It's Better to Travel than Arrive?

"To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive"

Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque, 1881.

"Robert Louis Stevenson speaks utter tosh and has

obviously never flown long haul economy class"

Kristy, first ever blog post, 2011.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011



Apologies for the delay on my promised Barcelona post - I've had a bad case of writers block!  Not sure I'm 100% over it, but here goes ...

We flew out to Barcelona from Zurich on Thursday 1st December, arriving without drama around 7pm.  Picked up our bags (oh, the luxury of having check-in luggage - no Ryanair this time!) and grabbed a taxi to our hotel, Le Meridien on La Rambla.  We were given a lovely room and I after settling in I was starving (no surprises there!).  We headed down to the hotel restaurant around 9pm, which I discovered is very early to eat in Barcelona.  There were a few early birds having their dinner and we enjoyed ours with a bottle of Spanish red and headed off to bed.

Las Ramblas

Hubby had to work in the Barcelona office on Friday, so I got organised and headed out onto Las Ramblas to find some breakfast (hello Starbucks, how I've missed you!) and try to figure out what's what on my map (and we all know how well I can read maps ...).  Over a large cappucino I worked out that I needed to head down to Paseo de Gracia for some Christmas shopping.  It seemed to be within walking distance, so I walked back up the Ramblas, past the ice rink that they'd set up for Christmas skating in the main square and into Paseo de Gracia.

Paseo de Gracia

Had a great few hours shopping my way along the Gracia, and was careful to watch my handbag and phone.  I'd been warned by lots of friends about bag snatching and mugging, so I was on alert, but luckily I saw nothing unusual.  I'd been careful to pack a non-descript, over the body bag (my good old dark green Mulberry) so I could have my hands free.  I did see a few dodgy people and was offered flowers by some gypsy women, but I just smiled and kept on walking.  I found out that the big expensive stores put your purchases into their posh shopping bags and then put the whole lot into plain white shopping bags and staple the top of the bags closed - all designed to make things a little less obvious to the bag snatchers.

Headed back to the hotel to drop off my goodies and then had some lunch on the Ramblas.  Decided I'd take the easy option for the afternoon and bought a ticket on one of those big red "hop on, hop off" double decker busses.  The weather was lovely and warm (well, warm for me coming from 3c) at 19c, so I snagged the front seat on the top deck and enjoyed the next 2.5 hours being driven around the lovely city of Barcelona.  We headed to Montjuic, then down to the harbour, all via very circuitous routes, whilst I enjoyed the scenery and the sunshine.


That night we had a restaurant booking at Montiel, which I've previously blogged about, and we had a fantastic time.  On Saturday morning we headed out on foot to find Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, and ended up on the subway after being steered hopelessly off track by the satnav on Paul's phone.

Sagrada Familia

We joined the long line for tickets, which was moving quite quickly, and got our tickets and moved inside.  It really is just an incredibly fascinating building, and would have been much more atmospheric if people had actually been following the signs for "SILENCE" instead of prattling away and letting their kids run around shouting.  Seriously people, it's a CHURCH!  Okay, got that off my chest ...

There was a fabulous gallery off to one side showing Gaudi's thinking and building ideas.  He based as much of the structure on the natural world as possible, with spires being fashioned as giant Lavender heads and many tiles being created showing the lovely yellow flowers that grew on the site when he first visited.  Natural shapes and curves fascinated Gaudi, and the stretching and flexing of natural lines is very evident.

We headed back to the hotel to check out and move to our new hotel, the glorious W Barcelona, on the waterfront, where we had a special invitation to attend an intimate concert with the lovely Ellie Goulding that evening - and that will be my next post ...

W Barcelona

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment!