Tuesday 5 July
This morning's sightseeing with a Local Guide includes a drive around Montju´c to see the Olympic Stadium and a panoramic view of the port and city. The drive continues to the city center to Plaza Catalunya and Paseo de Gracia to admire the greatness and eccentricity of Gaudi's architectural masterpieces in the Houses Batllo and Mila and the Sagrada Familia (entrance fees not included). (B)Hotel: Confortel Auditori
CALLE SICILIA 166-170 BARCELONA E-08013 SPAIN TEL:34932437600
Keith:"Buenos Dios" from Spain. Breakfast was great with an impressive buffet and we're rarin to go
. At 8:55 after breakfast we left for our guided bus tour of Barcelona with local guide Wendy. First stop was a guided walking tour with of radio headsets in a nice area of Barcelona around the Palau Episcopal Cathedral. The cool narrow streets, shops, architecture are terrific. After this, we're back on the bus to drive by the harbour and beaches, followed by a drive up Montjuic mountain. We had 20 minutes to check it out all the views, take pictures, and including a bathroom break. More time spent here would be better. After this it's back for more city sites including a drive up Passeig de Gracia where Gaudi’s famous Casa Milo and Casa BatIlo designs are located. Shooting pictures from the bus is torture but what choice do you have? We stopped at the Sagrada Familia to walk around it and learn about it’s history after which we could go back to the hotel on the bus. Nancy and I decided to stay and see inside the Sagrada and make our own way back to the hotel. We walked past the line around the corner and saw it went around the next corner of the block as well. We decided to get a cab and see another of the top three Barcelona attractions Parc Guell. Taking Rick Steeves advice, we were dropped at the highest point in Parc Guell which helped a lot on this hot day. It was about 11:45 so we grabbed an ice cream bar before hitting the park. I can’t remember how many times I’ve seen pictures of Parc Guell on the internet but they’re only about 10% as good as experiencing it.
Mind blowing, one of a kind Gaudi architectural design combined with beautiful Mediterranean gardens and trees. Wow! After a while we decided to do a lunch break with refreshments. Since it was bloody hot it required 1.5 litres of Sangria with our food. It was busy so we asked a lady who was by herself if we could join her. She is a teacher from Seoul Korea and since she’s going to London next I showed her my pictures to convince her to see Windsor Castle. Then 2 couples from Hamburg sat beside us and we asked then to take our picture too. It’s a great way to meet people besides getting your picture taken. They’re in Barcelona for 6 days and are doing a guided bicycle tour this afternoon followed by seeing Placida Domingo who’s giving a concert in town. We all did the picture thing and they went on their way. Next a lady from Miami sat down who is on a cruise and since we were in Miami in February we had lots to talk about. We discussed the city of Miami and commiserated each other about raising teenage boys. We finished up lunch and saw the rest of the park before taking a cab back to the hotel which averages E 10 ($16 CDN) each way. We don’t think there will be time to see the inside of Sagrada Familia on this tour so we’ll come back some day and spend a lot more time in Barcelona. We going to the optional supper and Flemenco show tonight on Las Ramblas which is the big pedestrian only walkway from Placa Catalunya to the Columbus statue near the harbour. After showers we’re ready to get on the bus and go to Hotel Ramblas for our optional buffet supper and Flamenco show which 22/31 decided to do. The buffet was excellent and it included beer, wine, and Sangria. The Spanish draught beer they had was Mahou and it was quite nice. The Flamenco was very professional, entertaining and really got the crowd excited. It was different but better than what I thought it would be. It’s amazing how effective the pure simplicity of acoustic guitars, tapping, stamping, clapping, snapping and the human voice is. There were about 14 people in the troop and they’re certainly a talented bunch. We were bused back to the hotel after this and 7 of us went around the corner to a pedestrian walkway/bikeroute shop and had some more draughts before calling it a day at 11:30.
Day 7: BARCELONA.