Wednesday, October 06, 2010


 27 Septiembre (Lunes) - We awoke full of hope but it was quickly dashed as we found we still had no internet.  Robb called the owner and she, again, promised we would have it by noon, but again it was a broken promise.  Yes, it can be a blessing to be off the internet for awhile, but aside from keeping this journal updated,  I need to be able to get into my bank account to move money around and make sure my bills are being paid.  I also have to be able to upload pictures to Flickr and videos to You Tube and that sometimes takes quite a while, so if I get behind, it can take hours to catch up.  Also, there is no facility for uploading at the internet place.  We walked down to the internet cafe, but every terminal was taken and there was a waiting list. 
We decided to go for a walk.  We walked down to Borbó and walked to the beach.  Once at the beach, we decided to walk to the Hotel Wilson, passing an interesting sculpture and a lot of naked people, mostly older people but equally men and women. It was very windy and quite cool, even in the sun.
We had a look around the Wilson and then caught the bus back to the Borbó. 
Dinner tonight was at Dunne's Irish Pub, where we could see this view from our table.  Robb had Shepherd's Pie, and I had Irish Stew.  They were both very good, and our waiter, David from England, was exceptionally good.
28 Septiembre (Martes) - Still no internet, so we walked down to the internet place, checked our email and I left a message on OD.  Robb heard from Luc, our Parisian landlord, and things are looking better.  He had earlier informed us that there would be construction going on there during our stay, but it now appears they're putting it off until after we leave.
On the way back to the apartment, Robb stopped and bought a pair of shorts, I bought a litre of milk. 
Around 13h30, we went up and caught the 17 bus uptown to view the Cathedral of Barcelona and then tour the Roman ruins discovered beneath the city.  It was so much more than the tiny thing we saw in Frankfurt.  In spite of its size (4,000 square metres), it was very difficult to find.  If I hadn't been curious about a courtyard, we would probably still be looking for it.  That was further indicated by the near lack of people wandering through.  There is a lot to see and they're still uncovering more each day.  You're not supposed to take photos, but I managed to snap a rendering of the original Barcelona (called Barcino) and a passageway that goes who knows where since the public is not permitted to follow it.  The original city was surrounded by a huge wall with 80 towers that were more for show than protection.  It was so worth the visit.
After our tour, we walked up to get a shot of the Plaza de la Constitution and the administration building just across the square.
On the way back to the apartment, we stopped at the Mercat where we bought some bread and cheese, as well as a couple of other things.
We had planned to walk up to Toc de Mar for dinner, but we passed El Lobito, looked in and decided to eat there.  We asked for the menu, only to discover they don't really have one.  They have two fixed-price meals, and there are no substitutions.  It seemed like they were never going to stop bringing food to the table.  It was one thing after another, until they finally brought the main course, Sea Bass.  Dessert was a great assortment of seasonal fruit.  
29 Septiembre (Miércoles) - We've been seeing these Vaga General S 29 signs all over the place, but until today, had no idea what they meant. The S 29 means Septiembre 29, and the Vaga General means it's a general holiday, which means that everyone is on vacation for that day.  We're not certain if it is just in Barcelona, or if it's the whole country.  But for Barcelona, it meant that almost everything was closed, and the busses were running about once an hour or so.  We spent most of the afteroon sitting on the Borbó watching the people walking about. 
There is a little Italian guy who, I think, is the maintenance man next door.  Every time he sees me, he asks if I'm Italian.  I always say 'no'.  This morning he started trying to guess from which country I came.  After trying several, he finally pointed to the sky, and I said, "yes, from the stars". 
For the past week, and until 4 Octobre, they are celebrating the Festa Major de la Barceloneta.  This morning I heard the marching band and ran outside with my camera.  I managed to get a couple of short videos before they continued on.  
30 Septiembre (Jueves) - We started with a trip to the internet place.  We both checked our email and Robb asked his credit card company to send his card to the apartment in Paris.  Then we caught the 17 bus to the Sant Gervasi stop.  I got a shot of the Rotonda and the hospital next door.  We walked over to where the Tramway Blau is supposed to pick up passengers to get the funicular to Tibidabo, but it wasn't running today.  I overheard a passerby tell some people that to get to Tibidabo today, you have to take the 196 bus.  The funicular is interesting because it is an almost straight-up-the-side-of-the-mountain ride and because the guy who drives it, also sells the tickets.
Once we got to the top, we noticed that it was a lot cooler, and most of the amusements were closed.  But I took a shot of Sant Gervasi, front and back, the Aeroport ride, and the merry-go-round.  There was another interesting building which was called the Rusa.  I also finally got a good shot of the TV Tower and some of the mountain homes.  I also got a video of the view of Barcelona from the mountain top.  It's easy to see we were a lot higher than when we were on Montjuic.  
When we got back to the 17 bus stop, there were a bazillian kids who had just gotten out of school.  Apparently, when school lets out is not the time to be in that neighborhood, because a lot of the parents drive there to pick up their kids and they just park wherever they feel like it and traffic is backed up for blocks, including the busses.  We decided to skip the first bus, and then decided to walk a bit further, before boarding the bus severtal stops later.  
Dinner at La Taverna d'en Pep.  We both had the Filet de boeuf au grill.  It was not the best cut of beef, but it was okay.  The wine, chosen by the waiter/owner, was an excellent red.
1 Octobre (Viernes) - It looked somewhat ominous this morning, but we decided since we only have a couple days left, we would brave the elements.  Happily, it was a really nice day.  
We hopped aboard the 157 bus and rode to Plaça España.  The first thing we noticed was the flags draped across the street, indicating the possibility of some sort of holiday doings, but we saw nothing special until several hours later when we saw the Spanish Air Force planes flying about.
Once we got to Plaça España, we checked out the monument in the square, and the two buildings on either side of the esplanade leading up to the MNAC (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya).  I think you can get an idea of how high it is to the museu, but the good news for people like me, is that there are escalators all the way to the top.  The museu used to be a palace and you can can still see some of the grandeur even though it has been modernized.  After free entrance because we're seniors, we toured several sections, finding works by Rodin ad Picasso (from his cubist period) and after several hours, made our way back down to the bus stop.
See all the Plaça España pictures. 
I wanted to see Torre Agbar at night because I had seen pictures of it and it was all lit up and it changed colors ad it was beautiful.  But it wasn't like that tonight.  So we wasted a lot of time riding over there and then riding back.
We had dinner again at Dunne's.  We both had the filet mignon.  It was great.  Robb drank a Heineken's and I had a glass of red wine.  We later switched to cava. 
2 Octobre (Sabado) - Our last full day in Barcelona.  By noon, I had packed everything except the things I need for today and tomorrow.  Of course, with all the buying, we needed another suitcase.  
We took our last bus ride in Barcelona on the number 45 and saw a section of the city we had not see before.
The owner is supposed to show up tonight for the final negotiations.  We're very curious about how that's going to go, since it was her blocking outgoing calls that stopped us from getting on the internet.  It's possible we'll discuss breach of contract.   P.S. She didn't show.

We had planned to have our last dinner at Como, but it was closed, so we walked up to l'arros.  Robb had the tuna and I had the dorade.  Excellent as usual.  While we were eating, a young couple from Ohio sat next to us.  Robb's bus ticket still had about forty rides and is good until 10 Octobre, so we gave it to them.  Then, we had a very nice chat until it was time for us to go for what we thought was our last meeting with the owners, but as I already stated they didn't show and called to say they "couldn't make it".  

You have no idea how happy we will be to see the end of this apartment. 

You can see all the Barcelona pictures here: Barcelona

Hasta la próxima, amigos.


Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Hi Starman, I am anxious to hear about Paris -- Are you there yet? Be safe and enjoy your travels!

Megan said...

Bon voyage à Paris!