early flight with easyjet (06:55), we arrive very tired. train, metro, we arrive at our hotel. they let us check-in before 12:00, we leave the bags, take a map and go. first stop: sagrada familia. we walk down diagonal avenue and get a feel of the city’s rhythm: much more relaxed than milano. the churches look impressive on the outside, while inside they’re quite plain and empty. the area around sagrada is surprisingly empty of tourist-y staff: just a few kiosks selling fast food. we pay €12/head for the sagrada + parc güell, they don’t take credit cards. the sagrada is a construction site inside, so some of the magic is lost. you can see the ground floor in 5′, then pay an extra €2.5/head to go upstairs with an elevator. that’s much nicer, and you get nice views of the city. going down by the stairs, chiara’s knee starts to hurt.
we eat at the «els porxos«, which we choose by chance. €12 menu with nice sangria. then we’re too tired (and it’s only 14:00), so we go back to the hotel and sleep for 2 hours. out again, we take the metro to catalunya, walk down the rambla until the sea, then we enter the barri gotic neighbourhood, pass the placa reial, then the placa st. jaume. tapas at the «bilbao berria«. some shopping for chiara: zara, promod. finally, we sit at a small restaurant near rambla for patatas bravas (with aioli), tortilla de patatas and 2 litres of sangria (we cannot get enough of it). surprisingly, we haven’t found «crema catalana» anywhere!
wake up late, shower (very nice bathtub!!) and hit the streets. breakfast at the hotel is not included and costs €13/head, so we just have breakfast at a caffè outside. Then metro to vallcarca, to see parc güell. we had to climb up a loooong hill, but at least a large part of the way there were escalators!!! we saw the 3 crosses, then the veranda with the most comfortable bench in the world!!! then the porter’s house at the entrance. from a gallery we made a photo of a very realistic romeo&julliet reincarnation 🙂 and finally, the gaudi house museum. metro to plaça espanya, looking for a place to eat (not easy). then up to the magic fountain, just below the mnac. turn right and climb up to the poble espanyol (very nice): all the architectures from the different spanish regions, with restaurants, caffès, shops selling handcrafted products (i didn’t know the spaniards are so big on glass), and some strange modern art expos. on uphill to reach the calatrava tower, past the olympic stadium, then down to paral.lel with the funicular de montjuïc. arrive at the rambla, have a huge sangria (not as good as the other times), meet my colleague susan by chance. then sit for a paella (chiara got the chicken, me the seafood one). next to us a very funny couple: he’s a dentist from glasgow, she’s a pr agent from manchester. she said she was an ambassador of peace between the english and the scotts 🙂 we chatted with them for most of our meal. the marsella bar was closed, so i just had a kebab and we went back to sleep.
quite relaxed day: eat at mcdonalds (we realized we do this once on almost every trip), visit the cathedral, chiara stayed for mass and realized that catalan is very different from castillan (she understands most of castillan just by being italian, but almost nothing in catalan). the sound of catalan is in fact very similar to portuguese. then coffee at starbucks, walk to the pallau güell, which is closed sundays and mondays. moving on to the harbour, with the statue of columbus (some locals claim he was not from genova, but from barcelona). the statue is pointing east instead of west, the explanation is kinda funny. passing the footbridge, we enter briefly the maremagnum, which is a mall, so we move on. walk around in the born, have some tapas (aperitivo), then enter the santa maria del mar (really beautiful). we also wanted to see the pedrera, but it was closing an hour after we arrived, and there was a queue, so we left it for the next day.
we started the day by queueing up for the pedrera (it means «cave»), for around 45′. 4th level: a typical 1920 barcelona appartment, 5th floor: a very nice multimedia museum about the house, from the roof you get a nice view of the city. lunch (i got to try the black rice) and then shopping for presents. after two failed attempts to sit for a sangria, we succeed on the third one, and we get the strongest one yet (in fact we were a bit drunk afterwards). some more shopping, and then on the long path home: hotel (to pick up our bags), metro to catalunya (you have to exit and enter again to change from the metro to the renfe train), change trains at sants (this was not obvious, and we had to ask), finally el prats (the flight is an hour late).