Trips in 2013: Barcelona.



To pick up where I left off, we left for Barcelona on Monday evening. I am very anti-Ryanair in general but they currently fly from Kalmar to Girona and I couldn't deny that being able to travel from our tiny airport rather than travel those four hours to Copenhagen first would be incredibly convenient. We were up in the air little over an hour after we caught the bus to the airport from where we live! Three hours later we landed in Spain and caught the bus to central Barcelona and from there we took a taxi to our hotel. We marvelled at how incredibly short the journey was, especially compared to our last trip abroad.

Tuesday started with a delicious hotel breakfast and then we headed into the city centre to begin the sightseeing. As you might recall I went to Barcelona briefly last summer so it wasn't all new to me, which made getting around easier and I had an idea of which sights I wanted to revisit and what I'd missed out on last time. We braced the 30 degree heat and walked from the top of La Rambla to the harbour where we had paella for lunch and did some shopping. On the way we spent some time exploring the La Boqueria market that I missed last time and it was just as incredible as I'd heard - all that fresh fruit and everything else you could think of.



In the harbour we found something really cool, namely the location of the high diving discipline of the 2013 World Aquatics Championships. This wasn't cool because we care about the competition in general as much as because Per had been watching the men's competition just before we left for the airport the previous day (mostly because there was nothing else on). Little did we know then that we'd find ourselves in that very location in real life less than 24 hours later.




Once we left the harbour we walked to the Parc de la Ciutadella that I went past last year but didn't get a chance to visit. It was really pretty, but by then we'd had enough of the heat so we didn't stay very long before we caught the metro back to the hotel.



Our hotel wasn't in the best location but it was just a short walk away from the metro as well as a huge shopping centre, so we didn't mind so much. The mall was a great place to escape from the heat and we spent quite a bit of time there. Our hotel had a rooftop pool that we made sure to go swimming in, and the view from the pool area on the 10th floor certainly wasn't bad.




On Wednesday we went on one of those hop-on-hop-off tours of the city. Per wanted to go because he'd never been on one and I figured it would be a good way to get to the main sights. It was terribly warm on top of the buses so we didn't stay on for the whole tour though.

One of our stops was the Sagrada Familia church because of course you can't go to Barcelona without seeing it. Just as last year the area around the church was terribly crowded, and the line to get into the church was ridiculous! Thank goodness we weren't interested in seeing it from the inside.



We also visited Park Güell which I loved just as much as last year. I hoped I'd get to see a bit more of the park than I did last time, but it was just too warm to stay out in the sun for very long. Walking to the park and back to the bus stop was exhausting enough.





By Thursday we knew better than to venture outside during the warmest time of day so we spent a good few hours exploring the mall and did quite a bit of shopping. I found the selection pretty overwhelming now that I am used to the limited shopping that Kalmar has to offer lol.

Late in the afternoon we went back to the Montjuïc hill that we'd visited briefly the previous day. We took the driver-less tram (an experience on its own for someone who finds public transport systems as fascinating as I do) and then got on the Montjuïc Cable Car. The view from the cable cars was amazing and we agreed that going on it was the thing we enjoyed the most about our stay in Barcelona. We got off at the Montjuïc Castle station and walked around it for a bit, taking in the panoramic views of the city and the harbour. It was so nice up there, far less crowded than central Barcelona and by then the sun had sunk lower in the sky so it was really pleasant outside. Later in the evening we did brace the crowds again though when we went to look at the Magic Fountains of Montjuïc, another sight you shouldn't miss if you go to Barcelona.





On Friday we went back to the mall again and then it was time to check out of the hotel and make our way back to the airport. The trip went smoothly and we were back in Kalmar by seven in the evening. All in all I enjoyed the trip and I'm glad we went, but I do think it must be better to explore Barcelona in the autumn or spring when it's less warm. I don't mind crowds so much, and lord knows Barcelona is filled with them, but in combination with the extreme heat it got to be a bit too much. I am quite happy to be back in little Kalmar and the far more enjoyable 25-degree heat for the time being, but I do hope I get the opportunity to go back to Barcelona again someday.

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