Barcelona, Spain on day 16
Barcelona Travel Blog› entry 18 of 57 › view all entries
April 8th, 2010 – by: nonna
Barcelona is a big city, population of over 1.6 million and the capital of the Catalonia region of Spain. It was a city even in Roman times and in the middle ages was part of Aragon as in Katherine of Aragon. The myths say either that it was founded by Hercules or by Hamilcar the Carthaginian. Pretty nice heritage either way.
We didn’t book any organized tours and just planned on walking from the waterfront into the heart of the city up a pedestrian thoroughfare called Las Ramblas. (As I learned yesterday during the Ibiza debacle, ramblas means dry riverbed.
Even though it was cold, we got two day tickets for one of those “hop on hop off” buses to get an overview of Barcelona. I’d heard that the city was famous for its architecture and for one architect in particular, Gaudi. Riding around on the top of a bus seemed like a great way to view a lot of buildings in a hurry even though it was about 40 degrees out. At this point, you have to remember that all three of us are Floridians and not very cold-tolerant. Since it was still early, we got great seats on the open top deck of the bus and a very good view, just as we had planned. In fact the view was so good and the architecture was so stupendous that I refused to get off the bus and give up my “good” seat. I kept thinking “just one more stop” “I’ll just photograph a few more buildings and then I’ll get off and go someplace warm”.
Well, actually they lured me with the promise of lunch and shopping in the gigantic El Corte Ingles department store. Food and shopping always gets me. The huge department store had a restaurant on the top floor with floor-to-ceiling windows giving a view of Barcelona in many directions. It also provided a nice view of us having lunch to a passing seagull who tried to come inside and join us.
If you like department stores, you have to visit El Corte Ingles while you’re in Barcelona. It’s one of the few places where you are not required to bargain over the price of your purchases and the merchandise variety and quality is impressive.
After we’d warmed up, had lunch and bought a few things, we walked to Saint Joseph Market. It’s a covered farmers market that has every kind of vegetable, fruit, candy, meat and fish. It’s a photographers dream. The pictures just hint at what it’s like.
Among its many other charms, Barcelona has excellent chocolate. Cathy had visited Barcelona before and knew of a “Street of Chocolate”. We definitely needed a restorative cup of hot chocolate and found it at La Pallaresa Café. The following is somebody else’s description of Barcelona chocolate::
“The typical Spanish delicacy of ‘churros y chocolate’ is a great treat during the cold winter months.
Someplace I heard that Barcelona has 68 parks and I believe it. There is an amazing amount of greenery and lovely places to stop and take a few photos. The architectural look is unlike anywhere I’ve seen before. Gaudi’s Modernist style borrows from medieval forms and also from nature, primarily the sea. His innovative buildings from the early 20th century have spurred other architects to also try innovation. The result is a creative, vibrant city just begging to be explored.
We explored until about 7:30 pm and then , exhausted after about 11 hours of exploring, we staggered back to the ship. Since we were full of churros and chocolate we skipped dinner.
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