Hablamos Español

That photo you see at the top of this post isn’t a Spanish beer ad. It isn’t a stock photo. It’s a remarkable combination of expert photography by Erin and a completely candid moment courtesy of my friend Mike Howard. Mike’s a newcomer to the blog, but he’ll be in a bunch of posts from here on, because we went to Europe together this past November. You can read about him on the Friends & Familiar Faces page after you’re done swooning over that photo. Here’s another before we start:


We began our three-country tour at Chicago’s O’Hare. I normally wouldn’t catalog this mundane portion of our adventure, but it’s noteworthy because Mike had been on a plane only once when he was very young, and couldn’t remember flying. As a rookie, he often asked “Is this free?” and inquired about other facts I took for granted. However, once on the aircraft, he fell asleep halfway through Captain America: Civil War like a true veteran.

After our delayed flight to New York and a long trek to Barcelona, we met Erin at her terminal. From there, it was straight to the hotel and a quick walk around the area with no shortage of great pictures, including one that made us miss Dylan very much:

We walked halfway to our first tourist destination before realizing we forgot our tickets at the hotel. Exhausted by this journey, I picked up a Red Bull on the way back because 5-Hour Energy was nowhere to be found in Europe. We retrieved the tickets and walked through the city, enjoying the landmarks, before arriving at La Sagrada Familia, a stunning piece of architecture that began construction in 1882. We explored the outside slowly but surely before taking our tour, which included a climb up into the four towers you’ll see below. This building was downright amazing; the biggest, most glorious church I have ever seen. The slideshow below does not do it justice–take a look.

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From La Sagrada Familia, we headed to a tapas restaurant with a great view and enjoyed a ton of amazing food paired with some authentic sangria. A few drinks and a few bars later, we were ready for bed. Our cab driver was an incredibly nice man who had studied English in Lakeview–as it turns out, only two miles from where I live in Lakeview now. A lengthy cab ride and conversation was an excellent way to end our first evening in Barcelona, so we crashed in our tiny European twin beds and set alarms for a bright and early excursion that I can’t WAIT to write about. Look out for that post coming up, along with a few side adventures back in the states!