July 25, 2010 (Sunday)
Check out time was noon.We had a few hours to kill, so we had breakfast and then wandered on the Ramblas. I bought an ashtray for my niece made out of an aluminum soda can, and Dale had his picture taken with his “hero” Don Quixote.
Here is the aluminum can artist. The first picture shows his finished product for sale (I think they cost 1 euro each). The next three pictures show how he does it.
More living statues – always something to look forward to on Las Ramblas!
Mass was just finishing at a nearby church, and we were allowed to go in and look around.
orange tree in courtyard
By 11:30 we were ready to go, and met the cleaning woman as we were leaving! I was melancholy as I heard the elevator voice announcing doors closing and opening in Catalan for the last time… (Since we had bought lots of souvenirs, we had an extra bag, so Dale went down in the elevator with his luggage first, then I went down).
We left our luggage at the office of Visit All the World and checked our email on their computers. Then we headed out the opposite way on the Ramblas, in the direction of the port. Even though it was Sunday and many places were closed, the interesting characters that come out in costume to earn money from tourists taking pictures were there as usual. The silver man whose head was “separated” from his body had apparently come out of his box to scare a girl who was screaming – in glee – as he chased after her.
I had planned to take the cable car up to Montjuic, which was the site of the Olympic Village, as well as a luxury hotel and a fort, and from which you have splendid views of the huge port and the city of Barcelona. However, the location of the cable car station was an optical illusion – we walked toward what we thought was it only to discover it was much farther down the beach! In the end, we didn’t go on it. Dale was relieved, because he is afraid of heights!
We walked and walked, and it was a sunny, hot day, but at least there was a breeze near the ocean. We crossed a boardwalk bridge, and found ourselves at a modern mall! By that time we were very tired, so we found a sandwich place and had lunch, then we walked back.
We walked along the ocean walk where we saw interesting trees, a Picasso-like sculpture, and a giant lobster!
We ended up coming upon the Museum of History of Cataluña and we went in and spent an hour there before it closed. I didn’t get to see everything I wanted to see, but at least got some background on the historical inhabitants of the region. I was interested in finding out more about the Catalan language and also about the region’s fierce independent spirit.
There was a vendor on the Ramblas selling souvenirs touting Catalan independence from the rest of Spain, such as T shirts, Catalan flags and the like. There had also been a man covered in red paint who had signs calling for an end to bullfighting in the region. (A story was on the news about this issue today – apparently Cataluña is due to vote on whether to ban bullfighting. I hope they do.)
We ran out of things to do and still several hours to kill. We rested in a quiet square with plenty of shade and watched a little boy chasing pigeons around and acting surprised when they flew away. He didn’t give up though. His mother sat on the bench next to us, watching and calling him occasionally. She had to get up to keep him from going into the street and we watched her luggage when she vacated the bench. We talked to her a little but our communication was impeded by the fact that she was French and spoke very little Spanish or English.
Eventually we headed to Plaza Catalunya with our luggage. We had scoped out the airport transportation and had found out exactly where on the plaza the blue airport buses stopped. When we got on the bus, the 5 chicas that we hadn’t seen all weekend were already on the same bus!!
The next Wednesday, we had a test in class and the written portion had two topics to pick from. One of the options was to describe the most recent trip you took. I wrote about Barcelona and got compliments from my instructor!! She said I wrote it with emotion, showing my joy at seeing the city, and that it was a pleasure to read!!! Yea!!!
Here is the last picture I took in Barcelona. It is one of the narrow streets off Plaza Catalunya, typical of the old part of the city.