Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 4 | Barcelona August 29

Woke up late- but we had too much fun the night before to wake up early.  We got ready, packed up, and checked out of the hotel.  I ran to the bakery right near our hotel to pick up donuts and orange juice to bring with us on our drive back to Barcelona.  At 11am, our taxi driver Juan Carlos picked us up at our hotel.  I sat shot-gun, so was able to talk with him on our way back.  He took us a different route this time, through the inland area.  It was fun to see the different terrain.  It was hilly, and green, and you could see many mountains on the horizon.

He dropped us off at the Barcelona Sants train station.  Sonny and Lindsey needed to get a locker for their luggage, and Ryan and I and his parents needed to buy our Train tickets for our Madrid and Toledo destinations.

In Italy we use the kiosks in the stations to buy our tickets.  It was so much easier than having to wait in line and try to communicate with the teller.  We needed tickets from Barcelona to Toledo.  This is a smaller city, and you have to stop in Madrid, and change trains.  The kiosk wouldn't let me pick Toledo as a destination, so I was out of luck.

Grudgingly I  gave up, and got in line, like Ryan's parents did.  After what seemed like forever (overemphasising obviously) it was our turn.  And what a pain it was.  We spoke zero Spanish.  The lady spoke zero English.  After a lot of pointing, and writing down dates and times.  We had our tickets.  Then she ran our credit card, and it didn't work.  Finally 2 cards later, we had our tickets in hand.

We hailed a taxi because it was only a few Euro.  We wanted to get to our hotel and get settled without all of our things before we figured out the public transportation.  Our hotel was cool- very swanky.  It was located in the L'Eixample area, near the main plaza, Placa de Catalunya.  We stayed at Hotel Inglaterra.



We then wanted to eat.  And we were hungry for greasy food.  Luck was on our side when we spotted a McDonald's.  And, we love going to McDonald's when we are in different places.

Ryan had a Big Mac, I got McNuggets

With Patatas Deluxe. yum.
So excited!
Thank you in Catalan
After we stuffed ourselves, we headed to the Picasso Museum.  We went at the right time because it was free.  Score. It turned out to be one of my favorite art museums that I have ever been to.  It was all his art, and organized by his age.  It was fun to see how his art progressed, and changed based on where he was living, and what he was doing.  One room was dedicated to his many versions of Velazquez's Las Meninas


We then walked back to Placa de Cataluyna.

Bikes the locals use to get around

To stay on theme with getting food we can get in America, but is cooler in Spain, we hit up Starbucks for the much raved Chocolate Creme Frappacino.

Most of the restaurants had a second story
Where we bought Angela's mug
Chocolate Cream Frap

Ryan liked it
for Angela.
We then walked around, and ran in to Lindsey and Sonny.  They were killing time before their train ride to Madrid.  They didn't have much time, so we said goodbye, and went to the metro.  We wanted to head to Placa d'Espana and Montjuic. We stopped at the Tourist Information office first, in Placa d'Catalunya.

 


Spain's fountains had dirty water. nothing like KC
pigeons galore.
We then went to the metro, and bought a card that had ten rides, for less than 10 euro.  We were so excited about the deal, that we failed to realize where we were headed.  We ended up going in the train section v. the metro section.  When we tried to exit to get back to where we needed to be, the turnstiles wouldn't let us out. Luckily we found a person who worked there, and they pointed us to a special exit for idiots like us.  ride 1 wasted.

can't get out here.
We found the correct place, hopped on, and within a few minutes we were at Placa d'Espana.  Just like magic.

From there, we headed to Montjuic, which is where most of the 92 Olympics took place.  It is on a large hill/small mountain.  The first thing you see is long street, with fountains along the sides, a huge fountain at the end of the street, and then the Catalan Art Museum.  We knew it was closed, and hadn't planned on going in, but the building was amazing.  And HUGE.



they had escalators everywhere. but outside. so weird.


so cool



We stopped for an espresso, then headed further up the mountain.  Our travel book suggested taking a bus to the top, then walk down.  We hadn't read that part till we were home with sore feet. Oh well.


ryan and the torch
stadium
my photographer




After taking pictures galore of old Olympic buildings, we wanted to find the castle.  We knew it was up, but weren't quite sure how to get there.  Long story short, we got lost, backtracked, then found our way. Mind you this was an uphill walk.  No fun.

But the castle/fort was cool.  It had cannons and a drawbridge.  And they had food at the top. We grabbed a croissant to refuel.

a spanish rock


ports on the sea

cannon full o cans


Sun setting on Barcelona


Since we both wore flip-flops, and we walked up a mountain- our feet were done.  Lucky for us, Barcelona had a gondola to take back down.  score!



took ryan about 3x to figure out how to use this machine.

sunset on the gondola
And it wouldn't be complete without a movie:


Once down, we were hungry.  But, we weren't quite in the mood for Spanish cuisine.  Luck had it we stumbled upon a fantastic Italian restaurant right off the main street, La Rambla.  After a delicious meal we went back to Montjuic to see the fountain show.

The fountain show entails the fountain actually being on (most of their fountains were off during the day) with lights and music.  While slightly corny, it was fun to see, and a nice evening to be outside.





And, it wouldn't be complete without a video!


After the show, which was only about 20 minutes, we headed home.  Tired as heck.  Wishing more than anything that I could get a pedicure, I did the second best thing:

What else does one use the bidet for?

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