Europe

Last Day of Freedom

Apologies readers! I’ve been sick and then was put on night shift and now am back on day shift but am awaiting word on more night shifts. And I’m still battling with the flu. It’s been manic to say the least. Excuses aside, back to Barcelona.

— 05 Jun 2010 —

My last day of freedom in Barcelona. This afternoon I’m meeting my Topdeck tour group to start an amazing journey starting from Barcelona to Rome via Nice, Monaco and Florence.

The itinerary said the joining hotel was above the Estacio de Barcelona-Sants station so naturally I left this area to explore last. Why back track right?? So I started the day by saying goodbye to the awesome girls in my room and then lugged the 20 odd kg suitcase to the hotel. I wasn’t going to wheel it around with me and look like a full tourist! I set off to explore the side streets and the lane ways in and around the area. I had 4 hours till I needed to meet up with the group. I also decided I needed a nice pair of shoes for my days in Nice and Monaco, can’t be looking like a slob in Monaco where I’ll be rolling with the rich and famous. So off I went to find a shoe store. Apart from finding many shoe stores on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, I found the street lined with ladies making lace. Random yet interesting at how intricate the art is.

After a quick shopping expedition where I picked up a stylish pair of black gladiator sandals for only €29.95 (Bargain!), I stumbled upon Placa d’Espanya. This is the statue at the roundabout that joins 4 of the main roads making it one of the city’s biggest squares.

Entrance into Montjuic is through the Venetian Tower. They are modelled from St Mark’s Bell Tower in Venice and I think it’s a great way to welcome the people into the Montjuic gardens.

This is the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya or the National Art Museum of Catalonia. Isn’t it just grand?! Everything from the perfectly trimmed hedges to the stone statues and balustrades to the sheer size of the place. Everything about it just says “I’m Grand!”

Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya houses all sorts of Catalan art collections ranging from Romanesque to Baroque to Modern Art. All collections are important to the history of the Catalonia region of Spain.

This is the view from the main entrance. You can already see miles of Barcelona city.

Despite the grand stature of Montjuic, there are modern art pieces scattered around the gardens.

After a lovely stroll in the gardens, it was time to go back to the hotel. Long story short, after several international roaming phone calls to the Topdeck head office, they admitted to screwing up the details of the joining hotel for the 5 of us (3 Aussies and 2 Americans) and we needed to take a taxi to the another hotel to meet the rest of the group. Fail.

All greeted and checked in, we set out for a city tour in the capable hands of Yohan our coach driver and Kate our tour leader.

This is the view from the top of Muntanya de Montjuic. You can see the whole of Barcelona from up here!

The city tour was comprehensive and took us around to all the famous landmarks and areas giving us a little taste of everything and places to explore by ourselves in the following days.

Later that night we had a traditional meal; seafood paella and sangria. 1L of sangria, yes please!

After filling ourselves with sangria, we went for a flamenco performance at Tarantos. Although flamenco originates from southern Spain, it has spread throughout Spain and the rest of the world like wildfire. As a lover of any type of dance, I thoroughly enjoyed the complexity of the steps and the intense expressions and emotions that the dancers portrayed. Look at the concentration on the little girl’s face.

We had a night-cap at a nearby Irish pub before heading home for some rest.

Tomorrow is another day.

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