The ‘required’ early start to the day was not necessary, as we were showering one hour before due time. Our new friends at the Hotel Scandinavia were so kind in preparing an early breakfast for us prior to the cobblestone walk, with roller cases dragging behind, to our water taxi pick-up point. The transfer to the airport by water taxi takes about 15 minutes.
Flying with the Iberia Airlines ‘cheaper version’ (Vueling Airlines) to Barcelona was an uneventful flight but the walk through the terminal became an experience in itself. I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised; a modern, spacious building with a purposeful design that allows free-flow of passenger movements. The coach/hire car access is at ground level and gigantic. Sydney and Melbourne airport authorities, forgot to check this airport design for their expansion requirements for into the future.
When you have a surname the same as a country, you always want to visit that country and today, my 65-year-old dream came true. A thought came to mind that I should ‘kiss the ground on which I stood” but that practice is reserved for pilgrims returning, or popes. But I am in Spain – Yeah!!!! For those who don’t know, when I was a kid, we lived in Barcelona Street in Box Hill, Melbourne; even more reason to ‘kiss the ground”. Last year, I took a course in conversational Spanish prior to our tour of South America but my memory of the phrases is so ‘grey’ that I never completed the course – oh, one day, you never know. (Is there anyone out there who would like to do a Skype Spanish tutoring course with me as the only student?) Now the saying “The rain in Spain ……” is well know but today has been bright sunshine with a touch of warmth, although a chilly breeze came through later in the day.
The very fast (120kph) transfer to the city was done in 20-25 minutes to our apartments right in the main street of Barcelona. Streets are wide boulevards with a wide central lane for pedestrians as well as conventional sidewalks on each side of the street. The streets are busy with a hive of people, scooters, and taxis.
Our expansive accommodation is no comparison to the small rooms in Venice. The ‘fast-food’ lunch was a Spanish omelette – filling and delicious.
Most cities have a hop-on, hop-off open topped double decker bus system and this allows you to travel around to the various touristy spots to hop off and investigate at wish. We chose to ‘stay on the bus’ to the end. The route, and commentary, included areas relating to the Olympic Games event held way back in 1992. Our itinerary is known as the Red Route; tomorrow we may take the Blue Route, and maybe the Green Route in the afternoon.
After a one-hour break in the room, it was time to explore again. Wandering down the main boulevard of the city, our eyes were attracted to an interesting way to advertise some retail therapy. Further on, we came across one of the 50 market places in Barcelona. The colour and freshness of the food was very impressive. Chocolate douched strawberries are a delight; I found out. We just may come back tomorrow to sample the tempting fresh fruit for breakfast.
When you’re on tour, you want to try some of the local foods. For our evening meal, we tried paella. Paella is a large dish of rice and vegetables, sometimes with seafood, chicken or beef included – a bit like fried rice that we are used to. This was another adequate filling meal. It was good to catch up on what Lindley has been up to since we were in the same class at high school in Melbourne over 50 years ago. We met up again on Facebook a few years ago and Lindley decided to come on this trip due to the advertising twelve months ago.
Tiredness set in early and won outright at 9:30pm. Tomorrow is free time to visit parts of this interesting and, fast becoming, modern city.