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Adventures of a short vet

New country, new adventure!

UNITED KINGDOM | Sunday, 3 October 2010 | Views [507]

Even Dr Nick was impressed

Even Dr Nick was impressed

With another month of work under my belt and the weather starting to turn colder in the UK I decided it was time to go in search of sunnier skies. I’d booked in an Intrepid Active trip with a couple of friend starting in mid-October and had a couple of weeks to kill, so decided to fly to Spain and travel down the east coast from Barcelona to Valencia and then inland to Madrid, where I would catch my next flight to Marrakech.

Once again I was lucky enough to arrive in Barcelona with no luggage lost. Thanks to a little bit of research and with the help of my handy little Spanish phrase book I was able to find the Aerobus easily enough and caught it to Placa Catalunya. The driver helpfully pointed out the direction of the Passeig De Gracia, which I followed to find my hostel, Arago Sant Jordi right where my scribbled directions said it would be. The staff was very friendly and, despite being advertised as quieter than their sister “party hostel” Sant Alberg, they would go out every night from 11pm to join the other hostels in town.

The following day was a big one. I started off walking down the famous “La Rambla” checking out the street performers and stalls (including a pet stall with some of the smallest hamsters I’ve ever seen!) before visiting the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia where there are 13 resident ducks living in the central courtyard. I then walked up to the Olympic Stadium where the 1992 games were held before catching the cable car up to Montjuic Castle for an impressive view of the port. Also seems to be a very popular running spot, though I wouldn’t choose to run at midday even in the autumn heat!

After wandering around the castle I walked down to the port and back towards the Columbus Monument at the lower end of La Rambla. Imagine my surprise when I turned around, camera in hand from taking photos of the port, to see a random naked man standing in the middle of the sidewalk! Well, not completely naked. He did have sandals on. I hurriedly put may camera away lest he get any ideas about posing for a photo! Port Vell seems to be the place to hang out on a sunny afternoon and there were plenty of people chilling out on the docks enjoying the sunshine. I decided to visit the aquarium, which was nice but not worth the 17euro it cost. Though it was fun watching the octopi and seeing how quickly their colour changes when they became angry or scared.

On the way back up La Rambla I stopped in at the St Josep Market (or Merkat de la Boqueria), a massive covered market full of fresh produce stalls. Once again, thanks to tips from other travelers, I knew not to buy a fresh juice from the front stalls, but got a cheaper deal from the stalls a little further back. They have an amazing selection of juices all freshly made and just the thing after a long walk. La Rambla definitely comes alive at night, and the street performers were amazing – living statues, magicians and musicians all trying to outdo each other.

I finally arrived back at the hostel after 9pm and was far too knackered to even think about hitting the town.

Tags: barcelona, cathedral, la rambla, monjuic, naked man, olympic stadium, spain

 

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