—27 April 2012—
I woke up and checked the time and it was 10:38??? Couldn’t believe it. Of course, it was 1:38 AM in San Diego, so I guess we were ahead of the game on adjusting to the time change. We skipped the shower, dressed and headed for Gaudí’s famed Sagrada Familia church. After consultation with the front desk, we set out for the closest Metro stop. The weather was gray and in the 60’s and we were amazed at the winter attire everyone seemed to be wearing. I stayed in shirt sleeves at least half of the day.
The Metro was just over a block away. The walk took us right past Ciudad Condal where we dined the night before. They were now serving croissants and sandwiches, so we stopped for breakfast. (Very glad we didn’t pre-pay breakfast at the hotel, which we slept through!) We each had a sandwich made on a baguette about 6 inches long and 2 fingers wide filled with chicken, tomato and cheese. Jerry drank cafe au lait and I had a bottle of water.
We continued a few hundred feet to the Metro station. There were no attendants, but the ticket machines were easy enough to figure out (thank you, college Spanish), and the directional signage worked like the DC Metro, so we proceeded without a hitch. The third stop brought us to the church. Started in 1882 and still unfinished, they are hoping to finish it by 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death. We took photos from outside and then determined, with the help of a fellow tourist, where the ticket line started. It was almost 2 blocks long, but moved surprisingly fast. Using Rick Steves as our guide, we toured inside and out and took lots of pictures on the on the camera and both iPhones. (Have to do iPhone to post on FB!)
After some discussion and map study, we got back on the Metro and headed for La Rambla, another Rick Steves “must see.” This time, we had to change lines to get to Plaça Catalunya, and the walk was suprisingly long between, but in the end our ride – just one stop – brought us up directly facing La Rambla … perfect! We walked maybe half way down and back, looking for an outside cafe for a lunch stop. In the end, we headed toward the hotel and stopped at a restaurant a couple of blocks short of there. We split a pitcher of sangria and shared a couple of tapas. I was eyeing the gelato with a plan to get some before we left Barcelona.
We stopped at the front desk for some help regarding dinner. Jerry wanted paella. I thought flaminco would be fun, but timing didn’t work out for combining both. So we made an 8:00 PM reservation for Casa Dario and walked the 4 blocks there when the hour arrived. We had a wonderful dinner. Beautiful salad, delicious paella. We were the first diners seated and felt under dressed in the presence of waiters in suits and ties, but others arrived shortly after, and many men were in jeans, so all was well. I think our tip was pretty generous, because we were presented with herbal digestifs “on the house.” 🙂 We walked back to the hotel, did some email and FB in the lobby, and again it was almost midnight when we got to bed.