Thursday, December 16, 2010

12/12/10 Barcelona: Day 1

          Taking an early flight out of London seemed like a good idea at the time of booking.  It would give us an extra day of sightseeing and exploring but then waking up at 3:30am was not a good idea.  We had a cab pick us up at 4 am then drive us 45 minutes to Gatwick airport.  They call Gatwick London's airport but it seems like it's no where near London.  We got to the airport nice and early and getting through security was a joke.  This was our first experience flying Easy Jet and what an experience it was!  Easy Jet is a really cheap, bare bones airline company but with the cheapness  you sacrifice some other features like assigned seating.  You also aren't assigned a gate till last minute so you have to be constantly watching the tv screen.  Once they announce the gate everyone runs to stand in line to get their first pick of seats.  Sean bought us something called "speedy boarding" which meant we could move to the front of the line with the other speedy boarders.  Airports make me nervous enough, I'm always so anxious about missing flights, so these added unknowns made the morning even tougher to get through.  I could've fallen asleep standing up in that line.  We got on the plane and were quickly grateful that the flight was only about 90 minutes long.  The seats were really uncomfortable and Sean barely fit in them.  There were no frills with this flight.  Just a plane taking us to Spain.  I fell asleep against the window but woke up here and there to catch views of the Pyrenees and then Barcelona spread out below along the sea.
        We landed and moved quickly through immigration then grabbed the first cab we saw.  The sun was out and the weather was warm enough to barely need a jacket.  The cab driver tried to be a tour guide and point out buildings, monuments and major roads but we didn't have the heart to tell him we didn't speak the language.  We got to the hotel around 11 and were lucky that they let us check in early.  After dumping our bags in the room our first stop was the top level of the hotel where there was supposedly a great view of the city.  There was also a nice pool and lounge area which is probably awesome in the summer.  Here's the view from the top:
The view from our hotel roof. 
         It was a gorgeous day out so we set off to do some walking and exploring.  What a city! The Cathedral was right across from our hotel and I somehow managed not to take any photos of it.  It did look like it was being renovated or cleaned and was covered in netting so maybe that just didn't appeal to me.  There was so much to look at while we walked.  All the buildings were masterpieces and there were scooters flying everywhere.  Even the sidewalks were tiled with flower motifs and Gaudi styled hexagons.  Sean and I quickly got lost and needed some food.  Nothing seemed to be open on a Sunday afternoon so we settled for the first little bar/cafe we found.  I won't comment on that meal.  Let's just say we watched them microwave our food. It was also a bit of a shock to see people smoking indoors. Now that we had a little bit of food and a new plan of attack we wove our way through the streets and headed towards La Rambla.  La Rambla is huge street running down the center of town filled with food, souvenir stands, and street performers.  It was alive and jumping even on a Sunday afternoon.  The most interesting vendor was the one selling birds, turtles, hamsters and fish. Hmmmm...interesting.
The start of La Rambla.

Cactus for sale! There were lots of gorgeous flower shops along the street. 

         Sean and I stopped to get some gelato then walked on.  We found ourselves standing in front of Guadi's  fluid Casa Mila.  You could take a tour of the interior but we opted out of the crowds and stayed on the street staring up at the wavey lines of this apartment building.
Casa Mila.  When you see photos of it in books they leave out
the construction vehicles parked around the corner.

My attempt to capture some of the details. 

The sidewalks on the main streets were paved
with these hexagons designed by Guadi.  I loved them. 

        A little more walking and we came across our next Gaudi building: Casa Batllo which was designed to represent St. George defeating the dragon.  I have discovered that it's quite hard to take photos of buildings when you're a short 5 foot 4 person standing on the street. 

Not my photo, I pulled it off the internet but I wanted to show
the details of the roof top which is to resemble the scaley back of
dragon.  I just love the colors of the ceramic tiles. 
        We spent the rest of Sunday walking and walking and walking.  Sean and I were both pretty quiet during our walk.  We were exhausted from waking up so early then walking for hours and trying to take it all in.  We headed back to the hotel for a nap before dinner.
Scooters and palms.  In the left hand corner you can see
some of the bikes you can rent all around town.  

Just some fabulous architecture.

Just some more fabulous architecture.

Even more fabulous architecture.  So much detail to take in.

We walked and walked.  I didn't want to take too many
photos. I just wanted to soak it all up. 
       Exhausted we slept for an hour or two then decided to head out for dinner.  Oge and Snowflake suggested a tapas restaurant so we looked it up and headed out.  Things here don't open till late which is quite an adjustment for us.  Eating dinner at 9pm? That's our bedtime!  We got to Tapas 24 and found that it was closed on Sundays.  We had plenty of other places to choose from and quickly sat down to paellas, tapas and bread with tomato.  Feeling refreshed from our naps and tasty dinner, we walked around enjoying the lights and Christmas decorations.  It was a long first day in Barcelona and getting two hours of sleep the night before flying out was probably the worst idea ever.  I had the day planned out for Monday even though Sean wouldn't be joining me.  His schedule was even more packed than what he had thought.  Work in Barcelona!?? but I guess that was the real reason we came out here.

They love their decorations here!

Sean enjoying the night lights.


  1. Just Beautiful!! Thanks for sharing it all with us. xoxo

  2. We flew on a similar style flight from Glasgow to Dublin, Ryan Air I believed. No frills is pretty crazy. The planes are like buses with wings!