I booked this trip when I was 7 months pregnant and had just got back from Paris roughly 2 months prior. My coworkers thought I was crazy. Said a 7 month old is at that stage where they’re wanting to crawl and could be snotty, especially in the winter months. They were saying how they’d definitely not want to travel by plane with a baby… Booked it anyways. Figured, we could keep the “what if’s” as excuses to not travel, or we could just book it an hope for the best. I started telling people it would either be the first of many or the only one until she’s 18. It ended up being a breeze. So let me break down how it all went down.
So our flight from Chicago to Barcelona was only $980 roundtrip for all of us. Problem is, we live in Texas, not Chicago. We used our Southwest Credit Card points to get us from San Antonio to Chicago making that trip only $11. Problem with that, the only flight that gave us enough time before our Spain flight, happened to be supppperrr early and at a different airport. Basically we got to Chicago at 8am. We took a couple train rides to get us to the airport across town. I think it cost us like $7 and was easier than getting a cab and setting up a carseat. We got to the O’Hare at like 10 and our flight wasn’t until after 5… The suckiest part about that whole situation, was our airline people weren’t even at the counter, so we couldn’t even enjoy the terminal/gate restaurants. We were subjected to an area downstairs that had a McDonalds and like bookstore. Laney napped for an hour or two in her carseat and we made due. Having a baby on an international flight is so nice. They put you at the front of the coach seats so you have the wall of first class in front of you. Then they have a bassinet that connects. Super cool. Luckily, Laney was able to have a bottle then pass out for the flight.
We got into Portugal around 7 AM went through customs and hopped back on a short flight to Barcelona. We got there at 12. We ended up decided to rent a car considering we had the baby in tow. It was less than $300 for the week. We were at the counter, and the lady offered an Audi as an upgrade for like $40 extra dollars a day… Thank God we didn’t do that. My husband still managed to get one speeding ticket with this generic SUV, we would’ve easily gotten 5 tickets had we would’ve gone with the Audi. We also decided to rent a stroller instead of pack our own. This was a suggestion from a friend who’s been to Europe a few times and then had just taken her kids to Disney. She suggested renting because a European company would for sure know what kind of strollers are best for their cobblestone roads or sometime smaller doorways. The company was actually an awesome company to go through. Super great communication. The company was called Stroll Around ! Honestly the hardest part was finding the pick up location as we were completely unaware of the area. There were roundabouts everywhere and we kept missing the dude. Finally at one roundabout we see a guy with a stroller running across the block. Turns out he was our man. We then went to our AirBnB. Having a 7 month old, I definitely wanted to go this route over a hotel. I wanted Laney to have her own bedroom, I wanted a kitchen, and laundry for any spit ups/blow outs. As we were looking for AirBnBs, we found one with a huge patio that… overlooked the Sagrada Familia. Our house rental for the week was $930… so almost as much as the flight BUT totally worth it for the view. The Sunrise over Sagrada… breathtaking.
Before I go into talking about the next day, let me talk about the first night with Laney. It was ROUGH. She woke up at midnight and was basically hard to put down again. We basically had to go with the flow, and she finally went back down and didn’t wake up until 6-7. Which, at home by 7 months, she was sleeping through the night. So we just figured the jet lag and time change was the reasoning. Luckily that was the only rough night. When I was looking at things to do in Barcelona, I came across this really cheesy ad that of course I snapped to my husband poking fun at Millennials. The title of it was basically “Instagram Worthy Photoshoot Photos”. I laughed, thinking only our generation would need “Instagram” worthy photos…. but the more I looked into it, it was basically a fairly priced photoshoot sesh. UM. First time Mom, with her Pride and Joy Baby abroad!! Why Not!? We show up to the place fairly early maybe 8 or 9. It was an easy walk as just about everything is in Europe. We were supposed to have another family with us, but they bailed so it ended up being a private shoot. Our photographer was super fun. She was from Columbia and as everyone that isn’t Texan, was shocked that my husband and I were 27 and 28 married and with a kid. Laney was still waking up as we started the shoot, so we got a few gems at a couple locations, but luckily at the 3-5th location she passed out for a nap and Sean and I got to take some couple photos as if we still were madly in love with each other! This long nap led Laney to wake up super happy and PERFECT for photos at the last location… the Sagrada Familia. Sooo worth it. I think it cost us $180. I found it through Viator.
After this, we grabbed lunch, hung out at the house for a bit before heading to Tibidabo. About 30 min away from AirBnB Was the Templo del Sagrado Corazon de Jesus. It had FANTASTIC views of the city, with a ferris wheel and a church on top.
You’ll find the views here breathtaking. I do feel like you get to a point where every gothic church is kind of the same. Still will have your jaw to the floor, but nothing worth elaborating on if you’ve seen one before. After this, we put Laney in the car and slowly made our way to Monserrat. It’s about an hour away from here. Which is perfect for a baby who needs to nap. This had beautiful mountain views. It’s a sanctuary and if you time your visit right, there’s apparently a choir that will sing. There were day, half day trips that included train rides, tours, lunch, etc. With a baby and all the other items we had on our checklist to do in Spain, we decided to just head up there park the car and explore. We got there at 4ish and I want to say they kind of shut things down at 5. Anyways beautiful views, there was a candlelit area that just seemed majestic.
By the time we drove home, snagged dinner it was well passed 9pm. Laney slept just fine. Like I said, our house was a dream. She got to sleep while we enjoyed the views of the balcony and a few drinks. The next day we figured we’d tackle Park Guell! It also happened to be Thanksgiving! Once you visit Park Guell, you’ll fall in love with Gaudi’s architectural style. His plans was to make this a housing complex and really was influenced by nature. Anyways, obviously the housing thing was a bust and he sold it to the city who reserved it as a Park. We got there around 11ish, grabbed lunch as our online window wasn’t until about 12ish. The park has such a cool vibe. There’s cool rock features and music all around. Then you get into the no doubt about it colorful Gaudi style.
We were so lucky the weather couldn’t be more perfect for us. We ended up hopping on one of those hop on hop off audio bus tours after this. Here’s where we got to see Casa Mila, Casa Batlló and Casa Lleó i Morera. Some of them we hopped off to see if it was worth going in, but honestly all of them were crazy expensive in our minds for what they had to offer. We decided to either snap photos from the bus or snap from the street. We hopped off at the Gothic Church where we took our professional photos from- The Barcelona Cathedral, it was here where my husband realized he couldn’t find his ticket back on the bus, so we decided to end our on off journey in the Gothic Quarter.
So dinner and a fun night getting drunk on the balcony with my husband wraps up day 3 in Spain. Day 4 we had a bus tour that started with Parc de Montjuic and ended at the much anticipated Sagrada Familia. Let’s be real. Parc de Montjuic was on our list but you have to remember we’re staying right by the Sagrada and it was so hard to pass by it daily knowing we weren’t able to go in yet. So we got on the bus and ventured up to Parc de Montjuic. Laney fell asleep on the bus for about the last 20 minutes and we got compliments on how “brave” we were for bringing a baby on a trip to Spain… brave to bring a baby at the age where all she does is eat, have awake time with stimulation, and sleep… Anyways, this place had awesome views. There was a cool fountain. We were cool to snag our photos then hop back in the bus. There was some history of Olympics trying to be near here.
On to Sagrada Familia. By far, hands down, the highlight of the trip for my husband and me. We had a tour guide, but it was so easy to venture off and just listen while taking in different aspects of the church. There is an insane amount of detail and history to this church. So what we learned was initially another architect was supposed to design this as a gothic church, but he resigned and Gaudi took over. There are different facades to the church and the only one to be constructed under Gaudi was the Nativity Facade. There are 12 towers representing the apostles of Christ. Then 4 towers dedicated to the Evangelists which surround one tower in the center representing Jesus. The church isn’t supposed to be finished until 2026 and should be the tallest in Europe once complete. The ironic fact is Gaudi actually was hit by a tram on his way to the church. You will be awestruck by how different this church is. You really do feel the nature vibe and the insane attention to detail. The amount of color that comes in is beautiful. We easily spent 2 hours in this church. Can’t wait to go back.
At this point, our child had had no longer than 2-3 20 minute naps. We knew we needed a longer nap and were lucky to have a car. So what better way to load her up and drive about an hour and a half out to Tarragona. BEAUTIFUL countryside. There was also one instance where my 1/2 Mexican self had to bust out broken Spanish to make sure we could pay with credit card at a gas station. This was also the drive where my husband was caught going well over the speed limit by some cameras that later billed us with a speeding ticket. So a quick google search on things within 2 hours away from Barcelona, pulled up Tarragona. There are some Roman Ruins there and also a cool little beach. Laney slept the whole way there and we were able to get out and explore. So the Roman Amphitheatre had some cool history. It was built in the 2nd century. At one point some of the building’s stones were used to build a basilica which you can see a cross like structure inside the arena.
We got to Tarragona around 3:30 easily spent an hour and a half around the ruins before enjoying the beach. It was perfect because it was around sunset and I got some beautiful Mediterranean Sea Sunset Photos with Laney.
I know nothing about Aqueducts but apparently my husband studied them in college and even built a model of one. So you can imagine his excitement when he learned Tarragona had an aqueduct of its own called Devil’s Bridge Roman Aqueduct. It’s in a park and we were lucky to see it just as daylight was disappearing from us. Like I said, I don’t quite understand aqueducts. I’d be butchering it up if I even remotely tried to explain their purpose other than maybe to transport water? But my husband got overly excited to make sure we saw this one.
Alright all you Game of Thrones fans. I know we weren’t the only one who binged watched all the seasons. Naturally when researching things to do in Spain, the town of Girona came up where lots of scenes from GoT were filmed. So the next day we loaded Laney up and headed that way. It was about an hour and a half drive and being on vacation time, we basically left when the baby was ready putting us right there at noonish. Another scenic drive and beautiful quaint town.
There were plenty of Game Of Throne tours we could’ve gone on to get the full picture of where exactly we were and where it was in the show, but since we were on baby time, we just took it upon google and us trying to figure it out. You have to remember GoT is like the KING of CGI, so even if you’re at a location, they usually did some CGI to it to appear a certain way. Still a super cute town.
Apparently the cathedral to the right is the one where Jaime Lannister has a showdown with the High Sparrow to try and and prevent the walk of shame of Queen Margaery. I just remember the steps being very unfriendly for stroller! Laney didn’t seem to mind though. When we attempted to find all the GoT spots we could- a lot being like walkways and such that you have to see the picture in the show to really see it, we found this Fortress Wall. We randomly decided what the heck, let’s go up and and walk it! It was kind of cool and had gorgeous views. Of course Laney was rocked to sleep with the walk.
And just like that we were at our last night. We made it back to Barcelona around 7:30ish for a dinner and an early bedtime. Laney handled the plane like a champ. I actually got a photo of the bassinet they gave us for her. All the flight attendants were obsessed with her. We were lucky she was still taking the pacifier to help with her ears popping. I’m bummed Covid has put a damper on us taking her abroad again. Just writing this has me itching to take her on another trip.