Monday, April 15, 2013

Two Posts for the Price of One Beautiful, Beautiful Barcelona

More next post.  We haven't even begun to tell you about Gaudi'.

April 10 – Day 9 – Granada to Barcelona
We got up really early today – a Wednesday – and got the 5:24 am bus to the airport. We were the only ones out in the cold and the dark – us and a few taxis.  We were the only people on the airport bus but a 6 Euro bus ride sure beats a 30 Euro cab ride.   We still believe we have to get to airports two hours before takeoff but we are slowly changing that opinion.  What a sleepy little airport – only eight flights today!  We flew to Barcelona and took the airport bus into the city!  Farewell Granada – happy, relaxed city that you are!

April 10 & 12  Days 9 & 11 (More about April 11 – Day 10 later)
Beautiful, sunny, warm, balmy days!
We could live in Barcelona.  It’s a crowded, beautiful city with people from all over the world.  Yet, somehow, it runs smoothly.  We stayed at Hotel Lleo (Lion) right off Plaza Catalunya, the main square! The Hotel was quite nice, but we have discovered that when weather is unseasonably warm as it is now, European hotels have a tough time regulating temperatures, and the rooms are very warm.  They did offer a free breakfast, attraction discounts, lots of information, a nice bar café’ for drinks and snacks, and a superb location.

When we arrived by plane from Granada, we were pretty tired, so all we did was walk on Las Ramblas – the main pedestrian street of Barcelona and have dinner.  This was the only disappointing dinner we’ve had so far.  We think the waiter may have been in training because we only ordered soup and salad for each of us.  I got my salad, and Bill didn’t get anything, so we had to wait while they put that right.  Then we thankfully went to bed.

Las Ramblas, by the way, is an amazing thoroughfare – flower shops and portrait painters, restaurants and ice cream shops, street entertainers, and living statues down by the waterfront.  We were there five years ago with our travel buddies Kate and Dave Wiechec and there were many more statues there then.  According to Rick Steves, living statues have to audition for their parts and no more than 15 can be at work on Las Ramblas at any one time.  If you throw a coin in their buckets, they will spring into action.  We wasted about 4 Euros getting our pictures taken with the statues on Day 11.  This same day we discovered La Rambla del Mar – an extension of Las Ramblas that goes out over the sea.  We walked the whole street and at the end discovered how much we like Mojitos.  On Day 11, we also did laundry.  Even with our small Rick Steves carry-ons (which we are now checking since it’s been free to check them and they are fat, as are we), we haven’t even been close to having worn all of our clothes.  But we were having an underwear crisis so we found a Laundromat in the University section of the city – just a short walking distance from the hotel.  Talk about a state-of-the-art find!  Ruth, the Laundromat attendant, is the daughter of one of the owners.  She is our equivalent of a high school senior, and the two of us had a great time alternating Spanish and English.  Unfortunately, she declined to have her picture taken.  If we could franchise these Laundromats in the US, we believe we could make some bucks.  You don’t need your own soap or softener – it comes in the washer.  All you need are some Euros and your laundry!

Picture 1: Beautiful downtown Barcelona; Picture 2: Bill with Living Statue on Las Ramblas;  3. Bill & Kathie at Plaza Catalunya;  4. Hotel Lleo in Barcelona where we stayed - free breakfast; 5. Barcelona Harbor with Christopher Columbus Statue;  6. Bill with his favorite new drink - a Mojito.

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