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World Trip 2011


SPAIN | Wednesday, 30 November 2011 | Views [684]

Time is of the essence when it comes to ripping around Europe in three weeks and this lead us to the overnight train from Bilbao to Barcelona. The train companies deliberately make the seats semi- uncomfortable so that you are more inclined to purchase a sleeping cabin. We didn’t though because we are too cheap. This meant another uncomfortable trip. We found our hostel after a short cab ride and the central location was perfect for exploring the city. So many people had recommended Barcelona over Madrid and we weren’t disappointed. The first day we went to the Segrada Familia, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. His famous church is so detailed that it has to be seen to be believed. It would have been even more spectacular if it wasn’t for all the construction, scaffolding and cranes that hung from all sides. It has been under construction since 1882 and isn’t planned on being finishing until 2026—the centennial of Gaudí's death. However, with the current austerity measures, who knows when it will be finished. During our walks around Barcelona we utilised the opportunity to taste the local flavours such as chorizo,paella and sangria, probably too much sangria actually. We went and checked out the beach which is on the Mediterranean and to my surprise, there were people surfing. The waves were about waist high and there was a definite buzz of excitement on the beach, as I wouldn’t think they get too many good days around these parts.   

On our second and final day in Barcelona we had to go straight to the train station to get tickets to Lisbon as our existing plane tickets had been cancelled due to a strike at the airport in Portugal. There is definitely an air of discontent with the current state of the economy throughout Europe and with some areas having unemployment rates as high as 30%; it is easy to see why. After getting our tickets for another night train we put our bags in a storage locker and walked down to Placa d’ Espanya area where the grand Museu National d’ Art Catalunya  building sits proudly on top of a hill overlooking Barcelona. The 1992 Olympic stadium is in the same vicinity as well as parks, gardens, monuments and museums. On our way back to the train station, we cruised up Las Ramblas and pulled in at an old bullring that has been converted into a shopping mall due to the fact that bull fighting has been outlawed in Barcelona since 2010.  In summary, Barcelona is a great city that has a cosmopolitan feel to it, yet retains much of its history through its architecture and proud Spanish people. It was a shame that we only had two days to explore.

So now it’s onto Portugal!

Tags: barcelona, gaudi, mediterranean, paella, sangria, segrada familia

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