Andorra and Barcelona
Trip Start Jul 23, 2012
60Trip End Feb 03, 2013
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We both slept in a bit so we quickly packed up and got on the road towards Andorra. We had another fantastic ride over the mountains, the roads here in Spain are much nicer to ride on as they are wider and smoother, also not so many camper vans so therefore we could go faster!
We had a more obvious boarder crossing into Andorra, however again no one asked for our passports. As soon as we passed into Andorra we hit traffic and lots of it, we passed HEAPS of shops and big shopping malls. Our rough plan for the day was to try and leave our bikes in Andorra after having a little look around and catch a bus to barcelona to get a taste of the big city. A little lost on where to go we pulled over and went in search of an information place to get a map and finalise our plans for the day. After struggling through broken english/spanish and sign language we interpreted the bus station was in the next city, so off we rode
After a somewhat interrupted sleep due to heat, dogs barking and a dog or something playing with a plastic bottle we woke up and looked out our window and were greeted with more heat! Had a shower; which was pretty much pointless as while drying you started to sweat again, however we were pleasantly surprised when we walked outside that it was cooler than our room. We made a direct route up La Rambla (main tourist street in Barcelona) towards stop 1 for the hop on hop off tour bus. Tickets purchased and we took the green route, eastern side.
The beach of Barcelona looked very inviting with a great promenade to walk along, the promenade itself was designed and built during the first part of the 20th Century and extended when the Olympics came to town in 1992
We continued to tour through the streets of Barcelona, seeing the port, Olympic village, a massive building shaped like a cucumber covered in 70 000 LED lights which gave an awesome display of colour at night and a hell of a lot of people!
Back in St Emilion you may remember we met a random kiwi who gave us the lowdown of the area, well he also stressed to us that when we visit Barcelona we need to go and see Gaudi's Building, La Sagrada Familia. Sure enough our next stop on the tour was this architectural marvel. Gaudi was an Architect who had been commissioned by Barcelona's wealthiest to design and create fine buildings. After completing countless, Gaudi set upon work of his 'Masterpiece’ – Sagrada Familia – Being a huge multi steeple church/memorial to the holy family. The construction began in the late 1800’s but unfortunately Gaudi was run over by a tram (probably while day dreaming about his insane building) and died shortly after. Thus the building is STILL a work in progress and Gaudi was only able to decorate the inside and one side of the building. While the other side has been finished close to his original plans. Apparently when it is finished it will be the highest building in Barcelona. As you can see from the photos of the side Gaudi decorated (the nativity scene) there is not a straight line on the building and it is literally dripping with detail….pretty cool stuff.
The original plan was to go inside and have a good look around but by the time we turned up the line was – no joke – about 120m long….sooooooo many people
As I said before Gaudi completed many projects around Barcelona and we were off to see another. Park Guell is a beautiful garden filled with buildings and sculptures of Gaudi’s. it was meant to be a area of private residences but the idea never took off so the park was preserved, and what beautiful spot it was. Hundreds of mosaics coated the various buildings within the park while angulated rock sculptures for thoroughfares and bridges, all in all a great place to spend a few hours.
After a spot of lunch we again jumped back on the bus and made our way to Montjuic (one of the two mountains in Barcelona) for some amazing views of the city and the harbor. On top of the hill there was a battlement, which was used as a key defence strategy for the city. Just down from this hill there was the Barcelona Olympic stadium. As Barcelona was the first Olympic games that I remember seeing on the TV it was pretty cool to go and see where the flame was lit and the stadium itself. We were both surprised that for an Olympic venue it seemed quite small, even the track and field section was tiny, I guess you just loose a sense of scale on the TV…
After a walk around the Olympic area the decision was made to get on the western route bus and have a look at the home ground of Barcelona football club, Camp Nou
We finally caught the bus the remaining distance back to the main square of Barcelona and walked back to our hostel. We had decided to head down to the foreshore for dinner but after showering and getting dressed Raelene came down with some tummy problems…after putting it down to a bit of dehydration she eventually perked up and off we went in search of a paella for dinner. Our waiter turned out to be a mental case and had the obsession of walking everywhere super fast causing havoc wherever he went...no tips for you mate! Barcelona is such a pretty city at night with all the goings on and the lights…fantastic. We capped off the night with a walk along the waterfront and found a couple of cool old replica ships moored in the harbor. On getting back to our room we noticed that it was thankfully slightly cooler than the night before, thank god!
After another hot nights sleep and interrupted by the typical Saturday night antics a city hostel creates we chatted to Mum, Dad, Nicola and Megan on Skype for a little while then packed our things and left our bags in reception so we could wander the streets till our bus left at 3.45pm
The bus back to Andorra was much faster and only took us 3hrs, which was great. Walked to the street where we left our bikes and both feeling a little nervous we were very happy to see both bikes were still there, even the pillow I left on the seat hadn’t been pinched – bonus! Andorra was a much more pleasant place on a Sunday evening, it was pretty much a ghost town compared to Friday. We rode for a little bit in hunt for a camping ground, with Rhys missing the sign a few times we eventually, under my lead, found our home for the night. We quickly set up camp and rushed to the bar as Barcelona was playing in the local Spanish league. It was great to watch Barcelona play a team we had never heard of as we had just been inspired due to our tour of their home ground. Barcelona won 2-1, with Messi scoring both goals, it was great to be in the room with passionate Barcelona supporters.