Onsdag means Wednesday in Danish. It might be embarrassing to admit, but I love etymology and quickly discovered that Onsdag comes from the old Norse word for Oden’s Day. As it turns out, our English version – Wednesday – stems from the proto-Germanic word for Woden’s Day (who is Woden you ask? None other than Oden/Odin/Woden. Same bearded mystical wise warrior that he was – apparently carved a wide swath of influence and believers.) Oh you don’t know this guy. You didn’t see Thor? Anthony Hopkins played Thor’s father – Oden? You were too busy ogling Chris Hemsworth as Thor? (Blogging out loud again, must watch myself!) Oh – ok then – brief synopsis – Oden was the chief god in Norse Mythology, revered and reveled by Scandinavian Vikings, and others, back in the day.
As I read more about Oden – I only want to read more about Oden. He was a great warrior, but also a great poet. He sought out wisdom at all costs – to the extent that he gave his eye for a sip from the well of knowledge. He shape shifts to win battles and travels great distances to achieve knowledge and power. He is a leader and a lone wolf at the same time. A conundrum. No wonder they call it Onsdag. Wednesday. It’s in the middle of the week. Have we gained enough knowledge by Wednesday to make it through til Fredag? Do we shape shift our way over the hump? Do we battle it out on Wednesday? Maybe all of the above.
For me Wednesday is a longing – we still have things to do on Wednesday. We have responsibilities. We don’t get a break yet. So from now on, Wednesday is furthermore dedicated to wanderlust. Let’s look outside, maybe even gain a little knowledge, plan travel, cement dreams. Thanks Oden – we could use the inspiration.
For my first installment of Onsdag Wanderlust, I will take you back to our first escapade in Europe – the lovely beauty by the sea… Barcelona. Having to move out of our house in Oregon, but not yet starting jobs or school in Denmark – we decided to take advantage of cheap European airfare and made our first trip to Spain. A cheap, efficient (albeit cozy) three hour flight on Norwegian Airline and off we are in Barcelona. If you have never been – I recommend you put it on your short list immediamato. (That’s a word.) It wasn’t beachy primetime in November – but the somewhat lack of crowds and still lovely weather made it a perfect choice. Here are my top 10 places to explore in Barcelona. My list is bent towards activities that would and did pique the interest of my family of 5 with tweens/teenagers, but offers something for everyone:
BARCA TOP 10:
- La Mercado de la Boqueria – right off the main walking/shopping street Las Ramblas (#2) – the sights and sounds and delicious food at the Boqueria will please every generation. Grab a fresh pressed juice (EVERYONE SELLS THEM), a paper cone with chorizo, some fresh calamari, wander and take it all in. Wonder how one cooks all those parts of the animals purveyed. Or eats, for that matter. Or sit at one of the highly-coveted seats for real tapas, paid by the plate. Guaranteed to stun, delight and wow all.
- Las Ramblas – huge strolling pedestrian boulevard that starts at the Plaça de Catalunya and will take you right down to the water. People watching, shopping, snacks – worth a stroll – we didn’t eat here – very touristy – better options for restaurants in El Barri Gotic (see #8). Lots of street hawkers all selling the same gadget – determine your “no, gracias” shake-off before heading out. We walked all the way to the water and then found the Rambla del Mar, a pedestirian walkway on the water that connects you to Port Vell – with restaurants and shopping and views of the boats passing through.
- Sagrada Familia – you can’t ignore the influence of architect Antoni Gaudì in Barcelona. This is his crowning glory and is still NOT finished, even after his death in 1926. You will never forget the light streaming from the stain-glassed windows pouring out onto the floor here. So much to look at. I recommend booking a tower tour (can be done in advance for specific time slots) to treat those adventurous kids who might not be as much into the art. We went up the Passion Tower and while I can not attest to which tower is better, the views from this side were amazing, even if you are afraid of heights (I was terrified, but it was so worth it!)
- Camp Nou – Home to this little football team known as F.C. Barcelona. Have you heard of them? If you can get tickets (even up in the nose-bleeds) I recommend it. Amazing. Especially being an American – who loves soccer (eek, I said it! Soccer! Ahem…who loves football … and American Football) but has never experienced firsthand the worldwide appreciation for this game. We heard 7 different languages in the three rows surrounding us alone. Everyone singing and cheering and feeling the low rumbly roar that grows into a chant that takes over the whole stadium… “mes-si, Mes-si, MES-SI! MES-SI! MESSI! MESSI!” It helped that Messi broke the Spanish Liga scoring record that night! So fun watching him and Neymar and Suarez and Iniesta. Visça barça! (They speak Catalunyan AND Spanish here in Barcelona.)
- La Barceloneta – beachy fun with a boardwalk and open-air restaurants. There are loungers on the beach for paying customers. Grab a drink or lunch and let the kids find a pick-up football game or just cartwheel and run around the sand. Perfection. There is a enormous climbing tower for the kids to play as well further down the boardwalk.
- Funicular to Tibidabo – an amusement park built into a mountain with views of the entire city? Yes please! Getting there is half the fun. Tibidabo might not be the most up-to-date amusement park in the world and there are no enormous rollercoasters – but we did adore the Muntanya Russa. The view over the city coming down the first drop so cool! Recommend Tibidabo for the experience, great views – bring a picnic lunch – lots of spots to stop. Save money for churros to snack on while waiting for the bus to the funicular to head back down.
- Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor – right next door to Tibidabo – pay the fee to go to the top – the views are incredible!
- El Barri Gotic – the Gothic Barrio – old windy streets with lots of shops and restaurants and street performers and people watching.
- Parc Guell – another Gaudi masterpiece.
- Picasso Museum – great to see evolution of a master, target a free night so no guilt when leaving after your tween-agers’ eyes start to gloss over.
You may have your own favorites and don’t misses – please feel free to share. We didn’t see everything and would love to go back! Where is your wanderlust taking you this Onsdag?