Free Barcelona Travel Guide – Day 2: More Walking

Thanks for clicking on the Free Barcelona Travel Guide. There are 10 chapters total, listed at the end of this post. Check out the introduction for more information.

This day started fortuitously enough as I burned out our sound machine/alarm clock. You wouldn’t think this was a big deal, but none of the hotels we stayed at had clocks in the room. 2 of them had bidets, though, which is an important lesson on priorities. After wandering around for a minute looking for a place to eat breakfast, we ended up at Taller de Tapas in The Born around Santa Maria del Mar which ended up being my favorite area of Barcelona. I ordered what seems to be Barcelona’s civic meal, un bocadillo de jamon y queso and JR had a croissant.

Next stop, the Picasso Museum. After waiting in line for about 20 minutes, we were let in and started walking through the different rooms representing different eras of Picasso’s painting. It was fascinating to see so much work by a single artist, but the museum was somewhat of a failure on an informational level. The descriptions on the walls of the first couple rooms were helpful and pointed out the important paintings in each room. As we moved forward, however, the descriptions became confused, describing paintings not being exhibited, or worse yet, paintings in rooms we had just seen. It was neat to see Picasso’s work in other mediums such as printing and ceramics, and the illustrative representation of his playful relationship with his friend and secretary, Sabartes (doodle portraits on pinup posters and a portrait of Sabartes in a ruff!). The real treat of this museum, though was the special exhibit, Forgetting Velazquez. Las Meninas. “Las Meninas has been one of the most widely analyzed works in Western Painting” and the exhibit was a series of artists showing their interpretation of the painting in their own style culminating in Picasso’s own multi-month 40-odd study of Las Meninas. The special exhibit made the museum worth it for me, though JR disagrees and suggests the whole thing.

After the museum, we did some more walking and wandering and ended up on the edge of Parc de la Ciutadella at an Argentinian place called El Foro. El Foro was notable for the presentation of its Gazpacho (a bowl of tomato soup and a long plate with chopped onions and 3 different types of peppers) and the salsa which, from what I could tell, was olive oil, oregano, pepper, and bay leaf mixed into deliciousness. Parc Ciutadella is a large park on the outskirts of the old city of Barcelona. There is green space mixed in with trees, ponds and giant sculptures. The zoo is on the grounds of the park, but we didn’t visit. One exit of the Parc feeds out to the Arc de Triomf at the end of a long promenade. This is, apparently where the children go to light firecrackers with their grandmothers and the novice rollerbladers timidly hone their craft. One fellow was practicing jumping and turning around in mid air, almost falling every single time, I couldn’t look away.

After almost going into the chocolate museum (an almost I wish we had repeated a week later), we walked back to the Cathedral area going into about 5 different chocolate stores. This is my kind of city. Before going into our hotel, we went to Chocolateria Valor and got chocolate drinks. I had a Chocolate Francesa, which was about the best thing I’ve ever had. Drinking chocolate is big time in Barcelona, but what do you do in the summer? Cold chocolate!!! Wow it was great. Want more. Now.

Our friends Abbie and David picked us up for dinner and we headed to Euskal Etxea for dinner. Euskal Etxea serves Pintxo, which seems like Basque Tapas to me. The main difference being most of the Tapas are laid out on the bar, served on a slice of baguette with a toothpick. The toothpicks are important because at the end, they’re counted up and you pay per toothpick. This was great too! I missed the steak looking Pintxo, but I’m pretty sure I had quail eggs with mayo on some sort of ham. I ate more than I should have and it was still one of the cheaper dinners we had in Barcelona. Good times.

There are 10 chapters in the Free Barcelona Travel Guide. I hope you find them useful.
Introduction
Day 1: Barcelona to Boston: Plaça de Catalunya
Day 2: More Walking: Santa Maria del Mar, Picasso Museum, Ciutadella, Euskal Etxea
Day 3: Gaudi and Eating: Casa Milà
Day 4: More Gaudi: Parc Guell, Sagrada Família
Day 5: Sitges and Birthdays: Barcelona Cathedral, Parrots Hotel, The Beach House
Day 6: Sitges and Beach
Day 7: Sitges and Montserrat: Montserrat
Day 8: Sitges
Day 9: Too Hot to Shop: Aparthotel Calabria, La Boqueria, Tapaç 24
Day 10: Montjuic: Montjuic

Map of where we went or wished we had.

Free Barcelona Travel Guide – Day 2: More Walking

Free Barcelona Travel Guide – Day 1: Barcelona to Boston

Thanks for clicking on the Free Barcelona Travel Guide. There are 10 chapters total, listed at the end of this post. Check out the introduction for more information.

Admittedly, I haven’t been on many airlines recently, or ever, but Iberia airlines seemed above average to me. The flight took off on time, which these days is almost all you can ask, and they actually served two edible meals. I realized as soon as I shut my cell phone off that I hadn’t brought any type of watch and the vacation would be (excuse me) timeless. Ooof.

We landed in Madrid in what was the middle of the night for us and had a bit of trouble figuring out how to get to our connecting flight to Barcelona. The interesting architecture of Barcelona started with the ceiling of the Madrid airport and the way they filter light into the terminals. We landed in Barcelona and the doors in the back and the front opened to aid in disembarkation onto some buses for a trip across the airport to customs. There were 4 lines, 2 for EU residents and 2 for non-EU residents. Eventually all of the EU residents filter through and the 2 guys who had been checking the EU residents went on break. Down to 2 lines, the fast one and the slow one. Obviously, we’re in the slow line. Excruciatingly, the guy seemed to be playing 20 questions with each person trying to get through. Not asking 20 relevant questions about border patrol related issues regarding importation of fruits and vegetables, but literally playing 20 questions. “Is it an animal?” “Is it a mammal?”

What we didn’t know before we left was that the day of our arrival was also the day of an exciting, organized taxi strike. We didn’t realize there was a strike going on until after we got to our hotel, but the line for the A1 Bus from the airport to the Plaça de Catalunya did seem quite long. As we got to the front of the line, there was a guy in a suit carrying a small Zara bag telling us to go to the unmarked bus behind the A1 bus. I point out the suit and the Zara bag because it struck me as utterly ridiculous. Mr. Bean-like. We were exhausted and he was speaking quickly, so we followed his direction and got on the bus. It dawned on me that we weren’t on an official bus, this was just some enterprising dudes with a bus taking advantage of the taxi strike. Capitalism, it’s electric!

We got to the Hotel Regencia Colon after a short walk and checked into our room that surprisingly had a view of the Cathedral and smelled of smoke for only a second when walking into the room. We slept for an hour before getting up to explore. And explore we did. We walked around the Cathedral, Barri Gotic, Ciutat Vella, down to the water, and up Las Ramblas to La Boqueria. Then we seemingly did most of it all again looking for a phone card or internet cafe or both to get in touch with some friends who were in town.

We connected with Crystal who had us meet her at Flaherty’s to watch a EuroCup 2008 match between France and Holland. It was a strange experience to be jet lagged on our first night in Barcelona in an Irish Pub full of Dutch people (with a smattering of French people). It was all very continental. When The Netherlands scored (4 times in all), the place exploded, and beer got spilled on me. We weren’t sure if we’d be able to sleep because of the jet lag, but all the walking we did had us asleep for 10 hours.

There are 10 chapters in the Free Barcelona Travel Guide. I hope you find them useful.
Introduction
Day 1: Barcelona to Boston: Plaça de Catalunya
Day 2: More Walking: Santa Maria del Mar, Picasso Museum, Ciutadella, Euskal Etxea
Day 3: Gaudi and Eating: Casa Milà
Day 4: More Gaudi: Parc Guell, Sagrada Família
Day 5: Sitges and Birthdays: Barcelona Cathedral, Parrots Hotel, The Beach House
Day 6: Sitges and Beach
Day 7: Sitges and Montserrat: Montserrat
Day 8: Sitges
Day 9: Too Hot to Shop: Aparthotel Calabria, La Boqueria, Tapaç 24
Day 10: Montjuic: Montjuic

Map of where we went or wished we had.

Free Barcelona Travel Guide – Day 1: Barcelona to Boston