2019-04-12 Spain Day 5: Tour de Barcelona

I just spent 5 minutes trying to think of a catchy title for this blog post while Jim is cruising Netflix for something good. Nether one of us was successful (yet).

I feel like today has been another full day in transit. We had to check out of our upper class hotel and abandon the booshie life. We loaded up our car with everything and had our first adventure driving and parking in this metropolis. The streets are packed and much like Tarragona, there’s one way to go and if you miss the turn be prepared to drive a lot more or find a lovely roundabout to do a u-turn. We had about 5 hours in-between check out and check in and it was the perfect amount of time to do a bike tour.

The three hours went by very fast and I’d be better off just listing the things we saw from their website than trying to remember. We started in the city center, the oldest part of the city which was originally divided three areas, two for residential and one for planning and keeping livestock. The idea was that if people were cut off from the outside due to attack they could still survive on what they grow inside the city walls. That, of course, only works until the population outgrows the space and they had to create “the expansion”. The only section of the old town I remember is “the gothic”. Also like Tarragona, characterized by the narrow streets and continuous 5/6/7 story buildings. It all looks the same after a while and it would be easy to get lost.

From there we ventured outward, into and beyond the expansion and to the beach. Biking along the promenade on the beach was my favorite part of the tour. More open space and wind through my hair and the sun shining off the Med. That area was also relatively clean, which was a nice change from the inner city.

Soon after that we turned out bikes back inward and uphill to go to a few of the “must see” attractions in Barcelona. The Sangra de Familia is the most famous. It was Gaudi’s vision at the start and is still in construction long after his death. He was an artist, visionary, and engineer. His work is characterized by combing the imagination, forward thinking, and in the case of the Sangra Familia, lots of mathematics. He did not typically do scetches of his structures, he built models. So after his death, the model of the church was destroyed and therefore the newer parts of the construction continue with only fragments and a general idea of the mathematics he employed to design it. Every detail configured to 7.5.

We did not have time on our tour to go inside and I wish we would have. I think it is one of the things I’m going to regret later because our time in Barcelona is too short to go back. But these are the things you don’t know until you know. Sometimes there’s enough time and sometimes it’s too late. That’s life.

The trade off was that we were able to see so many other things in the space of that three hours, other parks and monuments and historic buildings and locations.

Our tour ended where it began and we quickly found a lovely little restaurant for a lunch of tapas which included dessert. Food, I have found, always takes a while. It’s a leisure activity here and it seems to eat away a fair bit of time (pun intended). By the time we got to our AirBnb it was late in the afternoon and we were both spent.

Despite being more expensive, this apartment is very underwhealning. It’s very plain and uninspiring. The two things it has going for it is the location and view of the sea and the beach. The other noteworthy thing is that it was originally built just prior to the 1992 summer Olympics for the athletes. It’s a part of the Olympic village. That’s cool.

Still, it’s hard to be too enthusiastic about that when the sheets seem dirty and there’s ants in the kitchen. I’m glad we’re only here for two nights. I’ve stayed in much worse places so I just have to remember that when turning out the lights.

One of the things we did not see on our bike tour was the famous “Park Guel”. It’s another top five attractions and after our visit, it was clear why we did not bike there. The entire park is cut in a hillside and the climb to get there is a massive amount of steps. By the time we arrived it was pretty late in the day and too late to get tickets to go into some main tourist areas, but the park itself is large and we walked and climbed more stairs. From that height, the views of the city below were incredible and pictures just don’t do it justice.

Once we were satisfied that we had seen enough, we made our way back down, and then back home again. It’s just 5 or 6 miles but takes like 45 minutes. I’m the navigator and Jim I the driver so most wrong turns are a result of me not communicating correctly or him second guessing my direction. We are a pretty good team at it and that’s not easy to find. I’m a fortunate girl.

Arriving back to our mediocre apartment, we ventured out again on foot almost immediately for a supermarket. This time for snacks and some supplies that I should have been more prepared for in packing but was not. Whatev.

That brings us right back to the couch in the living room in front of the TV where I started this blog. I still don’t have a good title. I guess not every day can be clever. I think we’re lucky if we break even.

See You In Girona,

~Miss SugarCookie

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