Thursday, June 9, 2016

Out and about - Barcelona

Why not Espagne! Sunday morning in Montpellier and a text comes in from my sister who is in Barcelona. It's only a few hours away, why not go and surprise them? By that evening I'm in Figures, in Spain, having tapas in the town square. There are Catalonian flags everywhere. The separatist movement seems to have really strong support.

A rapid train into Barcelona in the morning. Deb and John are doing a cooking class at La Boqueria so I walked from the train station down to La Rambla to see Palau Guell, a house that Gaudi constructed for some rich dude.

And then wandered along the waterfront which was completely redeveloped for the Olympic Games way back in 1992 (and remains impressive - they did a great job reconstructing the beaches) and through part of the old quarter, the Barri Gotic.

Hola sister! We celebrate with champagne in their luxurious waterfront hotel room, then go out, way too early, for tapas and a stroll. They walk me to my hotel just as the streets are starting to come to life - my $50 room up five flights of worn stairs with a tiny window onto a smelly lightwell, a single bed and cracked handbasin with a dripping tap. I had to roll the duvet under me because I was in danger of developing bed sores from the mattress springs.

The thing about early nights is that the day gets going early - yay. Empty streets and a soft morning light. We meet up at the market halls, Mercat de la Boqueria, for breakfast (absolutely not tripe, and not piglet heads or intestine sausage either) and then they go off on their next gourmet adventure while I visit Sagrada Familia.

I didn't get to see many of the sights this time but I walked miles and it was a great orientation to the city. And to tapas. Life will not be the same - those little white anchovies, spanish black olives, tomato toast and tiny fried green peppers.

The train would have been faster, but the 4-hour bus was cheaper so that's how I got back to Montpellier on Tuesday night. Intrepid travellers have to save money where they can.

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