Hopping on/off in Barcelona – June 24

I was happy to have a morning to sleep in and get breakfast at my own pace. I ventured down to the restaurant from the breakfast buffet. It was nice to have food available with so limited effort.

I left the hotel with the tourist bus voucher in hand. There were 2 places on my must-see list and I’d already figured out which line I needed to be on. Now I just needed to find my way to the bus stop. It didn’t take me long, and I found the Casa Batlló (designed by Gaudi) and Casa Amatller (designed by Cadafalch) along the way. Loved getting a little Modernisme (Catalan Art Nouveau) in before even getting on the bus!

Within a few stops I found myself in front of the La Sagrada Familia. It is immense and intricate, as amazing as I thought it would be. Since it was later in the morning the lines were crazy and I didn’t pre-pay for a ticket I knew my chances of getting in were slim. I wasn’t willing to fritter away my entire day waiting in line.

On to my 2nd must-do, Parc Guell.

I hopped off the bus and headed up the street. It was at that point I had no idea how to get to the park from the stop. Fortunately there was a sign. Unfortunately, there was a second sign pointing a different direction. Oh Spain, WHY!? Why is it so damned difficult to provide decent signage!?

I joined a heard of folks I assume were also going to the park. We got there but did some unnecessary uphill blocks. Got to the ticket area and found all the time slots were filled until 5pm. Ugh, I didn’t even think about getting tickets in advance for this place. I really need to check everything going forward.

I purchased a ticket for 5pm and decided I’d kill some time riding the rest of the tour bus route to see if there was anything else I should check out. Barcelona is a sprawling city and I question the timing the bus company provides as time between stops. I hopped off one line and onto the other. Based on the 2 hour round trip of the bus I assumed I’d have plenty of time to do the line and get back to the park. Not so.

 

It was 4pm and I was far enough from the park I wasn’t going to be able to walk and the tour bus wouldn’t going to get me there in time, so I hopped off in search of a taxi. I’d seen a lot of them so I assumed I’d be able to catch one to the park. Full taxi after full taxi passed me by. I started to think I had wasted 8 euro on a ticket I’d not get to use. I walked in the opposite direction of the crowd in hopes it would help, and after about 30 minutes it did. A driver stopped and told me he was going home to eat and could take me to La Sagrada Familia. While it wasn’t the park it was a lot closer to the park than I currently was so I jumped in.

We talked a little along the way and he told me there are only half the usual number of taxis because it was a holiday. That makes sense. Having only been around certain streets once I wasn’t too familiar with things but I recognized things along the way. He was taking me to the park after all! I thanked him whole heartedly for him going to extra effort to get me to my destination.

For me, Park Guell was breathtakingly beautiful. Gaudi must have been a fascinating man. His love for nature and the way he incorporates it into his architecture (or the other way around) fascinates me. So I’ve got an inordinate amount of photos from the park. I usually do a fair amount of filtering what gets posted so I don’t overwhelm you, but I don’t want you to miss anything either.

After my stroll through the park I made my way back to the bus and eventually to the hotel. By then it was nearing 8pm and I remembered seeing a post from our host with a recommendation for Flamenco dancing. That was one of the things on my list for Spain that hadn’t been checked off. I got online and made my reservation, took a quick shower, then walked down the narrow streets of the Gothic quarter to Palau Dalmases. It was fantastic. The space was small and intimate with only a dozen or so in attendance. I was blown away. I was totally entranced with the guitar player. The music was incredible. The dancing was so dramatic and mysterious. It was a great evening out. Most of the photos were a blur but I did catch a few videos.

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