Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Walking Tour of Barcelona


Oh my goodness did we walk today. Maybe more than any other day INCLUDING the Camino. We woke up slightly hung over this morning (mental note: blue mystery shots + beer + framboise + gin and tonic do not make for a great feeling morning) but you know what works off a hangover? Walking up hill for about 4 miles. Lost. We went on a walking tour of Barcelona today and I mean ALL of Barcelona. We walked from our hotel up to the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's masterpiece and walked around taking some pictures. Then because it didn't look far on the hand drawn map we had from Rick Steve's and because he suggested using the bus system that we didn't want to figure out, we ended up walking up a huge hill trying to get to Park Guell. Except we walked up the wrong side of the hill and had to go down and traverse across to get there. Once we got there, it was still uphill to the highest view point. I just want to note that, as was not unusual for this entire vacation, at this point all we had eaten was breakfast which in Spain consists of 2 pieces of toast, coffee and a glass of orange juice. It was noon and we had hiked quite far uphill. I was starving but food was downhill and the top of the park was uphill and I didn't want to go down and then go back up so we skipped food and hiked to the top.

Our reward was a beautiful view of the city and the Mediterranean beyond. Also, of Gaudi's house down below. This park is gorgeous and my kids would have loved it. This was one of the few times this trip that I actually thought "ohhh... I wish the kiddos were here". It's not that I haven't missed them, it's just that nothing we have been doing would have been fun for them. This park however, is awesome.

After the park we headed back down the hill in search of some food, a few more Gaudi houses and to see the neighborhoods. We walked by our hotel and went in for a 20 minute rest and to change camera batteries and then it was more walking - all over the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic). This is the beautiful old town area of Barcelona. The cathedral is here, the old Roman walls, some Roman tombs and a labyrinth of stone streets and buildings. We walked and walked, got lost, and visited a museum. We saw the cathedral, various squares and did a little shopping. When we finally made it down to the waterfront we stopped and had clams at a little tapas place. I was joking with Honore that it was the first time in my life I had ever had clams and coffee together when she reminded me that actually, it was the second time this trip I had clams and cafe con leche. Yum.

Tonight, since it's our last night in Spain, we went to a fancy restaurant for dinner. We had hoped to have Paella but since it's a Sunday night and many places are closed, it was not to be. Still, we had a lovely dinner and bottle of wine and ended our trip in a really fine way. Tomorrow we will rise at 5:30, catch a bus to the airport and fly home.

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