Wondering Where to Wander

Although we’ve just returned from a trip, we find ourselves already thinking about the next one. Our suitcases aren’t totally unpacked yet and there are still piles of laundry to do, but instead we’re plotting and planning.

There are three places we’d like to hit before summer strikes: Rome, Barcelona, and Madrid. We’re trying to figure out if we can do it in 10 days without feeling too terribly pressed for time. Ideally we’d spend more time, but I think a week off work is all I’ll be able to manage. If we can work it out to include weekends and a weekday holiday then we might be in business!

Iconic place, iconic actors, iconic film.

Rome

I can’t confess to having any long-held fascination with Rome, but it does figure prominently in Daniel Silva’s spy series featuring Israeli agent Gabriel Allon. Allon’s work involves tracking subjects through cities, and the result is that Silva takes the reader on several different walking tours of Rome. And I’ll confess to falling in love with Roman Holiday–who can resist Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck on the Spanish Steps, at the Trevi Fountain, the Mouth of Truth, and tooling around on that sexy scooter? I know we’re supposed to be all serious about Rome and St. Peter’s and the Vatican, etc. But I’m just as interested in visiting the squares, cafes, and gardens.

Barcelona

Barcelona is another matter altogether. It’s the young, hip, upstart on the museum and cultural scene and every time I look at photos of Gaudi’s architecture, Las Ramblas, and the Miro Museum I imagine myself spending more than a few days, weeks, or months getting to know the city. Add in stunning geography, delicious seafood, and my imagined relaxed Spanish way of life and it seems like the perfect getaway.

Mosaic in Parc Güell, Barcelona

Madrid

I don’t really have a bead on Madrid yet. Yes, Museo del Prado, yes Goya Goya everywhere. But beyond those obvious points I’m still working my way into the details of the city. We might be able to time it for the Fiesta de San Isidro. I’m getting a sense of the parks (Retiro) and markets that contribute to the pulse of the place, but honestly, my research is mostly turning up three things: sangria, pinhos, and shopping. I am down with all three of those, but there must be more!

Where have you been and what do you recommend in these three great cities?

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