the journey got delayed by an hour when our plane couldn’t take off because of the early morning fog. but, we got there eventually.
the ticket machines at the Aeroport station wouldn’t take credit cards so we waited behind the the couple buying tickets at the ticket office – only for this old man to jump in front of me as soon as they leave. andof course, the ticket office do not accept credit cards either.
so we got our T10 tickets (valid for 10 journeys on zone 1 of the Metro at E7.20 each) and made our way towards Barcelona Sants station where we can change for the Metro.
first stop was lunch at the Mercat la Boqueria along La Rambla. Really crowded. So we made our way to the sides of the market were the restaurants were and beelined to this place with one available table. hmmm…should have looked at the menus first as this one only serves tapas. we were hungrily looking at the huge servings next door, as our small plates of gambas, calamari and sardines arrived. mentally calculating how much this would cost as we were a bit unprepared with cash, naively expecting that credit cards would be readily accepted anywhere as in most european cities. but the food was good, even if it left us some E50 poorer and still hungry.
you should see the huge legs of jamon and big nets filled with different types of snails at the market. as well as the endless stalls of fruits and really fresh looking vegetables. but we weren’t here to shop (shame).
naturally, next stop was the money changer and the cash machine (there’s one near the la boqueria if you turn left as you exit).
barcelona, at least for us, was marvelling at its architecture. the ornate ironworks in balconies that reminds me of old spanish houses in manila, and of course, celebrating it’s most famous landmarks by Gaudi.
Sagrada Familia. the towers. the snails and the frogs. the building is best seen from the outside. make your way around it, as it changes on every angle. the modernism. the scaffoldings that tells you it still isn’t finished yet, more than 100 years after Gaudi’s death. E10 to get in. another E2.50 to go up the lift and make your ways to the spiral steps to the towers. prepare to wait in line, though. we didn’t go up. and with the spanish people’s aversion to queuing, i just hope there aren’t any locals there.
Casa Batllo. a building meant to be experience and touched. striking and very modern. an irony, considering this building has been standing there for a century. feel the door and window handles – all meant to be ergonomic. the changing colours of the tiled walls and the stained glass. this building will tell you how much of a genius and ahead of his time Gaudi really is.
we had coffee and spanish sweet bread in one of the cafes just off Passeig de Gracia. and then made our way to the hotel – Novotel Cornella. i only realised it was a distance off the city centre only after i booked it.
Cornella is probably about 30-40 mins by Metro from the centre. Quiet, residential area, with apartment blocks looking a bit better than its versions in the centre.
trekked our way back to the centre after checking in to find dinner. Barceloneta is worth seeing if you share our love for seafood. We spent probably most of the couple of hours in the restaurant trying to finish this cauldron-full of arroz con bogavante. creamy rice (if a tad too salty) with huge pieces of 2 lobsters. now, this was a proper spanish meal. i just wish there was 4 of us to finish it.
walked along the marina of barceloneta. street fireworks. the fair. the well-lit museum. the posh looking restaurants around its walls. the cool sea breeze. the yachts and the boats. watching people.
the metro runs continously on this saturday night. it was well past midnight and the trains were still quite crowded. a lot of young people on their night outs. the elderly on their night walks.
the night was restful. if a bit too short. woke up a bit late. took a bath and a shower. and off to have a leisurely breakfast downstairs. small sausages and eggs. naranja jams and bread. pastries and some melons. coffee. view of the pool and the gardens. the spanish sun shining hard.
checked out and made our way back to the centre. still a few hours left before catching the plane home.
we walked the length of La Rambla. crowded. street artists. market stalls just starting to set up their wares at noon.
El Barri Gotic. Rough looking most especially when the shutters are still down. grafitti on the shutters. urine stains on the walls. cobbled streets. old buildings.
and if you find this chocolate shop – cacao sampaka. grab some ice cream. and take home tablets of gourmet chocolates. one of the best.
i do try to avoid restaurants along major tourist areas as they always turn out to be a disappointment. but a bit short of time and already at the Catalunya end of La Rambla, we settled at one of the restaurants there… ven the calamari was unimpressive.
spent a bit of time walking along Placa Catalunya and then it was time to catch the train to Aeroport.
itchy feet did get a scratching. been waiting for a whole week. only for it to end after a night’s sleep. now going back to life suspended. the bus meandering its way around the roundabouts. the weekend rail works and the extra longer journeys back from the airport. hungry and tired.
only if going back is as fun.