was on a quiet back street near the famous Las Ramblas.
Once checked-in and sorted out we headed off to Las Ramblas.
of Las Ramblas
from Arabic, Rambla or (torrent) reminds of far-gone early
times when the Ramblas marked the course of the seasonal
river. In the dry season, the channel created by the water
of the wet was used as a road. By the 14th
century it was paved over in recognition of it’s use as
a link between the old town and harbor. In the 19th
century benches and trees were added overlooked by stately
balconied buildings. It is now the possession of the pedestrian,
with traffic forced into one lane on each side.
On this famous
street there are lots of stalls and performers. Just off
Las Ramblas we came to Mercat Boqueria, (the main market)
a sea of fruit & veg stalls. We took some photos then
did lunch at a tapas bar in the market; Bar Quim.
We went to
the harbor and found a few places to try in better weather.
The Museu d'Histora de Catalunya was very interesting
and we spent ages in there. We watched a documentary of
Barcelona through history, but we only understood a few
words. The museum covers different aspects of Barcelona's
history and lifestyles of it's people.
set ups of kitchens in different eras, I sat at the table
of a rather fetching old kitchen. There was a drivers
cab bit of a tram in one hall with a projector screen
on the wall opposite. There was a small projector on the
top of the tram projecting a cine film of tram journeys
of Catalonia from the driver’s perspective. It must have
been filmed when trams were first introduced there as
the people on the street - suited and booted and tail
dressed adults included - were jumping excitedly in, and
at the last moment out of the way of the tram path. It
really felt like I was driving it and everything.
some partly demolished buildings, which looked - from
the clothes and sheets hung to dry on the balconies -
that they still housed occupants in the retained flats
where next wall neighbors flats had been demolished.
breakfast for our 2nd hostel, Hostel Ramblas.
We had booked here for 1 night then 2 nights somewhere
else and then back here again for the rest. The other
occupants were still asleep so Debra just did basic unpacking
and we went to the aquarium. We were in there for about
2 ˝ hours, it was fabby dabby. I liked the glass tunnel
where all the fish, including sharks and stingrays swam
menacingly overhead. At one time I almost forgot where
I was and thought I was under the ocean. I was scared
when the big stingray with it’s gills opening and closing,
got too near and my fur stood on end and everything.
some little children sitting cutely in a row in front
of a tank being told about the fish that were swimming
also play area, Debra got stuck in straight away, I didn’t
know where to put my furry little face. She was crawling
through tiny glass tubes with water swirling around within
the double glazed tube. She was crawling under the glass
of the stingrays’ open tank and she got to stroke them.
Not me though, they looked a bit slimy. I was though,
more than happy to join Debra in the submarine, that was
cool. I loved the little penguins, which we could see
from both under and above the water being fed.
On the beach
and found the metal stacked boxes "Homage to Barceloneta"
by Rebecca Horn, erected in 1992, which is made to resemble
the buildings of the area. After a little paddle in the
sea we came to a beach gym where we spoke to an old man
who showed how to us the equipment.
when we came across a sign for "No Weeing" on
a building and just had to get Debra to take a photo.
out then off to our 3rd hostel. Simply called
"Home", it was the best of the 3. In a quiet road in the
suburbs it promised peace and quiet. We got the Metro
to Espanya stn. With our t-dia (1-day travelcard).
As we came
up onto the street there were a bullfighting arena, we
didn't go there, dont want to see poor furry animals be
the "Palau Nacional" (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya).
There was Gothic and Roman art. There was also a beautiful
indoor arena with an large organ - It had been set up
with tables and chairs for some function.
At the top
of the mountain we walked around the Anella Olimpia (Olympic
ring) where the 1992 Olympic games were held.
"Poble Espanya", which is an old village of craftshops
and workshops in old streets and squares enclosed by a
wall. It was built in 1929. Entry was 7 euros for 1 person
or 3.70 euros each for a group of 15+. Debra hit on the
idea of gathering strangers together until there were
17. She had a bit of assistance for the maths as not everyone
had the right change. There were a few orange trees but
we were not lucky enough to have any drop off as we went
by. By the time we had had enough it had become overcast
and was starting to get cool.
along the road and paid a visit to the Contemporary art
Museum. It was really quite boring. Maybe it was interesting,
but we were too tired to be interested. Grabbed some food
and a bottle of red wine to take back to the hostel and
Debra photographed me with Barcelona’s Arc de la Triomf
in the background.
Back at the
hostel - after some well-needed rest – Debra cooked dinner
and opened the wine and ate and drank in comfort. After
dinner we had a chat to some people in the sitting room
before going to bed about 9.30. At last Debra slept well.
We went out
for short walk in the woods on a hill and returned back
the hostel got our stuff for the days exploring of Park
Guell. It was said to be about an hours walk, but we kept
getting sidetracked wondering what was down this way and
We came across
a 10-foot man and lady dressed funny who were dancing.
Debra said they were on stilts but I don’t believe her.
I asked the man if he would pose with me for a photograph,
he was happy to oblige.
After a bit
of a walk we hit the woods at the back of Park Guell and
was escorted by an old man to the bit we had traveled
so far to see. Were we came in, through the back, led
out onto a very large balcony. We found our way down to
the stairway with the Salamander and I posed with him
for a photo. We went into the porter’s house; Debra got
in at the student rate of 1. 50 euro.
We sat and
listened to some musicians playing under the balcony between
the carved stone columns.
After a couple
of hours we headed back to the hostel and we had lunch
at 4.30. Had a lay down till it was dark, then the fireworks
started and the loud music from the school down the road
where there was a party. The reason for the party and
all the people we’d seen dressed up was it was the start
of carnival week. Debra was too tired to go out to Las
Ramblas in the town center for the possession seeing that
we were now in the suburbs.
Got the metro
to the river we’d seen on the map. We walked until we
decided to turn back and see if we could scoot back to
a beer factory (could have done with one or 10 by now).
Debra must be mad to scoot back as it was about 7 miles
down to the sea and then about 6 miles along the beach
sidewalks until we got to anywhere we recognised, which
was 2 miles from the hostel. We scooted about some more
and ended up going into a church, we thought it would
be nice to listen to a service to in Spanish. Debra was
doing all the stand up, sit down, kneeling bit with the
rest of the congregation. On leaving I crossed myself
with holy water. It was getting dark when the service
finished. By the time we got back to the hostel for a
rest we had done about 15 miles on a microscooter. We
scooted back to the Ramblas, watch a Spanish rock band
play for a bit and finally back to the hostel to heat
our dinner in the microwave.
Out and about
8.15 through old town and into Parc La Ciutadella which
housed the Museum de Zoologia Historia Natural.
a nice duck pond with nice ducks that quacked at me and
everything. An ornate staircase as a back drop to the
pond, or was it a duck pond as the foreground to the staircase?
We then met
a wooly mammoth that wasn’t at all wooly, called Mabel.
I posed on her truck and at her feet for a photo.
to the Sagrada Familia via Placa De Tores monumental.
There was a coach tour of humans in the way of our trying
to snap the building so we went up and talked to the teddy
bears sitting in the windscreen of the coach. The driver
and rep held the bears for a photo with me.
of Sagrada Familia (Temple of the Sacred Family) started
in 1882, and Gaudi was made Project Designer a year later,
working on it until he died in 1926.
On the way
back to Las Ramblas again, we stopped when we came by
a TV crew filming the street scene. We of course took
the chance to get me on screen, as I’m so cool. So I might
be a Spanish TV star by now.
scooted round the round square, which was full of pigeons.
I sat on the ground to feed the pigeons and they knocked
me over and climbed all over me. That's gratitude for
Came to a
statue called the "Sardana" which was of people dancing
in a ring holding hands. I sat in the middle for a photo
as the sculpted people sang " Brown bear in the ring,
tra la la la la".
We then headed
to "Castell de Mountjuic" which once was a beacon tower
for fishing fleets to find their way home. In the 1640
reapers War, the beacon tower was converted into a castle
fort in 30 days for fighting against of the Castillian
army of Felipe IV. Barcelona was starved into submission.
In 1714, after the siege of Barcelona, The Bourbons blew
up the original castle and in 1759 replaced it with one
that specialised in torturing Castillian political prisoners.
I sat on one of the big guns used for firing at ships.
I was very happy that it didn’t go off, the vibration
would have blown me away!
I had a go
at standing century duty but got fed up after a few seconds.
this morning Debra didn’t feel that she needed to get
up and at it before 8am. We stayed in bed till 8.50. Breakfast,
then the market, for bread, strawberries and fresh soup.
Debra made our sandwiches for lunch and we headed off
to the beach about mid-day. It was a lovely warm day,
so after the last few days of walking, climbing and scooting
we deserved rest and a relaxed lazy beach day in the sun.
After about an hours sitting looking out to sea Debra
decided to build a sand castle but then changed her mind
and made it into a sand teddy bear and named it Sandy.
some amused smiles and questions from passers by and got
hit by a football.
the Piccaso museum, it was 5 euros to get in. There were
some of his paintings from a few years before his death,
photos of Picasso by various photographers and there was
artwork by other artists. There were doodles on scraps
of paper with stains on them they looked like someone
had taken them out of the bin and ironed them. Some looked
like Mr. Bean had drawn them!
another gallery and a church then had a bite to eat in
a bar. There was thickly sliced French bread topped generously
with various toppings like salmon moose with dill, grilled
Mediterranean veg, something that was like cross between
soft tofu and soft cheese, grilled fish and others. It
was a euro apiece. We had a nice chat with a couple who
thought me cute and like my boxing gloves that Debra had
bought for me along route.
we continued the old town and followed the sound of drums.
We hit upon an anti-war demo holding up traffic and of
course joined in.
came over to photograph me sitting in the road. Debra
also snapped me. The protestors stopped vehicles from
passing, only allowing an ambulance through. Later police
in a plain white van stopped at the metal barrier that
had now been erected by the protestors and one got out,
moved it and then put it back where the protesters had
placed it once the van had passed. This got a round of
applause from the protesters. The police are human too
I suppose. The protesters moved on towards the Ramblas
and split up, proberly to get some food. Debra and I sat
and people watched on a wall saying "Hola" (hello) to
passers by. I was dancing to some nearby music and some
people gave me money!
an old man sat on the floor reading. He had 2 large dogs
and a box of kittens with their mummy.
10, last day – Thursday
of the hostel and headed for the other hostel where we
stored Debra’s rucksack until the flight. We headed for
Mount Juic again and took in the peacefulness of the park
for some time.
the shops and met two dogs in a shop doorway next to a
dummy dressed a s a Spanish lady. They told us how cool
it was to be a dog in Barcelona.
around most of the day, taking a break for lunch. At 6.20
we were off to the airport.
her hand luggage searched as a knife had shown up on the
x-ray. But it was just an eating knife that she’d forgotten
to hand back when she borrowed it from the hostel. They
gave her back, as it was not a danger.
was delayed by 2 hours so we were glad when we finally
got home and had some sleep.
When we got
up the next day I had a Bath, you should have seen the