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Old 06-23-2013, 06:57 AM   #1
Tink2312
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Y Viva Espanya (Francia & Italia): Our MAGICal Med Cruise - Day 2 - The Red Hand Gang

Due to our early night, we were awake by 7am and after a breakfast of juice and pastries in the room, we were soon on our way. A little tip for those going to Barcelona in the near future and wanting to pick up odd groceries whilst there, about half way along La Rambla there is a Carrefour supermarket which is well stocked, has nice fresh fruit and baked goods and best of all, is cheap.

One of the best things about our hotel was that the Parl-lel Metro entrance was almost directly outside. After buying our T10 tickets (basically a bulk buy of 10 single trips on one ticket) we hopped on the Metro to Placa Catalunya. We used the Metro daily during our trip and it was a quick and cheap way to get around.

Once at Placa Catalunya we headed over to the Bus Turistic stand to exchange the email confirmation voucher for our tickets. It turned out you actually exchange the voucher at the bus stop itself so off we went to the blue stop – the buses for the red and blue routes both stop at Placa Catalunya (on either side of the square).

As you board the bus for the first time and receive your tickets, you also get a set of earphones for the audio commentary and a guide book describing what you’ll see along the journey.

From Placa Catalunya you firstly head through Passeig de Gracia with its many examples of Gaudi’s work





The architecture along the route is magnificent – so many styles, shapes and sizes and so much detail. We had a sneak peak of Sagrada Familia (which we planned on hitting tomorrow)



and travelled onwards to Gracia – which until 1897 was independent to Barcelona, being a town in its own right. There is definitely a village atmosphere and some very nice coffee shops, bars and restaurants.

The temperatures today were only in the mid teens, but it was beautiful and sunny and although we had intended to get of at Park Guell, it was too nice sat on the open top bus, taking I the scenery and we stayed on passing the more affluent residential areas of Barcelona and the university and financial/ shopping districts.

We saw some more of Gaudi’s work along the way.



We also passed the famous Camp Nou football ground.





Although a lovely, relaxing way to see the city, the bus is certainly not speedy and by the time we reached Francesc Macia-Diagonal (another of the main bus transfer points), we were all ready for some lunch. I don’t know whether we headed the wrong way from the stop or didn’t go far enough, but all we could find was a KFC – were we doomed to eat fast food all holiday? We accepted our lot and munched down our chicken-y fried meals.

We decided to make the most of our bus tickets and transferred to the red route, which in my opinion is definitely the better of the two (we didn’t have time to try the third, green, route). The highlight of the route was definitely seeing the Olympic Park and surrounding area on Montjuiic.

From Francesc Macia-Diagonal we passed the main railway station, another of the city’s shopping areas – Creu Coberta – and onto Placa Espanya, the square we’d walked to last night.



We headed towards Montjuic at the South-East and we were soon climbing above the city. We saw the Olympic Park, diving pools, Parc de Montjuic and the castle along the way.

Then we descended back to the port area with its $million yachts and a better view of Columbus pointing out to sea.



We travelled East passed Port Olympic – the area used for the Olympic watersports in 1992 – and the Olympic village. We travelled back into the central city zone and eventually got off in the Gothic quarter at Barri Gotic. After a quick pit stop in one of the many coffee shops, we headed to the Cathedral (or to give it its full name –Cathedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulalia). With the sheer volume of architectural masterpieces, it’s easy to overlook beautiful examples such as the Cathedral. We paused to take in the view and to sample one of the delicacies of the area- churros con chocolate.



We turned right at the Cathedral and through another of the shopping districts. I think Barcelona must have more H&M’s per sq. mile than any other city! I saw a shop called “Happy Pills” and knew I had to get myself some of those, ready for the post-holiday blues. Unfortunately it didn’t stock what was promised but did have a very large selection of confectionary, all packaged in novelty pill bottles and dispensers.

The restraint was long gone and I made a few clothing purchases too as we made our way back to Placa Catalunya. It was approaching 4pm and we decided to head down to the port area for a closer look at those yachts we saw earlier. After a quick trip on the Metro, we were soon strolling around the port, ice creams in hand.





There are some lovely restaurants at the port but be warned, they are very expensive!

On our way back up La Rambla, we spotted a nice café and chose to stop there for some dinner. We all had baguettes with various fillings washed down with beers.

By now La Rambla was really starting to come alive and we took in the atmosphere as we strolled along. After making a quick stop at Carrefour for tomorrow morning’s breakfast pastries and fruit bowl , we were back at the hotel by 8pm. We would have liked to stay out into the evening, but after all of the fresh air and walking, we were shattered.

Once back I noticed that I had managed to pick up a nice souvenir from the open top bus – sunburn! Although, rather curiously only on the back of my hands, which had turned a rather lovely shade of pink. Actually, after all of that sun (something we rarely get in the North West) I was feeling a little sickly and overtired so it was another early night for me.

Next up: Day 3 – Stop that bus!
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:19 AM   #2
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Your sightseeing day sounded fab.
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:26 PM   #3
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good day apart from the sunburn
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Old 06-24-2013, 06:26 AM   #4
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We have 3 days in Barcelona before our cruise at the end of august. from your report so far it looks like we'll have plenty to do while we are there.
What would you say was your highlight of the time you spent there?
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Old 06-28-2013, 02:06 AM   #5
Tink2312
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony64
We have 3 days in Barcelona before our cruise at the end of august. from your report so far it looks like we'll have plenty to do while we are there.
What would you say was your highlight of the time you spent there?
Definitely La Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell were the standouts, but to see a larger amount of sights in a short space of time, I'd definitely do one of the hop on/ hop off buses.
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Old 07-08-2013, 04:37 PM   #6
tony64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tink2312 View Post
Definitely La Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell were the standouts, but to see a larger amount of sights in a short space of time, I'd definitely do one of the hop on/ hop off buses.
We'll definitely be buying a ticket for the HO/HO bus.
Really looking forward to your post so we can add all the info to our plan.
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The Buckland Disney Stampede August 2005 TripThe S.V.R. 2006 Trip T&T Do Thanksgiving 2007 Trip T&T & 2 1st Timers May 2008 Trip T&T Do the Triple Aug 2008 Trip T&T's 2nd Thanksgiving Trip 1975 & 2010 A double trip Bad Mothers & Others Oct 2011 Key West to Old Key West Nov 2012


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