March 22-24, 2007
Early in the morning we pile into the car and head north from Tarragona north to the Barcelona airport. Why the airport? Well, it seemed the easiest place to return the rental car and head into the city. Ahahahah, how wrong that was. In case you wanted to know, airport construction is going great. Also, don’t take the overpass near the new buildings unless you have a 4WD and can drive around the concrete blocking the perfectly good entrance to the terminals. I now know the business parks next to the airport far better than I should.
After that we took the airport bus into the city and joined the crowds hauling their bags down Rambla to their hotels. Checked in, got settled, and headed to the St Josep market. Though some things were ridiculously expensive (85 Euro per KG cherries anyone?), most offerings were fresh and cheap. Mmmm.. I could go for some agua de sandia right now.
So, it turns out I don’t like pig’s trotters. They aren’t horrible, but there is just something about a meal composed of 90% fat and skin that just doesn’t sit right. Such is the cost of adventurous ordering. After lunch we wandered around the city and checked out outside of Sagrada FamÃlia and toured Casa BatllÃ³. I’m not always a fan of his constant curves, but the innovations in his designs were amazing for their day. In fact, many of the designs I like are quite derivative of his work. The audio tour at is worth it to see the roof, but the audio is laughable – “this is the most grand room you will ever enter”, “GaudÃ was the most brilliant genius of all time”, “this design is the most modern of all time”. God, what a bunch of fat heads.
The next day we wandered over to Sagrada FamÃlia, saw the elevator wait times, and decided to climb up MontjuÃ¯c instead. A train ride later and we were climbing up through the gardens to the castle at the top, as the tram is under renovation. The views of the city and harbor are worth the climb.
From the south end of MontjuÃ¯c we walked east back into the city and rambled through the Gothic quarter for a while. We explored the roof, cloister, and coin operated tomb at Santa EulÃ lia. Eventually running out of change, we spent the rest of the afternoon in Museo Picasso, before catching some tapas. On our way back to the hotel we picked up some late night gelato to go with a bottle of muscetta we still had from Valencia. That’s an excellent nightcap.
Our last day we rushed over to Sagrada FamÃlia to be some of the first in the church and up the lifts. It definitely made a difference, we had plenty of time to see the top without fighting our way through crowds. There is nothing better than leaving just as the giant tour buses start to show up.
After that it was time to say good bye to Anna (she will be in Spain for the next week and a bit exploring on her own), check out, then take the areobus to the airport to head to Rome. Walking through the airport I had to laugh that entire legs of jamon were available in duty-free type stores. Wonder if that’s carry-on? Temping…