John & Connie Europe 2013 travel blog










On Saturday we decided to go into Barcelona for the day so we caught the train at Platja de Castelldefels station and proceeded into Barcelona to Passeig de Gracia Station, about a 30 minute train ride. When we arrived in the city we arrived underground so when we emerged from the station we were a bit confused as to what direction was what and where we should proceed to. Fortunately we met a young lady from Dallas Texas who was studying in Spain so she helped us with the Spanish and we soon found our way to the main north/south street where most of the activity started from. Our plan was to take a city tour on a hop on hop off double decker bus. We found a bus stop but then realized that the main stop was about 6 blocks away, so we headed to the starting point, bought our tickets and boarded the bus. The buses are double deckers with an open upper deck and we were lucky we found seats for all of us. The tour company supplies ear bud head phones so that passengers can listen to the pre-recorded tourist route info in their choice of 11 different languages. The tour consisted of two bus routes, one labelled green and one labelled orange.

We decided to take the green route first which would be approximately 2 hours if we did not get off the bus. When you visit a strange city this type of bus tour is an excellent way to get yourself oriented. The tour took us past numerous areas and past magnificent architectural designed buildings. The city of Barcelona has about 1.6 million residents. The tour took us past the old Gothic area, the harbour, the beaches and to a large church called the Sagrada Família. There were frequent oohs and awes as we went past these spectacular buildings. The most impressive was the Sagrada Família. The building of this church began in 1882 and it is still under construction. This building is absolutely magnificent and must be seen to appreciate it. Sagrada Família is a large Roman Catholic church, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). Although incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The anticipated completion date is for 2026.

After passing by the Sagrada Família we looped back to the stop where we originally boarded the tour bus. It was now lunch time so we decided to head back up the street to a sidewalk restaurant that we had passed by while on the tour. One should always check prices prior to ordering. Doug and John where amazed at the size of the beer they received only to learn when they received the bill that the price for each was €13. The total price for 4 sandwiches and three beers was over €40. Oh well, live and learn.

After lunch we boarded the orange tour bus route, this route took us past La Rambla, the site of the 1992 Olympics, the main football stadium and the central railway station which we had passed through underground earlier in the day. This tour took about 2 ½ hours as traffic and people in the city had increased significantly from the morning conditions, partly due to La Mercè, the annual Catalan festival, being celebrated from September 21 to September 24, 2013 in Barcelona.

After getting off the bus we walked to the main square and then to the entrance of La Rambla. La Rambla is a tree-lined pedestrian mall that stretches for 1.2 kilometers, popular with tourists and locals alike. By this time of day it was very crowded and we were feeling quite tired from the earlier tours so we decided to wait to see it another day and headed back to the train station to board our train back to Platja de Castelldefels.

Once we arrived back in Castelldefels we refreshed ourselves and then went to have dinner. We soon discovered that restaurants in this area of Spain do not open for dinner until 8:00. We were too early to find any restaurants open close to our hotel so we decided to eat in the pub that was located at our hotel.

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