This past weekend’s adventures all started with a six-hour bus ride from Logrono to Barcelona… please never again! We left at 12:55 am and arrived around 7:00 am. That’s just one of the prices you pay for cheaper travel and being able to maximize time– no hotel costs there. After visiting the information desk at the bus station, we saw the size of the city map and realized we would definitely not be seeing as much as we planned before we had to go to the airport, we headed straight from bus station el Nord to la Sagrada Familia. We were surprisingly energized on the walk, and were loving what we saw of the city. On the way to the site I saw my first Starbucks Coffee since my arrival in Spain. It was almost as beautiful as the basilica itself. Totally kidding– just perpetuating those American stereotypes wherever I go… almost spitefully since I’ve grown so tired of hearing Spaniards describe what I think of as a perfect-sized cup of coffee as a fishbowl.
The basilica is such an amazing sight! It was wonderful to be there before the crowds formed (and before it even opened, so going inside wasn’t an option). It seems to be under constant construction, always claiming they will finish soon. The cranes and scaffolding inhibit the view but let’s be honest– the towers are so tall and old that they need a little extra help. Once again I had the privilege of seeing in person what I’ve only studied in books! It’s a great feeling.
We spent the rest of our few precious hours wandering around the city in the general direction of Plaza de Catalunya, where we would catch our bus to the airport. All of the buildings we did see were by pure accident… very point and go! Although it was entertaining to wonder what would be around the next corner, next time we visit I would really like to take a tour of the city. Then I can put a name to the places we saw. After stumbling upon the giant Arc de Triomf and Palau de Justicia, we headed through the Parc de la Ciutadella.
After heading in the completely wrong direction for thirty minutes or so, we got back on track and winded through the Gothic Quarter and on to the city center. Being there so early, it was as if we witnessed the city waking up as shops were opening and people came out of their apartments to start daily business. I can’t really speak much about what we saw because our time there was so brief, but I loved the city vibe! We will be back in March and again in May– already in the books. I’m pretty sure we only saw about 1/10 of what Barcelona has to offer.
Our flight from Barcelona to Belfast was easy and brief… all about Northern Ireland is coming up next!