A Travellerspoint blog

Spain

Barcelona to Manchester

An early start

sunny 28 °C
View Our Big 2015 Adventure on kiwiscanflyto's travel map.

We managed to get about four hours sleep with the party and fireworks racket outside the window. As the party finished it was time to get going. We found quite a few tired looking people on the street. I followed Geoff towing my bag down lots of steps to catch the train. I look over the other side and say Geoff we are on the wrong side catching the train going in the wrong direction we hadn't done that before here. Is this a bad omen. We get to central city and rather than the run around on arrival decided to take the express bus as that early not likely to get stuck in traffic. Geoff said that a message had come in on his phone to go to terminal 1 so we took that bus. We get there and a funny feeling came over me when I couldn't find our flight. We should have been at terminal 2 like on our booking information. We were told to catch the shuttle. I thought stuff the shuttle and headed for the taxi. The other terminal was on the other side of the airfield. All well line up in a big queau, travelling Ryan air, then the girl behind the counter mucks about for ages then tells us we haven't booked on line and hands us an account for 90 euros each and tells us we have to go to the counter behind us to pay it. I argue that we have booked on line, I had handed her the paper work that showed we booked on line. She said we were now too late to book on line. She even got the next counter person to agree with her. I then said and then you expect us to line up again. She said we could come straight to the font of the queau. So off we go I was a little fuming!!?!! Finally reached the man handed over the account, he got on the phone then handed it back and said we didn't have to pay it!!! Back to push in the front of the queau. A dirty look and accusations of queau jumping followed. Explanations to those closest and evil glares from lots of others that didn't hear. She apologized but then took another 10 minutes to process us. Geoff was going to take his coat out of the bag as he knew he was overweight. I said leave it and sure enough she said nothing. The silly thing we had gone priority boarding first class Ryan air which is a laugh anyway as you just get more leg room. After adding on luggage it was only another $10.00 to do this. We did get time for breakfast and coffee so all well in the end. We had a good flight to Manchester, we could look down at the views of Spain and France. We said hello to Raphael and Melanie as we flew over Brittany. We get to Manchester and find we join a small queau of the people not from the United Kingdom or Europe. We got handled first. The girl asked why we were visiting when she learned we were doing house swaps she then proceed to have a lengthy conversation she was very nice but you could almost feel the evils boring down your back from the long queaus in waiting. We decided to have something to eat and found a nice french cafe. We only bought a bottle of water on Ryan Air. Then time to find rentals. Walk out and find a sign with an arrow, that was strange it seemed to head up a road. A shuttle bus then pulls up with lots of rental firms on, all but ours, we were told by the green jacket man to hop on the bus. We found we had booked through a new firm who were aligned to euro cars. Mr green jacket turned up as he worked there. It was all good, got a good price and got upgraded by two times the value of the hire care with no extra cost to us. Off we head to our hotel in Manchester.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 13:46 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Last day in Barcelona

Our trip finished with a bang

sunny 30 °C
View Our Big 2015 Adventure on kiwiscanflyto's travel map.

It was our last day so we hopped on our train to see what was at the end of the line two stops away. Not much so back on the train to go to the other end of the line thinking beach. We get off and no beach nothing much there, silly us. Get back on the train and hop off at the Olympic park area. It is a good place to walk around. We found a nice restaurant near a marina for lunch. Had a nice lunch and a fruited iced drink. Too much information but like a bullet train to the system. We took photos and wandered around then walked back along the seafront towards the Centre of Barcelona where the promenade starts. We got invited to go up to a restaurant in the top floor in a historical building so up we went. Used the flash loos. Walked through the restaurant, took photos on their balcony got the lift and went back down without going into the restaurant to spend any money, did our last walk down the promenade taking in the atmosphere, always plenty of things happening along here. We found a place for coffee looked around some shops didn't buy anything. When we got back to our local area we went for a walk and kept finding more and more shops. We saw a big queau outside an outside stall. On investigation found that they were lined up to buy fireworks. We finally found somewhere for dinner had to go inside as there was a shower of rain. Ummm not much Spanish spoken here and no English on the menu. We saw a photo of meat hanging from skews with dips and chips so ordered that. The pork wasn't available so the waiter started flapping his arms like a chicken. Had to laugh thought it would be me doing that. We got back in time to pack then it was all on. The fireworks started non stop. We had a Birdseye view from where we were. We noticed the restaurant by the swimming pool putting out lots of tables. On the other side saw people lined up with their chilly bins, eskies or whatever. Finally at 10.00 pm spanish time they started to poor in. The loud music then started but was getting drowned out with the sound of the fireworks. Geoff did the vacuuming and then we couldn't find the skitterish fluffy grey cat. It was sitting very scared on the windowsill with open air beneath and five stories up not the best look. Geoff managed to rescue it and shut it in the cat room. The music and carried on till 4.00 am. The fireworks kept going all night. Not sure what the celebration was. When we arrived the fireworks were celebrating a footie game. They are passionate about their soccer with some apartments displaying their flags on their balconies. We didn't do any washing while here as it would have been hanging with a five story drop and if we had lost something we didn't think we had the Spanish speaking skills to get into the inner coughtyard to retrieve it!!! So our trip to Barcelona finished with a bang. Great week I would highly recommend.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 13:02 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Coastal Train trip to Sitges

Fun in the sun

sunny 31 °C

We were told by at least three people that we should take a trip to Sitges. This is a seaside resort North of Barcelona. We managed to find where to catch the train in Central city. It was a pleasant trip with about three stops along the way. This is an attractive place with lots of shops and homes in narrow alley ways that lead to lots of beaches. It was very warm. It was gay pride week so there were lots of tourists in Sitges. On looking at my photos later I found that one was rather x rated as there were quite a few nudists in it. The old part of the resort was a good place to look around we looked on with interest when a truck was negotiating the narrow alley ways. There were lots of impressive sculptures at the beach. We had lunch at a seaside restaurant, we were fascinated by a girl near us who had obviously had her lips pumped up with something. I am not sure she had looked at her side reflection, she did get out a mirror at one stage to check herself over it was interesting what places she checked out!!! We enjoyed walking around and later had a coffee and delicious pastry that we shared before we headed back. We lept on the train then started wondering what the station was called where we got on the first train. We knew it had made 3 stops so all was sorted. Soon the train was up to 6 stops and we were thinking ummmm. Finally they said it was at central station so we hopped off. Central Station didn't turn out to be central city so here we were up in the surface trying to get our bearings. Eventually we spotted the red hop on hop off buses. We had the map associated with them so watched which way they turned. We were then able to work out which direction the city was so we walked back. I then decided that I wanted to visit the Casa Batllo, there were always lots of people surrounding this building taking lots of photos. It is one of Gaudis most characteristic works. It's original facade is topped by ceramic tiles reminiscent of fish scales, resembling the backbone of a dragon. We did the photo thing on the top balcony. We enjoyed our visit here, Gaudi always surprises you with his innovative designs. Well worth the visit. We then headed back to our suburb for dinner. Another delicious well priced dinner sitting people watching and surrounded by spanish speaking people. Another great day

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 14:41 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

La Sagrada Familia

A dream come true visiting this amazing church

sunny 30 °C
View Our Big 2015 Adventure on kiwiscanflyto's travel map.

Our on off bus pass had finished the day before so we decided to walk to this basilica. It was about a 1/2 hour walk, I just followed Geoff as my sense of direction leaves a lot to be desired. We arrived in plenty of time just had to find the building where we had to meet up with the tour guide. We asked at the hop on hop off buses and soon got directed to a building called Julia or something like that. We followed our guide with the rest of the party straight into the site. Because this building is so long in the making we were interested to learn that they are starting to talk of a finish date. Apparently they hope to finish in 2026. 100 years from when Gaudi died in hospital two days after being hit by a train. He was mourned by all Catalonia and is buried in a crypt of the Sagrada Familia. This place is an example of Gaudis unique art nouveau architecture and is filled with religious symbolism and meaning. The Centre tower is still to be added. The height of this to be one Metre less than the nearby hill, Montjuic andad he believed his work should not surpass that of God. The building has many different styles on the outside. Everything on the building has its own meaning. When you go inside this huge building it is a surprise as the interior is so different to the outside. Everything is on a massive scale especially the pillars. Gaudi had given a lot of thought to the effects of the light coming through the stained glass windows. The gold floating Christmas sculpture is contraversial I liked it. It was just so great to be in this building absorbing the whole place I didn't want to leave. I can imagine the celebration in Spain when this place is finished there will be an explosion of fireworks over the city as that seems to happen when they are celebrating an event. We also looked through the school Gaudi built in the ground. Gaudi spent 40 years of his life working on the Basilica, living like a hermit in a workshop on the site. When questioned about the slow pace he replied "my client is not in a hurry". Sunday was a good day to visit this area as we saw bands side stalls and dancing in the park. Also Sundays are the only day that workmen are not working on the basilica making lots of noise. The construction is now funded by the tourists that visit. We walked back to the city. On the way back we ate at a tapa cafe. Delicious the smoked hams in Spain are so yummy. We then decided to visit Casa Batllo. Everytime we went by this place it was surrounded by photographers. It was the result of a restoration of a conventional house Guadi used for it the typical constructive elements of modernism (Catalan art nouveau) that included ceramics, stone and forged iron. It was criticized for its radical design that broke city bylaws. In 1906 it was awarded by the council as one of the three best buildings of the year. We had our photo taken on one of the top balconies. We eventually made it to the top of the building, took far too many photos. That evening we had a nice meal locally. It was 1/2 the price of the city restaurants.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 13:48 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Park Guell and Tibidabo (Barcelona)

Out and about in Barcelona on a Saturday

We hopped back on the hop on hop off green bus as we were planning on visiting the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, the assistant on the bus talked us out of it and convinced us we should book a trip through their firm for the next day to avoid the queaus. We are still not sure if we were conned or not, never the less we changed our plans and alighted at Park Guell, a place I had always wanted to visit. There is a steep hill to walk up and some elevators in the steepest parts. You certainly need to do some of these sites while you are fit. On getting there us along with most others discovered that only 400 people allowed in at once the earliest we could book was for 1 1/2 hours time so decided to wait there was a park you could wander around in and conveniently a very busy food place. You were only allowed to stay at the tables under shady umbrellas if you were eating of drinking. The waiters were hovering so we ate very slowly and drank our lemon drinks very slowly then dare I say it had an ice cream to extend the time. There were lots of hawkers in the area selling their usual wares. Finally we got to walk around Park Guell. I would recommend this, we seemed to have a very Guadi time in Spain. It was meant to be a garden City but was a failure with only two homes built on the site. He must have started with the garden strustructures. The city council bought it and turned it into a public park one of Barcelonas main tourist attractions so it really wasn't a failure in the long run. This was well worth a visit with lots of interesting gaudi structures, he certainly didn't like straight lines. The two main buildings in this park look like something out of a fairy tale. It was a very warm day. We finally got down the hill and recaught the bus, it was the same bus it had done a complete round of the city the bus assistant recognized us. We hopped off the next stop. Ran across the wide road just managed to catch the tram up the hill, not cheap, a steep hill as we had already walked as far as the cable car before this. We then caught the cable car Tibidabo funicular to the top of the hill it was on rails. You can bus up here. We arrived at Parc D'Atraccions Tibidabo, for some reason they built a fun park up in the mountains many years ago. Some of the original attractions are still at this park like a two tiered carousel. It is quite an amazing site. Over looking the amusement park is the Santa Maria church built between 1570 and 1587 in late Gothic style. There is a massive church underneath then another large church on top. The interior is beautiful. This place was busy with lots of people enjoying the attractions and restaurants. There was a fashion show taking place and a wedding also. There were amazing views over Barcelona. The place is surrounded by a national park. We got the cable car then walked down the rest of the way and there was a bus waiting. Had dinner in a square in the city. There are so many restaurants here. We didn't eat till 9.30 pm normal spanish dining time.

Posted by kiwiscanflyto 14:00 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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