Thursday (pleasant 16°)
After such an emotional night and the lack of sleep, I thought and hoped I would sleep on the plane but it wasn’t to be, which was kind of a good thing because the scenery was amazing. We flew along the along the coast (Bay of Biscay) before heading to Barcelona and flying parallel to the Pyrenees and over some incredible mountains. I was really surprised that Spain was this hilly and given that I’ve harped on about trudging over hills and mountains for the last seven weeks, you’d think I would have worked this out by now but obviously I hadn’t.
I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to negotiate the metro so opted for a taxi to the hostel, dropped my bags and headed out. And couldn’t orientate myself for love nor money. Got to one of the main shopping boulevards (Passeig de Gracia) and found a couple of the Gaudi buildings. I’ve had a picture of Casa Battlo for years and to finally be standing in front of it was wonderful.
Went inside Casa Mila or La Pedrera as they call it in Barcelona and the rooftop was amazing. It was interesting to learn that the weird figures and structures are actually chimneys and ventilation shafts. The apartments were interesting but no overly engaging.
Air vents and chimneys (above and below)
Artwork on the walls (below)
Back at the hostel, I met my roommates; 3 Asian girls, only one of them spoke English and they wanted to know why someone my age wanted to travel and do it on my own…WTF!
But the room was great with custom-made bunks with privacy curtains, locker drawers for luggage, even if the girls were a little inconsiderate but this hostel ruined me for any other share accommodation. Seriously, these girls took nearly an hour to get ready for bed, it was a never-ending production but that’s what ear plugs were invented for.
I joined the communal hostel dinner and was told to take the next and start talking, so I chatted to Alejandro (Columbian/UK) who had never heard of the Camino but we talked about pretty much everything and were later joined by Harry (UK) and Lejandro (Venezuela). It was an interesting dinner with some very different conversations.
Friday (nice 18°)
My aim for the morning was to catch the train and go to the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar. I managed the train although it wasn’t straightforward and I thought I had found the Basilica but it was actually the Cathedral, which had an amazing facade, 13 geese and impressive rooftop views. The Basilica, when I eventually found it, was quite similar although without the geese, just smaller.
Rooftops from the cathedral roof
I’m having trouble with my map because everything on the map appears to be much further away than it actually is, which isn’t a bad thing but it’s confused the crap out of me.
Checked out the market (Mercat de Santa Caterina) and bought chicken kebabs to cook at the hostel for dinner.
Took the tour over the Palau de la Musica Catalana (concert hall) with its amazing stained glass ceiling and mosaic pillars.
Palau de la Musica (above) artwork outside and mosaic pillars (below)
Stained glass ceiling at Palau de la Musica
Back at the hostel, it was nice to cook for the first time in 2 months but wasn’t in a hurry to repeat the exercise.