Tuesday 23 June 2015
The train from Monaco to Barcelona had me making a change at Montpellier for an hour and a half. As I passed the time, the station would occasionally blow out a fine mist from the ceiling to cool everyone down as it was reaching a rather chilly 27C.
The south of France certainly has the nice weather. I had a brainwave to grab some nibbles for my second leg of the journey from Montpellier to Barcelona, so I headed out of the station on a scout. Ending up in a Carrefour, I came back to the station with cheese, mint cous cous, prawn crackers and a couple of bottles of white wine. With no utensils, I had to ingeniously use a prawn cracker as a spoon for the cous cous. Where there’s a will there’s a way!
Arriving in Barcelona around 7:30pm, I tried to reserve seats for my next destination in 3 days time. However, I was out of luck as they had run out of queuing tickets 30 minutes before the ticket office was due to close. Slightly deflated, I took an 18 EUR taxi to The Gallery Hotel just to save time rather than learning to navigate the Metro system. I had decided that I would do that tomorrow. In typical fashion, I dumped my bags in the hotel and explored the night life. The hotel was ideally situated at the top of the Rambla so I strolled for a couple of miles before ending up in the Gothic quarter. Beer and Patatas Bravas, I was a happy starfish.
Wednesday 24 June 2015
The sun was already beaming down in the morning as the temperature rose into the high 20’s. Soaking in the lovely sunshine, I wandered over to Barcelona Sants (train station) to try my luck again with reserving tickets for Friday. My fortune was out again as the train station was only selling tickets for that day. I’ve not heard of such an absurd excuse. Giving up, I bought a 10 journey Metro ticket from the machine for around 10 EUR and took the underground to Sagrada Familia station to see, of course, the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia having booked tickets online last night for 18 EUR. The ticket covered a 2pm entry to the Basilica and a 3:15pm entry to go up the Nativity Tower.
I was 30 minutes early for my entry so I treated myself to a strawberry slush as I admired the façade of the Sagrada Familia from the outside.
2pm came and as I entered the Basilica, it was certainly worth the wait. The colours once inside were beautiful as the light shone through the various stained glass windows. First project by architect Franciscode Paula del Villar, the foundation was laid in 1882. It was a year later that Antoni Gaudi designed the temple, who later died in a tram accident in 1926. To this day, the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia is still under construction.
Using nature as inspiration, the columns inside represented trees with branches and the stairs for the climb down from the Nativity Tower looked like a spiralling shell.
After spending around an hour and a half at the Sagrada Familia, I was feeling it was Tapas time! With that said, got the Metro back toward my hotel and settled into an outside eaterie of masQmenos for Patatas Bravas, Cod Croquettes, assortment of fish and octopus. The meal wasn’t complete without a bottle of Salbide Rioja.
Feeling very content, I freshened up and took the Metro down to Barceloneta station to sample from local brews. Going on gut instinct, I stumbled into Cocteleria where I was drinking bottles of Epidor with a strength of 7.2%. The best thing about this long narrow bar besides the drink was the unlimited salty popcorn that magically kept reappearing in front of me as soon as the bowl was low. As I walked home at the end of the evening, I obviously stopped by La Taverna de Barcelona before making it to my bed at around 3:30am…
Thursday 25 June 2015
I was feeling lucky today about successfully booking a train out of Barcelona. I took the Metro to Barcelona Sants and BINGO, I booked half my journey from Barcelona to Narbonne in France. The second leg, I would have to reserve when I got to Narbonne. For such a large and clean station, the level of service and helpfulness doesn’t correspond to the surroundings! Anyway, it was probably the best I could have hoped for as I hopped back onto the Metro to Jaume I, where brunch was Patatas Bravas and a seafood Paella.
Beach time, as I hobbled on the red hot sand. I found a free spot to lay my towel down 2 metres from the sea. It was rammed as the scorching sun had people topping up their tan and swimming in the gorgeous blue sea.
I cashed in my complimentary glass of wine at “The Top” which was the rooftop bar and pool in hotel. Afterwards, following my previous two nights on the beer, I opted to have a quieter and more civilised night. Venturing a few doors down from the hotel, I had a selection of tapas consisting of prawn tempura, fried fish, cheese pie, patatas bravas (of course!), fried calamari and a plate of upsold tomato bread (actually, it was just normal bread that had been threatened with tomato)…
Friday 26 June 2015
I decided to pay the 16 EUR for the buffet breakfast at the hotel this morning as I was going to be travelling for most of the day. It was an ok selection but not really worth that amount of money. I don’t think I made my money back but gave it a good shot!
As I used my 6th journey out of 10 on my Metro ticket to get to Barcelona Sants, I said a sad farewell to Barcelona as I headed out of the country toward Narbonne…