Since we were checking out this day, we needed to gather all of our belonging and we left our backpacks locked in the luggage storage area of the hostel. This would be known as the day of walking. We set out to Las Ramblas to find something to eat for breakfast — and payed the price. Afterwards we wandered through the gothic part of the city towards the Cathedral of Barcelona. This part of the city reminded me of some of the Italian cities I’ve been to. However at this time of year, there was a large Christmas market going on. Combine that with the usual tourism and the Sunday of a holiday long weekend, it made for a very busy time in the streets near the cathedral. But we managed to get inside despite the fact that a service was underway (it was Sunday morning after-all) and beheld the majesty of the centuries old edifice. We weren’t there too long and then back out into the craziness of the markets. But we managed to slip away and made our way to the walls of the old Roman part of the city.
Pausing frequently to just sit and appreciate our surroundings we made our way towards the waterfront again. This time we emerged by the post office which is much more impressive than most buildings in Canada let alone a post office. At this point it was around 13:00 and we were ahead of schedule as far as what Pablo had guessed. Since our bus back to Madrid didn’t leave until midnight, we had a fair bit of time to kill that day. So we headed towards the Arc de Triomf which is every bit as impressive as the one in Paris, although we still aren’t certain what triumph it is celebrating. The arc is at the end of a very nice boulevard which is like a park and terminates at the other end across from the entrance to Parc de la Ciutadella.
We spent a while strolling through this nice park with some beautiful fountains and nice floral arrangements. Like other places in Barcelona there were a number of palm trees in this park and it seemed a bit odd to see them given how cool the temperature was. Being from Canada where we don’t have any palm trees, they are a representation of warm, tropical climates — but Barcelona is anything but tropical at this time of the year. At this point we were again getting a bit hungry and so we exited the park and headed to the waterfront area by the beach. We found a strip of outdoor restaurants by the water and graced the golden arches with our business. Sated, we walked up to the beach. Nenad was quite excited at this, and it wasn’t long before he and I were foolishly barefoot in the cold, cold sand. Then we were even more foolishly dipping into the Mediterranean Sea. The water was actually warmer than the sand, and warmer than the Bay of Fundy (located between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Canada) is even in August. Once that craziness passed, we put our shoes back on and headed down the beach.
We walked down the beach in an area that looks like it is probably quite busy in the summer. We then cut away from the beach back into the city and walked back towards the core downtown area. We continued on until we returned back to the Plaza Colón at the head of Las Ramblas. We headed back up the busy street and made our way back to the hostel to avail ourselves of their bathroom. Then we headed back up to Plaza Catalunya where we found dinner. At this point, we had exhausted both ourselves and the items to see on our list so we lingered and killed time until we headed back to the hostel to pick up our bags. It was at this point that we headed into the metro for the first time that day and headed back to the Arc de Triomf station which is where the Barcelona Norte bus station is located.
We arrived a little over an hour before our bus was to leave and we tried to find seats on an earlier departure, but being the end of a long weekend, everything was pretty full. So we waited for the midnight bus and before we knew it we were boarding. Unfortunately, sleep doesn’t find me easily on buses (or trains or planes) as a function of my height. My legs are too long to slide forward in my seat and without that my head is too far above the “head rest” to lean back. So I found comfort in my audio book. The only issue we had was the fact we were stuck in rush hour Monday morning traffic coming into Madrid. That and at 8:30 in the morning the metro in that part of the city is crazy busy. But, once we started on the line that takes us out of the center it was much more comfortable. So that is the tale of a trip to Barcelona. I would just like to thank Pablo again for all the work he put into organizing this little excursion. Muchas gracias mi amigo.