Firstly, apologies for being so behind, and apologies that there are no photos (for the moment). The Wifi here, although free, is problematic (no doubt why it’s free…)
Today we got up at 6.15am (yes, 6.15am. Okay, no we didn’t – we TRIED to get up at 6.15, but didn’t manage to get up until 6.45; still stupidly early in our current life!) We left the campsite before 7.30am for the 120 odd miles to Barcelona. We’d already identified where we were going to park (the Estacion Nord) and put the route into the hands of the SatNav (not always the best idea actually..)
After a pretty uneventful drive we made it to Barcelona. The motorbike riders in this city are kamikaze!! Bit hairy when a big roundabout the Satnav knew all about turned out to have been dug up! Anyway, we made it – and were parked right by the Arc de Triomphe. Also the sun was out (compared to rain back at the campsite 🙂 )
The Arc de Triomphe is quite spectacular, and then there’s an avenue of the wonderful Barcelona lampposts running away from it. Also there are cockatoos living free and singing to each other in the trees! Amazing 🙂
We could not however, find a map of the city centre or, indeed, any information regarding where the main attractions were (and therefore where we should be aiming for). I couldn’t remember where the main attractions were so decided we should head for the metro station that had the most lines going into it! Placa Catalunya. This turned out to be the perfect option – from there we managed to get hold of a free tourist map that helped no end through the day. (Buying tickets on the metro here was absolutely painless).
The first thing we did though was to find somewhere to sit for a drink. Calv decided to try a ‘full English’ – which was disgusting. I started out by asking for cake, 2 different types, there wasn’t any, so I settled for a pain au chocolate (I was given a croissant…). Never mind, eh? At least we now had a map to help us 🙂
We (I – Calv prefers for me to make such decisions..) decided to head first for Casa Batllo, then go to have a look at the Sagrada Familia and finally take a jaunt along Las Ramblas.
I have been to Casa Batllo before, and it was just as amazing as I remembered. It’s fairly expensive to get in (22.50 euros per person) but, to my mind anyway, well worth it. I have popped a couple of pictures on Facebook, but will be adding some on here as soon as I possibly can. If you ever go to Barcelona I believe it is one of the must see sights.
It does however take some finding – even when you have a map. I seem to remember it took a while to find the 1st time I visited!
When in Barcelona remember always to look up !
Next stop, La Sagrada Familia. We had already decided not to go in (I’ve already done it and know how long it takes – the queues were actually probably longer this time).
We got some photos, saw some more cockatoos (this time happily coming down from the trees and feeding on the ground with the pigeons), and stopped for a quick drink in a rather lively bar – the waiters certainly seemed to be enjoying their work.
I wanted to go into the Sagrada’s shop, and on entering a bored security guard barked at me “Open your bag”. I couldn’t help it – I looked at him and said ‘Please?’ He must have understood and I obviously had some affect, as when we were leaving I heard him saying to other ladies “Open your bag – please”!!
Next stop, the indoor market on Las Ramblas. If you enjoy wandering round markets this is a must see – it’s not really our bag, and the smell of fish (you can buy pretty much any foodstuff in here) sent us scurrying for the nearest exit- the worst sight was a little lamb’s head stripped of it’s skin, with it’s tongue poking out. Like I said, not really our thing.
So, we went off in search of the cathedral. We found it, I bought the obligatory shawl to cover my shoulders (only to see later that some people were going in in skimpier tops than mine without covering up..) It’s a very open space and has some lovely features. There’s a lift up to the roof (don’t think it’s original!) and some wonderful views from there (again, pictures to follow).
One thing I didn’t like about the cathedral though (actually two things). The first was that the staff appeared bored and therefore unhelpful. The second was that in place of the normal candles for which you pop your contribution in a box and light, there were lines of electric candles in rows under glass, for which you put your money in to light. I, personally, don’t think this is in the spirit of why some of us light candles when visiting religious sites, and I was very disappointed.
We now wandered round the small streets of the Gothic area before deciding we might need a little help to get back to Las Ramblas! On went GoogleMaps – and a great help it was too 🙂 It meant we were able to find Placa Real (where I spent much time the last time I came here with Lou). We found a lovely little restaurant (again I’m sure I’d been there before) and had some tapas as a starter (a bit of a compromise – we needed a proper meal!)
I’m sure you can imagine time was getting on and we had walked our socks off, so it was a relief to relax and sit for a while, watching the world go by. If we’d had to catch a train we wouldn’t have had the time to do this – so every cloud and all that 🙂
We had no trouble finding the car again – I know! A minor miracle!! We left the car park at about 6.45pm. Again the journey home was fairly uneventful, apart from the satnav trying to take us some dubious ways (Don’t listen to her!!) As we re-crossed the border back into France it started raining – I think it had been raining most of the day. We however had had a wonderful day of sunshine.
Calv doesn’t really like big cities. He now says that he wanted to go, he’s glad he did go but he never wants to go again….! Bless him xx