In April, I shared ways to support Italy during the lockdown. As the world prepares for a second wave, I want to continue sharing information that can help some of these small businesses survive while also keeping us focused on things we enjoy and love. For me and Tom, that often centers around travel and the memories we created. We don’t buy a lot of souvenirs when we travel, but we do try to make purchases that have meaning to us.
Holiday shopping will likely look a lot different for everyone, so my goal is to share things that I think are unique, could evoke positive memories and feelings, or support artisans that are going to be most affected by what is going on in the world.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for tours or products I love. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
I realized when I was making my second 101 in 1001 list that I am still woefully behind on blogging about certain trips. As we approach November, I am reminded of our Thanksgiving trip to Barcelona and Tuscany last year with my mom and how little I’ve shared about what was particularly beautiful and memorable about Spain. In fact, I think I’ve only shared about our tapas experiences in Barcelona! (What can I say? I really miss the food. I’ve found a few things that come close to being enjoyable at home though – keep reading for more about food.)
Visiting La Sagrada Familia
On our first full day in Barcelona, we booked a guided tour of the La Sagrada Familia. It was truly breathtaking. I can think of a handful of churches that make me stop dead in my tracks (Saint Chappelle in Paris, St. Vitus in Prague), and La Sagrada Familia is on that list. I can’t tell you much about the details of the church, but I was mesmerized by the light and the vibrant colors of the stained glass and how they were reflected throughout the design of the church. It was soft yet haunting, stunning and surreal, and very much what I didn’t expect it to be. You really do have to see it for yourself.
I highly recommend booking a skip the line tour of La Sagrada Familia. We only had a limited amount of time in Barcelona. No guidebook could have prepared us to understand all the details of the Basilica. When we were looking at the outside of the structure, I felt as if I needed 8 sets of eyes to take it all in.
We had quite a bit of time to ourselves inside the Basilica (and could stay inside at the conclusion of the tour). I appreciated this because I wanted to see the light from every angle of the church – from all sides. I don’t recommend booking the back-to-back tours of La Sagrada Familia and the Parc Guell. You will want to take your time at both of Gaudi’s masterpieces.
Fun fact: Despite booking our tours of Parc Guell and La Sagrada Familia a week a part, we had the same knowledgable guide for both! Both make the list of our top things to do in Barcelona.
Shopping for the Perfect Barcelona Souvenir
Given the limited time that we had in Barcelona, I didn’t have a whole lot of time to shop for the perfect Barcelona souvenir.
Truthfully, most of the souvenirs I enjoyed most were of the edible variety. I was very unimpressed by most of the souvenir shops throughout the gothic quarter.
All that said, there are some gems in Barcelona, too. I found a fabulous vintage coat dress at Urbana and I did bring home a few Christmas ornaments from Kathe Wohlfahrt.
My mom shipped a few cases of wine home from Vila Viniteca, which is how we found out that the current administration has made it harder to import wine. (Higher alcohol content required.) The staff at Viniteca was incredible at putting together a variety of Spanish wines that we would not be able to find at home.
So, when this press release showed up from Cornet Barcelona, I knew I had to share it with anyone else looking for the perfect Barcelona souvenirs, especially you enjoy Spanish wine! These wine glasses are mouth-blown, hand-painted and created in the spirit and beauty of La Sagrada Familia. The collection is called Sagrada, which is absolutely an apt name for it. I find both the decanters and stemless wine glasses absolutely stunning.
If you’re looking for a Christmas gift for the wine connoisseur in your life, I highly recommend checking out this glassware. While it is always my preference to shop local when I’m looking for something to bring home, who knows how long it will be until we are able to be in Barcelona again??
Bring Barcelona to Your City
One of the things I’ve enjoyed over the past few months is trying to find ways to recreate travel experiences at home. (I find Elise’s Wanderlust Cooking series absolutely delicious to follow along with.)
If you live in certain parts of Texas, Central Market has a number of imported products from Spain and they offer cooking classes with Catalan and Spanish recipes. (I offer this as a private event for our company Christmas party – highly recommend.) I’ve shared a few things that are easy to pick up and enjoy for a night in Barcelona at home. (The Sagrada wine glasses merely would be a bonus.)
- We tried Central Market’s Spanish olive oil when it was offered for free with purchase. The Central Market Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made from cold-pressed Hojiblanca olives from Spain and it’s now one of our favorites. It has a sharp, smooth flavor.
- These Marcona almonds are flavored with sea salt and olive oil. I didn’t even know they existed until I went to Barcelona. I find them to be more filling than raw almonds, so I eat less of them and enjoy them more.
- Full disclosure: I didn’t enjoy chorizo until I went to Spain. While I’m still on the hunt for the perfect chorizo picante (and fuet) at home, this particular chorizo is as close to what I enjoyed at La Pineda.
- If you’re feeling really ambitious and want to make more than tapas, I highly recommend this beautiful Barcelona cookbook. It features traditional recipes from Catalunya, as well as delicious tapas like marinated olives, pa amb tomaquet, and patatas bravas. (I love bravas the most!) We own every book in this series and I love to experiment with the recipes in them! They make excellent coffee table books, too.
Love love LOVE this! Barcelona was our first ever European city, and we were in awe as we landed for our first trip across the pond! Such a beautiful way to support our beautiful world as we brace for another tough wave <3