Friday, January 28, 2011

RENFE to Cerbere (May 17, 2010)

The two days spent in Barcelona were two of the most wonderful of my life. Barcelona is a huge city and it is so easy to get lost in its winding streets and alleys.

The architecture too is out of this world and nothing symbolises this better than the still unfinished La Sagrada Familia by the maestro Gaudi. This forms one of the tallest skyscrapper in Barcelona and is a sight to behold.

To get from the airport to the city there is a bus service (4+ EUR), and also a RENFE train service (3 EUR). The bus is more convenient and takes you to Catalunya square, while the train is inexpensive, but has more stops including the Sants train station.

The hostel we stayed in is the Sant Jordi on Arago. It is a wonderful party hostel and I would recommend it to someone who wants to have wild nights of drinking and partying. We landed on Saturday night and went out for a few drinks at La Oveja Negra just off Las Ramblas were i got a pitcher full of Sangria and that was friggin' awesome. After this tapas at a nearby bar and finally sleep took over at around 2.

Next day we were off for a quick walk through Las Ramblas to the beach. Las Ramblas is a popular pedestrian street with lots and lots of people about. Be wary of pickpockets as it has a reputation for it. Nearby is Catalunya Square which is also a recommended location to be at.

The beach is nice, but not lots of people venture into the water. Looked like a lot of people were sunbathing topless, and I have to say that this beach had a lot of topless women.

After our time in the sun we roamed about in the old streets of Barcelona near the Cathedral and various museums. It was wonderful to get lost here and the streets were even more stunning as we walked through them.

After 3pm on Sunday entrance is free to the Musee Picasso, and we entered to take a look at the masters work. Being not too into art we liked it, but couldnt understand it. It is a worthwhile experience especially when it is for free.

Finally our last stop was the Sagrada Familia, and along the way we also took in the Arc de Triomf. Gaudis masterpiece is worth taking a look at, even from the outside it is a stunning vision of one who could only be said is a mad man, but it is beautiful. The cross, the way he potrays the disciples, the words written on it – its a cathedral fit for a big budget hollywood movie.

Tired we returned home, and the soccer game was on at 7.30, and if FC Barcelona won against Vallajedo they would win the La Liga. They duly did it 4-0 while we drank sangrias, and that blew the entire city apart. There was dancing on the streets, and not to be outdone pretty much the entire hostel was out screaming and dancing on the roads and Catalunya square. This experience will rate very highly in my memories of this trip.

After lots of dancing and drinking and a bit of singing at a Karaoke bar nearby me and Nik headed home for some well deserved sleep.

Monday morning saw us take the Funicular to Mount Montjuic which has a castle at the top. This provides some stunning views of the entire city of Barcelona and for me is a trip worth taking. There is a cable car which takes you from this funicular to the castle but at 10 EUR i would advise that one just walks the 20 minutes to the top for a really wonderful sight.

Nik enjoyed this and I have to say I was very excited to see how much we had walked laid out in front of us. And when I bid goodbye to Sophie at the front desk of the hostel I did feel emotional to leave this city too. I want to come back here again and spend more than 2 days – maybe a week, or a month or a year. This isnt going to happen – I know that, but one can always wish!

My next stop is Toulouse, and our trip involved buying a train ticket at the Sants station for a regional train to Cerbere, and once we get there we already have a ticket booked to Toulouse on the french site tgv-europe. We will be back in Spain in June at the end of our trip, but for now its Adios Spain and Bon Jour France.

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