Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.
|Sunday, May 15, 2016 09:29:24|
Spain 2016: 2 Barcelona
Thursday, May 12, 2016
After an early start by taxi to the Puerta Atocha train station we boarded the comfortable 8:30 AM AVE train to Barcelona. The cafeteria car has light snacks and drinks, alcoholic and otherwise. We clipped along over the Spanish countryside at around 300 kph, making only one stop in Zaragoza for an on time arrival to the minute.
A taxi soon got us to the Canadian Consulate located on the first floor of a building facing Plaza Catalunya in city centre. We handed over the paperwork I completed on the train and we were told the temporary passport would be ready in the morning.
Marilynn's cell phone was not doing well with the SIM card, so we went across the street to the Cortes Ingeses department store where Marilynn changed to the Orange network, which seems better. The price again was 15 euros including a gigabyte of internet. We also found an ATM machine in the store, so used Marilynn's debit card to extract enough cash to last us awhile.
We called Petra, who manages the Bonavista Apartments, and she was waiting when we arrived by taxi. The apartment is locate in the Fontana area, an old part of the city where the streets are very narrow and there are many small shops, bars and restaurants. The apartment has a living room with a sofa bed for Stephanie, two beds in the bedroom and a fully equipped kitchen with washer and dryer.
Once settled in we walked down the street, lunching at an Arabic Restaurant before stopping at a small market to purchase breakfast food and other essentials. It is a nice area with friendly people.
After another taxi ride to town we walked around a bit before having dinner at a restaurant very close to the Trivoli Theatre, where we had tickets to see Las Vivancos. They are 7 male dancers that the women thought were very sexy. They played musical instruments and tap danced in boots vertically, and upside down hanging from a scaffold. There were some great special effects in the amazing show, which received 3 standing ovations, one after each encore.
We left very high from the excitement of the show, so stopped where we had dinner for a nightcap before taking a taxi home. The waiter was very free with his pouring - bottles were brought to the table and the measures were surprisingly generous.
Friday, May 13, 2016
We took a taxi to the Canadian Consulate first thing in the morning, and I was handed my new passport, good for one year.
We decided to top off our cash reserves at the Cortes Ingeses department store again, guessing the amount we would need for the rest of the trip, as we were not sure if we could make another ATM work - we had tried others that didn't.
Across the plaza was an open topped double deck bus operated by Barcelona City Tour, so we paid 76 euros for a day hop on hop off pass. We first rode one route, getting a good feel for the city and seeing some amazing buildings, beaches and parks, however we found the staff very unfriendly and minimally helpful. They seemed to resent the customers. We later found out the company was government owned, which helped explain the situation.
After lunch at a Taverna near the plaza we took the same bus line on another route, stopping to take a gondola lift up to a fort that was originally founded before 1073, and updated to its current form in 1753. We next left the bus at an area of buildings depicting architectural styles of different parts of Spain that was built for the 1929 world's fair. The description from the bus was that there were bars and restaurants in the area so we got off to have a drink, however it didn't say that there was a 10 euro per head entrance charge, which would have made a pretty expensive drink, so we chose not to go in. During the long wait for the bus 6 buses from the private company, Barcelona Bus Turistic, went by. We regretted not having booked the tour with them.
Once on the bus I couldn't find the tickets. I checked with Marilynn and she didn't have them, but she had the receipt from the ticket purchase, a receipt from the cable car at the last stop, their earphones & discount books. None of this would do, however, so the woman selling tickets demanded that the driver stop immediately and we were unceremoniously told to get off the bus. We weren't very happy with this outfit anyhow, but that really finished us.
There was a sidewalk bar where we had a drink, then found a taxi to take us to the Barcelona football stadium where Stephanie bought a shirt with a player's name on it at the request of a friend in Costa Rica. We decided to take the subway back home, which required another long uphill hike, however we did figure out how to get tickets. Once in our neighbourhood we walked around until we found a Moroccan Restaurant that was quite good.
Both Stephanie and Marilynn speak Spanish fluently, but are have some difficulty understanding the Catalan dialect - many words are totally different.
Saturday, May 14, 2016
The idea today was to head for the Aquarium, but my knees were very painful, so Marilynn and Stephanie went on their own while I got caught up on some writing. They had a great time. The aquarium has a clear see through passage under the ocean where all kinds of ocean creatures surround people walking along. They both had an excellent time, making a full day of it.
When they returned we went to the interesting taverna next to the apartment, then ended with an excellent meal at a nearby pasta restaurant.