I always fancied going back to Barcelona – I first visited with Mr Holiday Addict back in 2008 (before he was officially my Mr). But if I’m honest, I never really had it in my plans for this year. However, when the opportunity to take a break comes along, I’m always up for a cheap flight – destination anywhere.
Barcelona was a good price from a local airport, and considering we’d only recently been discussing what it would be like to revisit past places we’d previously journeyed to as a couple now that we’re a family, it seemed ideal. Plus, I hadn’t made it into the Sagrada Familia on my last visit, and I’ve always wanted to return to put that right. I clicked book!
I discovered that the best thing about revisiting places with a baby is the new perspective you gain. There’s no doubt that our days bounce along to a different rhythm on city breaks now, but it’s no less enjoyable an experience. And where once I let the pattern of family life pass me by in new places, now I learn from what different cultures can teach me – and I’m not shy about copying bits I like and bringing them back home. I think it will help me to become a better parent. But I’m not about to go deep into that right now!
What I do want to do is show you that if you are a (relatively) new parent, or if you think baby travel might be on your horizon one day, revisits are not to be written off. I did indeed venture inside the Sagrada Familia this time round in Barcelona, but I also spent a good half hour playing with my son in the toddler playground that overlooks it. It was one of many playgrounds we visited in the city and I noticed that unlike at home, gated parks for little people were everywhere and were almost always immaculately maintained.
Among other things, I also noticed what a difference a dropped pavement makes when you’re trekking around town with a buggy – Barcelona proved pretty effortless to navigate from that point of view. Baby changing facilities were pretty plentiful in places to eat and as a bonus for mums and dads, it wasn’t wholly inappropriate to have a beer with your lunch in the Barcelona Aquarium – something I am sure would be frowned upon in similar places at home in the UK even if they served it!
But perhaps the clearest indication of how family friendly Barcelona really is came at the end of our trip after checking in for our flight home; a separate security area for those travelling with pushchair age children. It was a revelation. Smiley staff and play pens for the little ones proved nothing short of a godsend – it made all that faffing with belts and bagged liquids a thing of the past.