The AIS fall break is upon us, and with one of my guys chairing meetings all week and the other finalizing college applications, we girls hopped a flight to sunny Barcelona for a short city break. After settling in at the (amazing) apartment we wandered out a little for an introduction to the city.

We are near the famous Sagrada Familia; this is but a teaser of the back of the basilica as the afternoon light would not have made for good photos otherwise. Plans to fully tour the structure are on the agenda for our visit.

 In the meantime, this mosaic in the subway will have to suffice.

Speaking of subways, there is a moving walkway in one of the major transit hubs! (We are easily amused, I guess.)  Barcelona’s subway has the urban grit and liveliness typical of the subways in Paris and NYC; a distinct opposite from the subdued orderliness and glamour of Vienna’s public transportation. (And, the TMB is less expensive than WienerLinien.)

We strolled ever so briefly down part of Passeig de Gracia, one of Barcelona’s grand boulevards and a good landmark for navigation. Buildings in Barcelona are gorgeous.

The boulevard is also home to many of Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces, including Casa Mila, first up on our sightseeing later this morning.

Tapas bars are here, there, and everywhere. We collected a tapas chart from one of the outdoor tables to study on a bit. Having fared well with our selections from conveyor belt sushi bars in Tokyo a few years ago I don’t think tapas will be a problem; we just want to be prepared.

Closer to home, in the botiga (market) downstairs in our apartment building the storekeeper was selling homemade empanadas as the daily special.

Words can not describe the savory, beyond delicious pastry that we devoured last night. Can’t wait to see what today’s specials are!

Barcelona. A pretty place to call home for the next few days.