Earlier this month I went to the lovely city of Barcelona for a break with a few friends, and here is the account of the second half of it, which is decidedly less bright and sunny than the first! You may want to see days one to five first…
Saturday 7th September
We knew there were supposed to be thunderstorms on this day so were not quite sure what we could get away with doing. We eventually decided to walk towards Montjuïc again to take a look at the Font Màgica (magic fountain), the Palau Nacional and the Estadi Olímpic before the rain set in.
So, we set off walking to Montjuïc again. The weather was looking like it was going to brighten up at one point, but by the time we got there, it was pretty cloudy.
I enjoyed climbing the many steps up to the Palau Nacional and looking at the cascading waters. The Font Màgica apparently puts on a light show at night but as we were there in the day, we obviously didn’t get to see that.
I climbed to the very top where there was yet another great view of the city.
You can see the Sagrada Familia from here also.
Here is the Palau Nacional, which houses the Museu d’Art de Catalunya.
We then wandered over to have a look at the grounds of the Estadi Olímpic, which was used for the 1992 Summer Olympic games (I would have been 8 years old!). It is a very large and impressive space.
Just as we were leaving, the rain started slowly and then got heavier and heavier… you can just see the rain drops splashing into the water in this next photo:
Just as it got torrential, we ducked into a café for a snack until it died down a bit and headed back to the apartment. We weren’t saved though, as it started up again and we got completely soaked. At least the rain was warm so it wasn’t so bad!
Sunday 8th September
I wanted to head into town and buy some souvenirs for friends and family. We lazily got up, and I spent the latter part of the morning and around lunchtime on the terrace in the sunshine to make the most of it after yesterday’s events.
At around 2:30pm, Rob and Tim headed for the beach and Paddy and I headed towards town. We strolled around town at a leisurely pace and I managed to purchase some stamps (sellos) in very broken Spanish at a Tabac for my postcards and a couple of souvenirs.
Afterwards, we just had a bit of a wander and I got to take a photo of this giant lobster on the sea front which I had seen from the taxi on the way from the airport.
We walked alongside this church (I’m afraid I don’t know the name of it) and down a passage, and Paddy spotted a little bar he fancied going in called Tasca El Corral which was serving chorizo, so in we went.
We ordered some chorizo and bread to share, and I ordered an Americano which came in a glass with no handles, so I had to wait ages for it to cool before I could pick it up! The guy in charge of the bar came over with the chorizo and set fire to it whilst stirring it to heat it up, which was pretty awesome.
I also got 2 scoops of ice cream on the way back – one scoop each of banana and chocolate which were both amazingly yummy!
Monday 9th September
We decided to get out of the city and go to visit Montserrat. Up until now, we had not used any form of public transport as we had walked everywhere, but on this day we had to…
we got up relatively early and headed over to the Arc de Triomf metro station to get a train to Plaça d’Espanya. We got a 10 journey ticket from a machine which we were all able to share. Once there, we bought our combined ticket to Montserrat via train and cable car.
We went down to wait for the train and it was very hot and stuffy. The train took around an hour to get there, then we hopped on the cable car up to the mountain which was really fun but scary as I’m not the best with heights!
Here is the view from the top of the cable car ride, looking down:
The views from up there were spectacular.
Once there, we grabbed a coffee and a map and explored a few of the walking routes around the area which provided some good views of the monastery and landscape below.
We even found a kitty cat! This made me very happy.
The weather started to get cloudy and a bit chilly. We came down from a walking trail we were on to look at the monastery buildings after stopping for another drink. Shortly afterwards, we got the cable car down, then hopped on the train back again.
I stupidly hadn’t eaten much all day and was completely worn out, so that evening I stayed in for an early night while the boys went out to dinner.
Tuesday 10th September
Tuesday was relatively lazy. We took a walk through town with the aim of finding somewhere nice for lunch, and on the way we walked past Barcelona Cathedral.
We walked to the market, which has its entrance off La Rambla and I got to marvel at all the wonderful displays of food…
Fantastic fruit displays…
Sea creatures including octopus and all manner of interesting meats…
Wasabi and pesto cheese? Awesome!
Loads of dried fruit and nuts which looked so yummy…
A swordfish head…
Brightly coloured sweets which I really wanted to eat…
Eventually we tore ourselves away from the market, and seeing as we were near, went back to Tasca El Corral again mid afternoon and ordered two types of chorizo.
In the evening, we had dinner at a restaurant and I had the hugest chicken burger.
Afterwards, we went to a bar called Tequila where the bar lady there also served me with huge measures of gin. Got back to the apartment at about 4am… 😉
Wednesday 11th September
It was the National day of Catalonia and there were a few people in the street around Parc de la Ciutadella wearing flags as capes. There was a good atmosphere about the whole thing, but the weather wasn’t the best as it was quite cloudy.
Mid afternoon, Paddy and Rob headed off to scavenge for food and Tim and I went for a wander around town, where we saw lots more people with flags.
There seemed to be quite a lot going on around the Arc de Triomf so I went to investigate, armed with my camera.
Later that afternoon, I got back and I had to pack to go home. The temptation got too much for me and I had a sneaky nap, too. For dinner we went to an Italian restaurant, then came back around 10:30 to go to bed relatively early to get up for the plane home the next morning.
Thursday 12th September
Thursday meant going home. We had arranged a car to come pick us up at 8:30am from the apartment and take us to the airport, where it took two hours to fly back to Gatwick. The ride back on the train to Bournemouth was longer than the flight!
All in all, I had a really good trip. I think ten days was maybe a little too long and seven would have been sufficient, but it did give me a few days just to completely chill out.
I would recommend Barcelona to anyone who is looking for a nice city break and likes to look at interesting architecture.