Spain is one of my favourite countries to visit. The history is so rich and the traditions so varied from region to region that there is always something new to see and experience.
My husband and I are huge sports fans, and soccer is one of our favourite sports to watch. He's a huge fan of the Premier League, always cheering for Manchester United, but there's no denying that Barcelona is one of the best and most well-known football clubs around. Our oldest son is also a sports fan, and plays soccer with his school friends pretty much every day. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a tour of the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona and get an insider's view of the inner workings of one of the most famous stadiums in the world.
At the beginning of May, I spent a few days in Lloret de Mar, a seaside town in the Costa Brava area of Spain. Located about an hour north of Barcelona, the area is a popular tourist destination during the summer months. We were there before the summer rush, but the weather was still warm enough to swim in the hotel pool. It was a bit too chilly for the kids to go into the ocean, but that didn't stop us from hanging out on the beach.
Finding safe gluten free food while on the road can sometimes be a challenge, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Barcelona is a very gluten free friendly city. My husband and I had no trouble finding gluten free options for our son, and we were happy to be able to avoid cooking meals while on vacation.
We found most shopkeepers and restaurant staff to be knowledgeable of gluten free, and we looked for the gluten free certification sign on prepackaged items. "Sin gluten" in Spanish or "Sense gluten" in Catalan means gluten free. Label laws in Europe are quite strict, so if y ou are planning to purchase packaged foods like chips or cookies, gluten must specifically be listed on the package, usually in bold type.
Copasetic Cocktails and Food is a restaurant that turns into a bit of a cocktail bar at night, and has a fantastic allergy-friendly menu. We stopped in for lunch with the kids, and the first thing I noticed was despite the fairly young and hip crowd, the staff was extremely welcoming and accommodating of my two children.
Barcelona is one of the most vibrant cities I've visited, thanks in large part to the adventurous and fun architecture by Antoni Gaudi. My husband and I brought the kids for only a few days last week, as a kind of stopover on our way to a travel conference I attended in Costa Brava. I have visited Barcelona several times in the past, and I never get tired of it. The colours, the energy, the architecture, the food- all of it keeps me going back for more!