:
Road Trip with stops in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida
Bar Harbor, ME
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas Cruise
On Friday evening, we first came across the festivities when we ran into The Laias (Giant figurines) by accident after dinner. We followed along for a little while marveling at the unique giants and the loving attention given to the figurines, the performers wearing and dancing with the figurines, as well as the musicians.
The next morning we ventured to Passeig del Born for Trobada de gegantons infantils. This event was a parade of the Laias as well as figurines and musicians from multiple schools around Barcelona. It was absolutely lovely watching the children's creations as well as the children happily playing music, dancing, and waving to the crowds.
Light, warm, welcoming, special, incredible, artistic, and I could go on and on about the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia. We have been to many cathedrals across the U.S. and Europe and we have never felt so inspired before. We pre-purchased our tickets online and at the entry time found out we had to go around to the back entrance. After going through security (similar to at airports) we picked up our audio guides. Once inside the Basilica did a brief self tour before heading up in the elevator to the Passion Tower. I was expecting a type of terrace once we stepped out of the elevator but the journey down starts immediately. There are close to 400 stairs to walk down but the views and architecture make it enjoyable! Once we were back in the Basilica we continued our tour of this impressive building. We had some extra time later in the week and both agreed a 2nd visit sounded enjoyable so we purchased a couple more tickets online and as my sister says enjoyed the feeling we were being hugged by a rainbow!
When it came time to visit Park Guell we did everything wrong. We had the insane idea to just enjoy the exercise and walk from the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia to Park Guell. This is a 2.1k walk mostly uphill. The weather was 60 degrees which was enjoyable but the sun shone strongly on our backs. Once we arrived at the Park we made our way to the monumental zone thinking we would get in easily at our assigned time. Unfortunately, we found a long and winding line of people with the same assigned time.
During the time in line, I dealt with teenagers behind us almost pushing me out of the way to sit on small boulders along the way. I also had to witness a family from another country allowing their children to try to kick and throw rocks at birds. I'm thankful that my loud gasp, look of horror, and angry face stopped the little boy from throwing his rock and the mother holding her daughter on the other side of her away from the birds. Why do people continue to feel animals are beneath us?
Sadly the nature square is closed right now for repairs and with the crowds, you had to kind of fight for the views. The architecture, Trencadis style art (use of broken tiles meshed together) and natural surroundings were lovely and unique but we didn't end up staying that long.
When looking online at Casa Mila we ended up purchasing tickets to visit during the day and the night. Unfortunately, the night we were supposed to go on a tour Greg had food poisoning. The next morning he was feeling better and able to go on our self-guided tour. We entered Casa Mila and had to go through security but after a large group. The stairs were closed off when we entered so we took the elevator up. Once outside you are met with an architectural playground. Everywhere you look there are unique sculptures, angles, and views and during our visit, it never felt overly crowded. After wandering around for a while we visited the attic. Inside the attic, you will find architecture models and pieces that were used for inspiration.
After the attic, you enter one of the apartments. It was fun to see the time period pieces however it was really hot and crowded so we hurried along. The souvenir shop has a great mix of gifts for yourself, friends, and family!
When booking our trip there weren't any non-stop flights available and Aer Lingus offered the best fare and schedule for our needs. I'm a terribly nervous flier so I always make sure to reserve seats (Aer Lingus was an additional fee for seats). I'm also lactose intolerant so I called customer service to request a special meal.
On the day of our flight we checked in with ease and luckily the security lines weren't too long. Aer Lingus does not participate in the TSA precheck process so keep this in mind when flying with them. At the gate, boarding was swift and easy. Our seats 14 A and C were two seats together on the left side of the plane. The plane is newer, clean, offers wifi, power outlets, and a good variety of in-flight entertainment. The seats themselves were a little on the narrow side and there was a large gap between the seat and the window that wasn't necessary. Unfortunately, the staff either gave my special meal to someone else or didn't get the notice. I'm tempted to believe that it's the first one because I did receive a special meal on the way home.
We landed in Dublin and with only an hour in between flights we made our way to our next gate. I definitely wasn't prepared to walk outside in the cold and rain and upstairs to get onto our plane but that's exactly what we did. A couple of hours later and we were in sunny Barcelona. We made it through customs and immigration easily and found our driver from Suntransfers. We booked premium taxi round trip transfers (luxury sedan) with Suntransfers and I highly recommend them. The price quoted was reasonable, their website is easy to use, the drivers were ready for us, and the cars were nice and clean.
During the middle of our vacation, I changed our pick up time with Suntransfers for our drive to the airport. The change was easy to make and I received confirmation. At 7:30 on the dot our driver arrived and helped us with our luggage. We were dropped off directly in front of the Aer Lingus counter and proceeded to check in. I tried to print our boarding passes at our hotel but failed to do so. We hit a small snag because of this but we received our boarding pass, and check our luggage through to Boston. Once we land in Dublin we'll have to stop at the connections desk and reprint our next boarding pass.
At security, we had a very short line and didn't run into any issues. After security you go through a duty-free shop, then customs and immigration, then another duty-free shop, and finally to our gate. One last bread with Jamon for breakfast before we board our plane. Our flight definitely didn't leave on time but when you have two flights landing and taking back off to Dublin and the same time one plane isn't going to be accurate. Just a couple of hours later and we landed in Dublin. In Dublin we easily found the connections desk and asked for our boarding passes to be reprinted. Next, we went through security and finally U.S. pre-clearance. I love having Global Entry! It's so nice to walk through the shortest line, scan your documents, and be on your way!
At our gate, we had a little time before boarding so we relaxed with a book. This time the plane was boarded from the front to the back so we were in the first economy section to board. We found our seats and settled in for the 7 hours to Boston. During this flight, I did receive my lactose-free meal which consisted of chicken, rice, and roasted tomatoes. It was definitely bland but I appreciated the protein. I have no idea how this happened and it was a first for us but we easily landed in Boston and our bags were the first off the plane! Score! We picked up our car and were on our way home!