SHARING & LOVING BARCELONA WITH CUBANS
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
airbnb juni & Cesar
JOURNEY: Calonge to Girona by car;
Girona to Barcelona on the train-90 mins. 7.50 euros each
WEATHER: Cool and fine; 22 degrees in Barcelona
We left our "airbnb" house at Calonge around 9.30am and drove 40kms to Girona railway station to hand back the car to Europcar and board a train to Barcelona, 90 kms away.
Renting the car for 27 days had been a positive experience- it had cost us 18 euros per day ($22), we did 3500 kms and spent 155 euros ($195) on diesel; the best part of the deal was going to places along the coast and around the Picos de Europa that we could not have explored on public transport.
Arriving in Barcelona, a city of 1.25 million people by train, we found our way to the metro and trekked a kilometre underground to Line 2 to Plaza Universat – one stop later and we found C. de Joaquin Costa street following instructions from Cesar and Yuni our hosts in Barcelona. They were waiting for us at the entrance to the apartment and they shoulder- lifted our heavy suitcases up 82 steps to the apartment on the 3rd floor.
The apartment has been modernised and is clean and bright; the rented rooms are very small and we had to be very methodical to fit our gear. As mentioned before, most apartments in Spanish cities are small. The location, in the district of El Raval, once the slum and drug area of Barcelona, today very cosmopolitan and only a tiny bit gritty, is perfect- walking distance to the sights, bars, restaurants etc.
The guys prepared coffee for us and filled us in on the apartment and local sights. These two guys are perfect hosts and make a living from airbnb rentals. They make every effort to make sure you are comfortable and happy. We were both.
During our 4 nights with them we spent a lot of time chatting; they are Cubans living in Spain and are so lovely and great company. Their English is good so Kath was able to join the long conversations. Twice they generously shared an evening meal with us and on Sunday Yuni prepared a huge Cuban/Spanish meal for us and the American couple also sharing the apartment- a great time was had by all. We declined going salsa discoing at 1am with the four of them, as we had to leave for the airport early the next morning. No one in Spain goes out dancing until after midnight!!!!
Back to our first day: Time to get out and about and get a taste of the city with a bite to eat a priority but it was 4pm and many places are closed at this time but we picked a busy local bar and enjoyed grilled spicy pork shaslicks, tomato bread and beers; tomato bread is claimed as a local delicacy and consists of a crunchy slice of bread, scraped with garlic, rubbed over with a special type of mushy tomato and then drizzled with olive oil. Sheila and I have had our own version of this in Australia, and explained to some one-eyed locals that versions of this are eaten worldwide. We believe that the Catalunyan version could be improved by addind as we do a bit of cracked pepper!!
Las Ramblas, the city's busiest tourist street is crowded late afternoon and we walk all the way to the port and investigate some of the narrow lanes and the marvellous market, which at this time of day is closing but we visit again when everything is open looking for Pinnochio's to eat some tapas.
Later on that night we choose a restaurant from “Fodor’s Barcelona” which is just around the corner and enjoy a good red and some typical food.
If you had never heard of the architect Antoni Gaudi, before you arrived in Barcelona, you would soon be well acquainted with his works and history.
He was born in 1852 and created some startling buildings in this city, and his connection with nature meant there are no straight lines, just colourful intriguing shapes and colours. Modernistic and fanciful, his materpiece, still not finished today is the huge cathedral- Sagrada Familia. Their is a local joke which refers to someone taking too long to complete a task/job..."What do you think you are building the Sagrada Familia? When are you going to finish it?"
After catching some of his other creations, we made a special effort to see the cathedral; the outside, with its towers stretching to the sky and the story of Christianity etched on the facades it is less impressive because the impression is marked by huge cranes, and scaffolding as well as cleaning apparatus and you expect so much but this paraphanalia dulls some of the majesty.
It is due to be completed in 2030!
But the inside is a soaring beautiful space lit naturally from the strategic windows and the more you look the more you see. There are so many details and surprises and we admit our pictures don't really do justice to the enormous space and beauty!
You think and talk about this building and the experience of seeing it for a long time after. A really unusual masterpiece! It had been along walk there and back on this sunny day, and we had seen another area of this large and interesting city. Day two was over! Well, at least the day...still dinner to go...