Mini-vacation to Barcelona

A little late, but better late than never.

A few weeks ago, Anais and I went to Barcelona for a few days. Though, technically it was just one full day. We arrived late on Tuesday (April the 5th) and left for the airport around noon on Thursday April the 7th.

Our hotel (Hotel Urquinaona) was located fairly close to the Plaça de Catalunya, a massive square with a lot of buses. The Aerobus from the airport had its last stop there, so the location seemed ideal. We landed around 9.15pm and got to the plaça about half an hour later. Now, normally my sense of direction is fairly good, but that night it was a bit wonky. So much so that we initially walked into the wrong direction and wandered around Barcelona in the dark.

At around 10:30pm we had found the hotel(Almost giving up and finding a cab or something) and got our room key. Then the second challenge presented itself: Getting the lights on. I had never come across a system like this and it really is quite genius. Turns out that they have this little box with a slit that neatly fit the plastic card attached to the room key. After sliding said card in there, the AC and all the lights we had switched on in our search turned on. Brilliant. No losing the room key, no needless waste of electricity by forgetting to turn the lights and/or TV off. Too tired to do anything else, we layed down and watched some Spanish TV.

The next day we got up bright and early(Surprisingly) to be total tourists in Barcelona. Before leaving the hotel, the receptionist told us to leave the key with her. Handy, they’re really not taking any chances of people losing their room key.

Our first stop would be the Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, in its unfinished glory. We decided to go there by foot. On the way we got breakfast and a map. I can assure you, even with the map you can feel lost about twice every block. It’s weird really, because it is pretty neatly structured. But anyway, on the way we passed by Casa Mila and took some pictures of it. We didn’t go in simply because it was way too crowded. Then again, so was the Sagrada Familia temple. We got the elevator tickets, despite the fact that we’d have to wait till 1.30pm to get on. It was around 12 – 12.30 at the time. It was worth the wait though, because the view from up there is pretty amazing.

Our next stop turned out to be Casa Battló, another of Gaudi’s creations. We came by on our way back to the hotel(Taking my coat that morning wasn’t a very smart thing to do and I had intended to drop it off at the hotel after we did the things north of it). This place, for the most part, is really an attraction for those interested in architecture. Much of its features are peculiar one way or another and a lot seems to be inspired by the ocean. The most peculiar, to me anyway, was the way he decided to place two columns right in front of the doorway into the garden. Interesting decision, has to be said.

At this point, it was closing in on dinner time and we hadn’t had lunch yet, so after a short stop at the hotel we got some dinner and headed for our next destination: the Picasso museum. You’d think this place would be easy to find, but the opposite seemed to be true. We were following the signs, but there apparently was a street we were supposed to go into and we didn’t and we ended up a few blocks too far at the Zoological museum. So then we headed back and we basically kept going around the museum in a circle trying to find it. When we eventually did find it, it was interesting but also a bit of a let-down as most of his more “famous” works were nowhere to be found.

This was our final stop for the day and we headed back for the hotel to get some well deserved sleep. The next day, before we left for the airport, we had lunch at the nearby Hard Rock café which was quite awesome as well. Good food too.

The end of our stay in Barcelona ended as crappy as it began: Our flight was delayed an hour. Now, that alone isn’t really too bad. I didn’t really expect otherwise from a low-budget airline like EasyJet, but what made it somewhat worse were the other passengers. Namely, the big group of Dutch highschoolers that were pretty loud and couldn’t even stop talking for one moment to listen to the announcement about their flight.

So all in all, a very nice getaway and I’m sure we’ll be back sometime to check out all the stuff we’ve missed.