Tuesday, May 5: Barcelona Day 1
We are off for five days in Barcelona, a part of this trip that I have been awaiting with great anticipation. We used all sorts of transportation today- a local Valencia city bus to get to the train station; a Renfe train for the three hour ride to the Sants Train station in Barcelona; a local Rodalies train took us so near to our hotel (for free) that we could walk there; and later in the day, after being out and about, a taxi to get us back to Hostal Grau.
Before leaving the Sants train station, we bought our timed entry passes for two Gaudi houses, La Pedrara and Palau Guéll, as well as a museum pass for entry into possibly six museums.
We settled into Hostal Grau at Remeller 28, an environmentally awarded hotel, situated in The Raval district a short walk through old, narrow, but with active and busy character, streets to The Ramblas. The Ramblas is a wide walkway through a touristy, but “interesting in its own way” part of town.
We have our first timed pass at 4PM to tour Palau Guéll so we headed down The Ramblas to find some midday food and happened across the central market place, The Boquería Mercat. We took in all the delicious choices as we walked through it, like kabobs of chocolate covered strawberries. I bet you can’t eat just one!
Fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts!
Most locals order several courses of this type of food along with seafood like octopus, squid, mussels….hmmm. We are not fond of such a wide variety of seafood as we find here, but many are.
Then, we headed off, on foot, to visit our first Antoni Gaudi site, a home he designed and built for a client. It is called Palau Guéll. The rooftop chimney covers are the best part of this site, predictive of his further works.
After the tour, we walked The Ramblas from the Plaça Catalunya to the Christopher Columbus Statue. Columbus landed here after the voyage where he discovered North America. He is highly honored here, but Barcelona faced a downturn in their economy for decades as ships detoured past the port of Barcelona on their way to the Americas.