15.04.2009 13 °C
I left my place around 6:30am Friday morning even though my flight didn't leave until 10am. I had train instructions from my friends but I would rather be early than sorry so off I went. I had no problems taking the trains (which is getting much easier now) and arrived at STR airport early. After checking in and going through customs, I was bored and tired so I slept off and on until my flight was called. On the plane, I saw a bit of Europe as we flew over the mountains but I basically slept the entire 2 hour flight.
Upon arrival in Barcelona, I went straight to the exit as I was only carrying my backpack and noticed taxis and buses waiting to whisk people away. I decided to take a bus maked "City Bus" instead of the train or a taxi. I read in Lonely Planet (thanks Ro!!) that this is a good way to get to the city center so I hopped on. The bus ride was approx. 30 minutes to Catalunya Square, the city center. I immediately went downstairs to wait in the long tourist information line to book a few tours and see what I could do in this city. I ended up booking a walking tour of moderism for that very day, a tour of camp nou and a day trip to Montserrat. Oh, and of course, a hop on, hop off tour bus ticket.
Next was accomodations but before that I had to take some pictures of the Square. It was very nice despite the cold and rain.
<- my hotel room
Yes, it was cold and rainy the entire weekend. I had read in LP that La Rambla was a very famous street in Barcelona and easy to find. They are right on both accounts. Since there was a festival going on and the hordes of people and crowds were making me antsy, I decided to find a place to stay on La Rambla and get it over with. I tried very hard with no success to find a hostel. Because of all the crowds it was impossible to find those places as they are usually tucked away. Of course the next morning, with no crowds to block my view, I was able to see lots and lots of hostels along the street but my hotel was fine in the end. While walking around La Rambla I seeked out two possible hotels I could stay in and ended up staying in the cheaper of the two. Cheaper but not cheap. It was a 2 star hotel and easy to find at night, breakast was included in the price and the owners seemed really nice so I booked. After dropping off my backpack, I headed out again into the hustle and bustle of Barcelona.
I all of a sudden realized that I was starving so I opted for a sandwich and Fanta (the most popular pop in Europe it seems). Then it was time to take in the sites. Now, as per instructions from Keisha, I had to take enough pictures so that she felt she was living the experience with me. I aimed to please as I walked around in wonder and blew up my camera.
The thing I loved the most about Barcelona was all it's small twisted streets.
This is what intrigued me the most and I found myself wandering many taking in the picture windows with flowers on the wrough iron balconies and pretty stone facades.
I loved it all!
Then I headed off the to meet up my group for my first tour, Barcelona Modernist Walking Tour. This tour focused a lot on the works of Gaudi. If you know me personally, you will know and understand that I am not an art lover. I just don't get it and have no aspirations to expand my appreciation of anything artsy but Gaudi and his architecture totally blew me away.
<- a very earlz Picasso (when he was about 16 yrs old)
The tour lasted 3 hours and during that time I met up with an older couple, Kay and Ed, from Florida. This was their 2nd time in Barcelona in two years and was on the last leg of a 10 day jaunt around the city.
After the tour, we said goodbye and I continued to walk around some more, took more pictures and then realized I was hungry. I wandered more but around 9pm, the preferred dinner time for Spain, I decided to seek out some food.
As per my friend Anita, it is imperative and almost a right of passage, to have paella and sangria before leaving Barcelona so of course I had to do her right.
<- chicken paella and sangria!
Dinner was really delicious but expensive. For calamari, paella and sangria, my bill was 35,00 euro. I chocked it up to being on vacation and went to the hotel. I watched some cnn and then fell into a deep sleep.