I have worked out that it is some 37 years since I have last been to Barcelona. I should state up front that I am a Europhile. I can’t remember how many trips I have made to Europe (40+ maybe) but I always feel comfortable every time I return to Europe.
It is hard to not like Barcelona with it’s combination of history, Architecture (Gaudi), cosmopolitan European feel and great Catalan food. The hotel, Hotel Flor Parks, right on La Rambla, has worked out very well. It is directly opposite the Barcelona Opera, there’s a Metro Station right outside and it is easy walking distance to all the sites. The famous Barcelona Market – Mercat La Bouqueria – is only 100m away, and the streets either side of the hotel lead diretly into the Barrio Gothica with it’s narrow winding streets.
La Rambla by night.
So I just walked wherever the mood took me. The map above shows the path I took right down to the beaches and back up past the zoo and through the gardens.
A square just off La Rambla near the hotel was my starting point then I walked down to the beach. This was the only bit of drizzle during the trip so far, and by lunch it had passed with the temperature back to around 20C.
Barcelona has a lot of beaches on the Mediterranean. The next water I see will be the Atlantic!
I had two lovely Argentinian empanadas for lunch in a square facing the Cathedral. Last night I went to a restaurant recommended by the hotel for some genuine tapas (not the tourist ones on La Rambla) – delicious.
You still see lots of placards outside cafes offering the full English breakfast, but the Spanish seem to have just a pastry and coffee. But across the city, a slice of ham between two pieces of toast is called a “bikini”. Go figure.
This morning I went to the market for a wander. The Spanish certainly love their meat – it must be very hard to be vegetarian here:
They also like their fish:
Did I say they liked their fish.
Visiting Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece – La Sagrada Familla Cathedral this afternoon. Really looking forward to it. But now it’s time for a coffee and a little people watching.