Barcelona 2012

Jun 22nd, 2012 | By | Category: Current Topics of Interest, Travel Adventures
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Hello Mom, family, and friends. I flew to Barcelona for the first time this past week all by myself. I mean literally all by myself! I was lucky and had no one sitting in the seat next to me and it was a full flight. What are the chances of that. I was clearly off to a good start!

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Instead of sleeping on the flight I got caught up on all the movies I’ve missed over the past few years and monitored the flights progress toward Barcelona.

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After landing I figured out how to take the local bus to a stop close to my hotel. Although I have to admit that it took a few minutes to figure out which bus to take, the bus driver spoke no English and I speak very very little Spanish and I didn’t know how the system worked. Luckily i monitored the buses progress on my smart iPhone and new when my stop was approaching. A nice couple on the bus informed me, in English, how to get the bus to stop. BTW, there is a red button labeled stop that you push or the bus will go whizzing by your stop!

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I used my iPhone to navigate to my hotel. My very expensive AT&T international data plan was already paying off. I was at the hotel by 10am and they had a room ready for me.

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I decided to walk the city on my first day so that I could begin to get prepared for the camino. My first destination was to walk to the Olympic park that sits on a hill overlooking Barcelona.

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Across the path from the park, toward the Med Sea were structures I couldn’t make out at first but upon closer inspection I realized it was a cemetery. What a great view/location for the dead!

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I finally made it to my top destination which was Castell de Montjuic. It is an old fort overlooking Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea. Terrific views. Here are some pictures:

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After the long hike up the hill I need food and drink. I found a nice spot overlooking the harbor and has my first Spanish meal: pizza! Ya, you heard me. You all know I love pizza and I must try it everywhere I go in the world. I will say this pizza is not going to make my best pizzas in the world list but I did wash it down with my first, of many, sangrias.

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The next day I took on the metro and headed to the Arc de Tromp. I went here first because I needed to find the bus station so that I could by a bus ticket to Andorra.

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I quickly learned how easy it is to navigate around Barcelona using the well developed metro. I had purchased a two day Barcelona card before I left on my trip and it was well worth it.

I next headed to the beach. I really wanted to stick my feet into the Mediterranean for the first time.

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There were lots of people sunbathing and playing in the cool waters of the med. I was tempted to go in but decided against it. I still had a lot to see. So I went off to find a little lunch establishment recommended by my friend Simon. I used my iPhone to find this place tucked back in an alley. It’s a sandwich shop know for its cheap cava. Cava is sparkling wine.

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So I pointed to a sandwich and ordered a glass. The cava was good and only cost 1€. The sandwich on the hand had a tomato sauce that I wasn’t expecting. I managed to still eat it but next time I’ll order something different. Not knowing Spanish has its drawbacks!

While eating and drinking I met a few young Australians. They ordered a bottle of cava and offered me a drink. Of course I did not refuse.

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After finishing the bottle if cava we headed to another small bar and ordered beer. I’m not a beer drinker but I was having fun and what the heck.

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After leaving them I stumbled, well I wasn’t drunk but I could feel the alcohol cruising through me, over tithe gothic section and fell in love with it. Next time I come to Barcelona I will stay in this area. I did a walking tour I found on the Trip Advisor iPhone app.

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I found the Picasso Museum and strolled through it. It was interesting to see how his art changed with age and experiences.

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I finished the walk with a visit to a tapas bar. Each item cost 1.65€ and they count how many stick you have in the end.

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This, of course, was just an appetizer. I next headed to a place my brother Langley and his wife Caroline love to eat at. It’s called: Los Caracoles.

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This place had been here since the 1800’s and the cook on a coal burning stove. I ordered the mixed paella.

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For me last full day in Barcelona I headed to Caroline’s favorite market: Mercat Santa Caterina. Here or some of the sights.

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I had a terrific pasta of the day: penne con salsa de salmon. The sauce was so good I wanted to lick the plate!

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With a full belly I headed to see what all this Gaudi fuss was about. I took the metro to Sangrada de Familia. A huge cathedral Gaudi spent the last half of his life working on.

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It was amazing. It was just magnificent inside. I’m really glad I went. I debated about standing in line but it was worth it.

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I then headed down to a park in search of a mammoth. As a geologist I felt compelled to see it.

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There was also a cool fountain located in the park.

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I finished the day with a sangria at L’ovella Negra (the black sheep) and ordering the meal of the day at this little restaurant in the gothic quarter. It was a lot of food but somehow I managed to eat most of it!

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I really enjoyed my time in Barcelona and I look forward to returning someday. Now I am off to the tiny country of Andorra.

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2 comments
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  1. I must congratulate you for your courage to travel alone. What a beautiful city! Food looks so delicious i almost licked my iPad. At Los Caracoles the bread matches the logo on the napkins. How adorable is that! The church pictures are amazing. How is the weather there? Did you get a chance to swim in Mediterranian? How is it feel to travel alone? Thanks so much for the updates.

  2. Hi.
    So glad to know you are having a great time. Loved all the pic’s.
    Love you Mom

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