Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Barcelona: Day Six

Now, I know that Spain is a dry place, but I was really surpsied at just how dry it really is. I took this photo about an 2 hours east of Madrid as we were on the train headed to Barcelona. It's just straight up desert, and a gray, chalky looking desert to boot. I am writing about this, by the way, because I didn't take any photos of us mugging for the camera in a train station, which would have been the perfect intro for this post. Instead I have one photo of the desert, so that's what you get!
After the 3 hour train trip, we arrive in Barcelona! One of the first things we did after checking in to our hotel was grab some grub. Leanne is smiling below, but it is totally fake. She is always more food-adventurous than either me or Caroline and this time her gamble did not pay off! She paid about $5 for a teeny tiny empanada and was not happy about it!
Our hotel was just off Las Ramblas in the Barri Gotic (or the Gothic Quater), so we were located right in the action. We decided to go on a Rick Steve's "walking tour" of Las Ramblas...and it was several minutes before I realized that we were walking in the opposite direction. Sigh.
Las Ramblas is the bustling heart of Barcelona. It is full of street performers, restaraunts, little shops and shady trees.
We walked all the way down to the waterfront and saw that there were 1 1/2 hour cruises of the waterfront leaving in about 15 minutes! What a great idea! I wondered why Rick Steves left them out of the book?
And soon found my answer...most of the "tour" is of the industrialized harbour. Lovely, no?
The graffittied wave breaks were our favorite. Caroline feigns enthusiasm below.

After our boat tour we worked our way back up to the metro station.
We decided to just wander for a bit and peeked in to the church (Santa Maria del Pí) next to our hotel located on the Plaza del Pi (Plaza of the Pine tree). The church dates from 1319!
While researching Barcelona, I found out about their "Magic Fountains" - what sounded like a somewhat cheesy fountain light show. Perfect. The magic foutain shows only ran on weekends and that night was our only opportunity, so we hiked it out to Montjuic. Of the Barcelona metro stations I only have this to say; air conditioning. I was sweating bullets by the time we made it out to the southwest side of the city.
Our first sight upon exiting the metro station, was a couple of 6 foot tall, naked, but covered in beads, party girls. I am not kidding! Anyways, there were huge crowds milling around and we soon saw signs letting us know that it was the Gay Pride Festival! We had to get through all those folks to the lovely Catalan Art Museum you see pictured above! Pictured below you can the HUGE crowds we had to walk through! It was just crazy!

But we eventually made it up and were able to enjoy the lovely Magic Fountains! The fountains were contructed in 1929 for an exposition and even then their light show was a hit!

We absolutely loved it!!

After the show, we made our way back to Las Ramblas for a dinner we had been waiting a long time for! Paella!! We were so excited to try out some fresh seafood. The calamari was delicious,
but I have to be honest. As mouthwatering at the paella looked, I was not a fan. All the seafood in Barcelona is fresh and cooked whole. That means lots of bones...which I hate. I don't know why, but it just freaks me out to have to eat and then slowly pull bones out of your mouth! Anyways, the girls chowed down and did justice to that meal, even if I couldn't.
And so ended our first day in Barcelona!


Sarah M. Anderson said...

Ewwww, fish bones! ICK!

lucylucia said...

Sally - RIGHT?! RIGHT!??!? Ugh. I just couldn't eat it.

Aili said...

I think the boxed paella that mom makes, may have spoiled our palates for the real deal. :)

lucylucia said...

Aili - we had the real deal in Costa Rica in Puntarenas! Don't you remember? Now, yes, I'm sure the Spanish kind is different. But I KNOW what Central American Paella is supposed to taste like at least! ha!

Laura said...

Lucy - I got up at 5:30 AM so excited for your visit today, but I digress. I know exactly what you mean! We are actually spoiled by our food here. I was alarmed in Italy when they brought out a whole olive - just 1 :) - on my pizza with the seed still in it, the NERVE, ha! I cannot do fish bones either..

jaxmom said...

The light show looked pretty amazing! Yeah, fish bones sound pretty unappetizing :/ The trip still looks like it was FABULOUS!!