Taking the Overnight Train

Barcelona Travel Blog

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Casa Mila

We got a cab from the hotel to Barcelona's Estacio Franca, the main train station (which also serves France, as the name implies).  After arriving, we waited about 45 minutes before our train arrived and we were able to board.

Our private sleeper room in the Elipsos Trenhotel to Paris was certainly small - like a cruise ship cabin, only about 1/10 the size!  The seats were down, but shortly after we went to the bar/snack car for a drink and snack (we had gotten dinner reservations at 11:30), the staff had moved the bunks into place.

THe train was very crowded, with mostly Americans travelling to Paris (or beyond).  We arrived in the dining car at dinner time.  The food was pretty bad - Rob actually sent back the tuna he ordered and switched to the veal steak (which was about the consistency of leather).  Needless to say, we skipped dessert.

We headed back to our "cabin" for a night's rest, which also didn't work out so well.  Either we didn't know how to work it, or the climate control was not working well, and the room quickly turned into a sauna.  We both got very little sleep overnight that night.  However, after rising and washing up in the tiny washbasin, that didn't bother us too much, as at just before 9AM, we pulled into Gare d'Austerlitz in Paris!

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Casa Batlla

We awoke on our last day in Barcelona, and after packing up and dropping our bags at the hotel desk, we found the streets on Monday to be nearly a whole different city than over the weekend we had spent there.  The streets were bustling with people, and the shops that appeared closed for good were all open on Monday.  Apparently Spainards spend a good deal of time off on the weekends.

We headed out for a day of shopping and sight-seeing.  The Passeig de Gracia near our hotel had a good mix of both - we wandered in and out of stores, all of which offered big "rebaixes" (discounts or markdowns in Catalon), as does most of Europe in July.  We walked past Gaudi's Casa Mila (which we had seen before).

Living romm ceiling in Casa Batlla
  Further down Passeig de Gracia was Casa Batlla, another Art Noveau residence designed by Gaudi.  We decided to pay for the tour, which was an incredible experience.  Casa Batlla was a private residence commissioned by a wealthy Barcelonite (?) in the late 19th century.  The home is filled with Gaudi's liquid designs, but is also an architectural inspiration.  It's a "green" home, which recycles water and uses natural light to the maximum benefit.

After the tour, we headed to a nearby restuarant fora  late lunch.  Unfortunately, this didn't turn out to be such a great dining experience - the paella was not so great, and the tapas weren't nearly as delicious as we had in Sitges.

View out the window to Passeig de Gracia from living room at Casa Battla

We continued our walking tour to the museum of modern art in Barcelona.  This museum is just outside the Gothic Quarter, and houses a very large collection of extremely modern art.  The building itself is new, and represents very modern architecture itself.  We then took our second stroll along Las Ramblas, which was busier than the first time (on the weekend).  We stopped to watch some "buskers" (a group of young guys performing acrobatics on the stone-lined streets!)

We ended our tour of Barcelona with a trip to Park Guell, to the north of the city.  Park Guell is a public park designed by Gaudi, which was commissioned by a wealthy Barcelonite (Guell), in an attempt to draw more of the upper class to reside in the area.  It didn't really work; the neighborhood is not really any different than most of Barcelona.  However, the park is an astouding representation of Gaudi's work.  The entrance is flanked by two fantastic buildings which look like gingerbread houses.  There is a plaza overlooking the entrance, and beyond it, the city.  The views of the city are breathtaking!

After our trip to Park Guell, we headed back to the hotel to collect our luggage and head to the train station for our overnight trip to Paris.

Casa Mila
Casa Mila
Casa Batlla
Casa Batlla
Living romm ceiling in Casa Batlla
Living romm ceiling in Casa Batlla
View out the window to Passeig de …
View out the window to Passeig de…
Rooftop of Casa Batlla
Rooftop of Casa Batlla
Attic archways in Casa Batlla
Attic archways in Casa Batlla
Tapas for lunch - meatballs, pates…
Tapas for lunch - meatballs, pate…
Paella
Paella
View from Park Guell
View from Park Guell
Don & Rob in Park Guell
Don & Rob in Park Guell
Gaudi starway at Park Guell
Gaudi starway at Park Guell
Main staircase at entrance to Park…
Main staircase at entrance to Par…
Barcelona Estacio de Franca
Barcelona Estacio de Franca
Don onsleeper bunk in Elipsos Tren…
Don onsleeper bunk in Elipsos Tre…
Beautiful sunset from the bar car …
Beautiful sunset from the bar car…
Barcelona
photo by: fivepointpalm