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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Barcelona 2

After Sagrada Familia I set off for the beach area. As had been the case on my last visit to Mexico City, I had the use of a card for the bike sharing system, Bicing, in Barcelona thanks to Sergi and, again, this really opened things up for me in Barcelona.

A rare selfie (thankfully)

First I thought I could get there by bike and set off past the impressive National Palace and Montjuic park where the Olympic site is.

Palau Naciomal built for the World Fair in 1929

I soon realized that it was unrealistic to bike to the beach so went back to the metro where I saw that one could get a tramway to the top of the Montjuic hill. Turned out that the tram wasn't operating but a special bus was so I got on board. Part way up, the bus ended and another tram that was working went the rest of the way. The views over the ocean and port were impressive.

Hearing that there was a nice, easy walk down, I set off but the way wasn't clear and I somehow got off track and wound up thoroughly wearing myself out but managed to find my way back to Plaza Espana from where I biked to the waterfront. The crowds were impressive as might be understandable on this beautiful, warm day.

A wide esplanade with bike lanes follows the waterfront and eventually leads to the beach which was covered with oiled sunbathers. I dangled my hot toes in the Mediterranean and strolled the sand for a bit before setting off to find a spot for lunch off the beaten track. Not a successful venture owing to the unsatisfactory nature of the restaurant I chose. The beer was fine but the little salty fish I ordered were nasty and the service was bad. There is often a different standard for servers here and when they're not serving, they seem to stand around smoking and talking on their cell phones. I grabbed a bike and cycled back along the water to Las Ramblas, the famous broad boulevard that was lined with mostly tacky shops and wall to wall with tourIsts. I'd heard that many locals are fed up with having their city overtaken and I could see why. This having no attraction for me, I cycled back to Sergi's.

Now a word about the cycling and walking infrastructure. This is a city designed for both and the sidewalks are wide, often with a bike lane incorporated and there are separated bike lanes as well.

The Gran boulevards often have a treed walk in the middle also with bike lanes.

The metro is fantastic as well and one can not only get to all parts of the city easily but to areas outside the city, connections to trains and sometimes tramways and funiculars to high places, all on the same tickets.

The second day began with Park Güell another of Gaudi's more famous works containing several of his predictably outlandish building and a large park. It was a long, steep walk, thankfully assisted by escalators, up to the park and at the top visitors are greeted by......


Once inside the park it's not hard to see why. One can hardly see the Gaudi features for tourists who mostly seem intent on doing selfies. Nonetheless, you can still see what it is that attracts us all, the whimsical, whacky Gaudi creations are pretty arresting and my thought upon seeing the first of the park's creations was that he was an extraterrestrial.

Ceilings features

Walking through the park to the top of the hill was less crowded and there were some great views.

French architect Jean Nouvel's Agbar Tower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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