Here's a thought: if you must age by one year, then a day out taking in Barcelona's beautiful sights is definitely the way to go... Last week I celebrated my thirty-something birthday in great style, and overall we had a great day!
It started at the breakfast table at Hotel Arts, where we were staying for the week-end, with a little card from Little Monsieur (no, my two-year old isn't writing just yet, he does have a great helper however, in the form of Hubby Dearest) and lots of cuddles. We spent the morning visiting the Sagrada Familia, for which we'd ordered tickets online the previous evening to avoid the endless queues... this is the first place I've been to where you get given tickets to queue to buy the tickets for the main thing, surreal! It was well worth it, for the cathedral is unlike any I've ever visited before, every little corner filled with artistic detail.
Soon enough we boarded the tour bus once more, on the way to the hilly neighbourhood of Montjuïc.
Montjuïc is the home of the Palau Nacional, which was built for the 1929 International Exposition and now houses the National Art Museum of Catalonia. Here you'll find hundreds of works by Spanish artists, but really we visited for a whole other reason... Right under the dome of the palace, you'll find an exquisite restaurant, called Oleum. Make sure you schedule a visit when you go to Barcelona!
With some of the best views over Barcelona from the double-height windows, reflected by mirrors on the ceiling, this is an amazing . Hubby Dearest, Little Monsieur and I stopped for a celebratory brunch, during which we enjoyed the starters buffet (Little Monsieur was very taken to their quiche).
I had duck carpaccio with apple ice cream, quite a novel experience for my palate but absolutely delicious! Two hours later, we put Little Monsieur in his pushchair for his nap and took off for a well-needed digestive walk up the hill.
We ended up at the Miró Foundation and, as Little Monsieur was still fast asleep, we decided to go in. Sadly, our mini-tyrant wasn't as generous with us the next day when we tried to go to the Picasso Museum: he screamed murder from the end of the first room until we eventually gave up and left, totally mortified and frustrated... That didn't happen at Miró, where we thoroughly enjoyed the paintings inside and the statues outside, in fact I even had time to goof around and throw some odd poses!
Soon enough it was the end of nap time so we had to sacrifice further cultural enlightening in favour of more toddler-friendly activities, so we went to the Aquarium where Little Monsieur squealed at the (hopefully sound-proof!) fish tanks... We finished our day on the harbour where we shared a crepe.
All spent and tired, we returned to our room where the Hotel Arts staff had left one last little surprise for me: a small meringue cake with a single candle for me to throw one mini celebration before bedtime.
All-in, this was by far one of the most memorable birthdays of the last ten years, and I'll be sure to organise an equally filled day next year!
Find out more:
Palau Nacional: http://www.mnac.cat
Miró Foundation: http://fundaciomiro-bcn.org