Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Exploring Barcelona, Part Dos


When we left off, I was hot, tired, and I may have mentioned the need of a bathroom. We had just traveled one of the shadier parts of Barcelona, my feet hurt; I am sure I was thirsty. Sigh. Instead of heading back to La Rambla, we decided to head over to the Olympic park. Was it the '92 Summer Olympics that were in Barcelona? Why yes...yes it was.

To get to the park, which was up a hill, we took the Funicular Montjuic. What is a funicular? It's an inclined railway. Funicular sounds a lot more fun! We got to the top of the hill and I almost immediately turned into crabby "must-find-bathroom- NOW" Michelle. I'm sure that was fun for my travel buddies. Especially since there really didn't seem to be any place public with a restroom to use. We found a garden and on the map the bathroom looked miles away, down a billion steps. But, it was a pretty park and gave me the chance to practice my living statue.


Contemplating why there is no bathroom in sight.

Then we wandered over to the Olympic Stadium, which was pretty neat.


Olympic Stadium from outside.

You can walk right in...no entry fee and you can wander around. It was so cool to think about all the athletes that had competed there...Carl Lewis came to mind because I thought he was just the coolest!


Olympic Stadium inside!

We had a beer and snack and then decided to try and find the pool! David had a poster hanging in his room when he was a kid of the pool and someone diving and the mountains are in the background.

Another view of the stadium and a fountain. No...this isn't the pool.


We walked and walked and walked. And then we walked some more. At one point, David sort of motioned to us to follow him and I thought he had found it, but alas...we just walked some more. We wound up by a museum of some sort, but it was closed because it was a holiday. I think the museum had something to do with the history of Catalonia. We gave up on finding the pool and hopped on the bus back to Placa Carlos Ibanez (there was some confusion with the bus here as the first bus we tried to get on didn't understand what we were trying to say when we were asking if he went to the Placa Carlos Ibanez. The next bus driver didn't understand us either, but we got on anyway).

We did get to the right place.

The cable car in the air.

It was here that we were able to to catch the Transbordador Aeri del Port...a aerial tram that travels 230 ft above the port of Barcelona to Montjuic Hill (which is where we were by the way...Montjuic Hill). There was a French couple who in line seemed very nice, but got all bent out of shape when the tram attendants informed them they needed to fold up the stroller they had. Grrr...come on people! There isn't much space in the tram. They had a very hard time getting it in and I laughed inwardly.

Then I shut my eyes because in addition to being mean, I am also a scaredy cat. I was scared being up that high.

The beach! And a building that looks like a sail!

It dropped us off near the beach, which was very crowded. And why not? Dang! It was hot that day! By this time, we were also hungry and thirsty! Always hungry and thirsty. I think it was about this point that I realized that Spain was seriously kicking my ass. I don't mean to sound like I didn't appreciate the trip, but good golly...I was exhausted. We had just been so busy and there was so much walking and not enough just sitting.

So, it was a good time to just sit and get some sangria made with Cava and a nice snack. I had something sort of like a pizza with cheese and some green vegetable...maybe it was spinach. It was all warm and melty and really hit the spot. The sangria even more so.

mmmmm! Alcohol.

Suitably refreshed, we hit the road again to walk back to our apartment. I don't know what time it was. We walked up the Passeig de Sant Joan which was conveniently where our apartment was located. On the way, we walked under the Arc de Triomf.

 Kym and Kyle. They look so hip and happy.

We had a really nice walk back to our place. Barcelona is a wonderful city for walking with very wide sidewalks, parks liberally interspersed along the way, and it is very organized with straight blocks. None of that skinny, twist road thing going on here.

By the end of the day, I really felt like I had triumphed! I am sure that by the time this picture was taken I was just exhausted, but also so happy. We'd had a great time hanging out with Kym and Kyle and Barcelona was just amazing. Most likely when we got back we sat on the roof and had a glass of wine and shared stories with the gang, but to be honest I don't remember. On a happy note, Kelly had bought a new suitcase to replace the one that got destroyed in Lisbon! Yay! Everyone seemed to have had a good day.


I just want to sit down.

Now, another plus that had happened that day was that we figured out where a restaurant I wanted to try was located. Remember the conference I was at just before we left? There was actually someone there who was from Barcelona. He made several recommendations, one of which was for Cerveseria Catalan. All I knew was that it was on the Carrer Mallorca, which wasn't very descriptive. I was very excited when I saw that it was written up in my guide book! Yay!

 
Me, Lea, and Kym. Ready to hit the town.

The name means "Catalan Beer Tavern" and there are many cerverserias in Spain. The review was good but said to expect a wait. This place is popular. When we got there, it was fancier than I expected, and there was a small mob waiting outside in the street. Ugh. This did not bode well. We were a group of nine. I imagined it would be hours before we were seated.

The man outside told us to go inside to check on seating indoors. The next thing I knew, we were being seated. Yes. Immediately. Turns out being a group of nine worked to our advantage. They had two large round tables and one was empty. I'm sure if a smaller group had gone we would have waited much longer.


Lea and Kym enjoy some beer and wine.

So, there were were. Wine. Tapas. I had these amazing little green peppers that were seasoned with just salt and a little pepper. The worlds tiniest hamburger. We had cheese. Ham and cheese croquettes. Of course we tried the Spanish omelet. Patatas Bravas which was sooo good - it's basically potatoes with hot sauce but that description does not do it justice. There was a brie with roasted peppers. All so very very good. For those of you keeping score, I am two for two with my recommendations that I received from people!

And then...it was back home. The next day we had to get up early...like 5 a.m. early to catch the train to Valencia. Were we really going to rise so early on our vacation? And why? Stay tuned...there is still more to come.

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