The taxi driver talked up a storm on the ride from the airport to Las Ramblas. He showed us pictures from his home town on his mobile phone and made a short cut taking us by the Olympic Stadium. He also gave us a few pointers about the city. Nice guy. Almost too nice and he apparently gave himself a 10 Euro tip. Welcome to Spain. Wake up!
Again it proved a bit tricky to check in with our Airbnb. We could not get wi-fi at the airport to let her know we were on the way and she wasn't at the apartment when we arrived. We were also meeting a friend of Emma's, Lauriane, who was spending a few day with us. We headed to Starbucks, the designated meeting spot, sent another message to our host and the story ends well as we met up with our super friendly host minutes later. The apartment we rented was in a lively area of Barcelona near Las Ramblas. I would say it was borderline shady but you adjust to the tempo and sounds of the city fairly quickly.
Let us get this out of the way right away. You gotta love the weather! It was near perfect for the five days we were there. On the first morning we headed for the beach with picnic items purchased at the market. After lunch and coffee, Plaza Espanya was next with the Magic fountain and National Art Gallery. Lauriane suggested we should see the Greek theatre at the stunning gardens of Jardins de Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer. This outing was well worth our time.
The next day Lauriane's friend Catherine joined us for a guided walking tour of the Gothic quarter and lunch along the harbour front. We navigated the metro to the Sagrada Familia. The Basilica has been under construction for more that one hundred years. We rebelled against the long line ups and high ticket prices so we did not see the inside of it. After a brief rest at our apartment we ventured back to Plaza Espanya and took in the impressive light show at the Magic Fountain. It was great to meet Catherine and certainly we have to thank Lauriane for her excellent Spanish skills, tips and ideas during our first couple of days in Barcelona. It was Lauriane's last day with us as she was on her way to Bruxelles the following morning.
Park Güell was the destination for day four and we decided to walk there. Park Güell is the work of Antoni Gaudi located in the upper part of Barcelona, which has wonderful views of the city. Emma was getting a cold so we decided to take things easy and took the metro back and had an early night and a home cooked meal.
So... what do we think of of Barcelona. Here are few short points:
- Loved the weather
- You cannot get water with dinner, you have to buy it
- The bread/baguette is better in France
- Great beach
- Great metro system, saved our legs
- Bring your ear plugs. The streets are loud at night and it was hard to sleep on the Friday and Saturday nights
- Nice to have an apartment so we didn't have to eat all meals out
- Watch your stuff. Barcelona is bad for pick pocketing. We had no problems but we were also very careful
- The covered market, La Boqueria, along Las Ramblas is a must see
Stay tuned for a couple more posts from Barcelona. One with street photography and one including a certain soccer team.