If you’ve been following the blog, you’re probably asking “Hey, what happened to Pamplona?” Well, that one is going to take a long time to write and we’re kinda lazy, so here’s a quick post about our two days in Barcelona.
It was an easy train ride from Pamplona to Barcelona on the morning of July 12th. The train station connected to the Metro so we hopped on a line going in the direction of our apartment in the gothic quarter. We got off the subway at Liceau on Las Ramblas, a long pedestrian shopping street full of restaurants and cheesy tourist stuff. Our apartment was a clean, modern place on the 4th floor of an old building that had a bike rental shop on the ground floor. The powerful AC was a pleasant change after three sweaty nights in Pamplona.
As usual, we went right out and found a grocery store to stock up on cheap eats for the next couple of days. On our way back we made a pit stop at a little greek shop for some gyros and spanakopita. We snacked in the room with some beers and went back out to explore.
The gothic quarter is a collection of narrow streets full of shops and restaurants that is great for aimless walking. Pick a direction and go. When you hit a big street with cars, turn around and go a different direction. We zigzagged for a while before finding the path to the beach. One of the cool things about Barcelona is that one second you’re lost in medieval European streets, and the next you’re walking along in a modern beach town full of bicycles and street performers.
The sun was setting as we plopped down on the sand to open another San Miguel. Jenny ran into the water to take her first steps in the Mediterranean. After dark we walked back to the room along Las Ramblas, a much changed street in the evening with prostitutes hanging around outside sex shops and more than one offer for drugs…
The next day we rode the subway up to see the Sagrada Familia, probably the most famous church in the city. It’s still under construction (since 1882…) and defies any notion of what a catholic church should look like. You could go inside and climb some of the towers, but that didn’t sound like fun on a day pushing 100 degrees.
We made the long walk back from the church so we could see more of the city. Along the way we ran into another park with one of the most impressive fountains we’ve seen on the trip.
That afternoon we walked down a street full of restaurants near our apartment and found a place serving delicious looking seafood paella. After questioning whether people in Europe ate vegetables other than potatoes, we finally got a salad before our paella.
Later in the evening we wandered around some more, going by the other main churches in the area, around the Picasso museum, and a few major squares. We snacked on pizza and ice cream and went back to pack up for what we knew would be a long trip to Nice the next day.