Thursday, 20 September 2012

Back in Barca and it feels good!

Day 149 19.09.12 Barcelona

Fountain in the Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona, Spain

Antigua casa figueres on Las Ramblas in Barcelona
We woke up surprisingly early despite our late night and spent most of the morning lazing around and writing.  On a couple of occasions it pours it down with rain which will hopefully clean the solar panel a little.  Once the rain cleared up we headed out to check out the local area.  We’re surrounded by innovatively designed hotels and corporate high-rises.  It definitely feels like the van is safer here than in other areas of the city.  We soon find a large shopping complex just a few minutes’ walk from the van which is another ticked box on the ‘ideal parking spot’ list.  There’s a supermarket, decent toilet facilities and free (if frustratingly slow wifi).  It’s a good job too as the rain came back heavier than ever leaving us trapped in the centre until it stopped!  After lunch and some more writing we set out to the centre of the city to have a wander around and grab a map and festival programme from the tourist office. 

We came to Barcelona for my birthday years ago so we know our way around pretty well and are familiar with most of the highlights of the festival.  Our parking spot is a bit of a way out of town but thanks to Barcelona’s ludicrously simple grid pattern layout we just have one wide boulevard to walk down following the tram tracks until we get to Park de la Ciutadella in the centre.  It’s a wonderful huge green space with a spectacular fountain.  Just as we arrive at the gold topped fountain the sun finally appears through the grey clouds that have been around all morning.  There’s lots of activity with workmen setting up stages for performances during the fiesta.  

Arc de Triomf in Barcelona, SpainUp from the park is Barcelona’s grand Arc de Triomf.  We enjoy wandering through the streets, pop into a church or too and generally enjoy soaking up the atmosphere.   We both adore this city and it’s fantastic to be back.  We eventually find our way to the famous Las Ramblas and it’s busy as ever!  Thankfully the tourist kiosk has maps laid out in front and the culture centre has fiesta timetables albeit in Castellon not Spanish or English for that matter! 

To escape the bustle we head to the huge market area.  It’s an explosion of colour in there and we can’t help but treat ourselves to some of the sumptuous looking fruit salads on display.  They didn’t disappoint.

Onwards we went to the labyrinth of streets of Las Ramblas which are some of our favourites.  Its amazing that in such a bustling cosmopolitan capital these quirky streets can stay in business.  They are full of vegetarian cafes, rock bars and hippy clothes shops.  It’s a little rough around the edges but there’s a lovely bohemian feel to the place that’s the perfect antidote to the sometimes overwhelming Las Ramblas.

After a fair amount more aimless wandering and snapping away at amazing buildings we head along the port front and then up to the Icaria cinema.  It has screens showing films in their original language and we’re hoping to see Dredd.  No such joy unfortunately, they seem to be a little behind on the new releases and the guy behind the counter is little help in informing us whether they’ll get the film any time soon.

A little dejected we head back to the van zig-zagging up the grid pattern streets to see what we can find.  Its already pretty late by now so time for some dinner and more gaming before bed.  We’re both exhausted and desperate to catch up on sleep.  Even so it’s awesome to be back in Barcelona and I can’t wait to be back up and exploring the city again tomorrow.

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