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Published: March 26th 2019
Although we were exhausted, both Alex and I found ourselves awake at 1 am sweating and unable to sleep. After a bit of flailing about the room in the dark with a phone flashlight we found the thermostat and put the air on. It did such a good job of cooling down the room neither of us wanted to get out from under the covers. Finally around 9:45 we drug our butts out and down to breakfast. Hilton offered a fantastic blend of local and US type breakfast foods. We both had huge plates of fruit. I rounded out my course with two churros and chocolate. While Alex went a more health conscious route. Energized, we snagged our stuff from the room and headed out.
First stop off the day, Segrada Familia was a couple metro changes away. Luckily we expected to us the metro regularly and got a 3 day pass. The area around the church was packed with tourist. We had some time to kill so began wandering around for pictures of the church and then the park. At the back of the park were multiple groups of experienced adults playing bocce ball. The game we watched grandma
beat out all the guys playing with her. We hung in the shade until our assigned enterance time.
We were admitted at 11:45, gathered our audio guides, and began to explore the Segrada Familia. Alex had not done any research so was just in awe of the architecture and surprised by the space inside. I was amazed at how much the building had progressed since my last visit in 2004. I remembered being restricted to a specific path around the place because of all the construction going on including the inside. Now we were able to just explore basically wherever we wanted to go. Being there at noon was perfect because all the stained glass shown equally bright and didn't distract us from the amazing architecture. Luckily we took so long to explore we were able to see the glass start to splash it's color along the ceiling and pillars. We concluded our visit with an elevator ride up a tower on the Nativity Facade then walked our way down snapping great close up pictures of the exterior and view. Alex liked to remind me that he had a healthy understanding of heights, not that he was afraid of
them. Done with our tour we still took some time to walk around the church museum in the basement seeing some interesting background information on how it was built and got to get close to Gaudi's tomb in the crypt we only got to view through glass on the main floor. After a quick browse through the gift shop I drug Alex around the entire exterior for pictures. He peaked into many souvenir shops to see if we could find a good idea for our travel shelf.
Back to the metro, we headed to shopping at Las Ramblas. Most of the shopping turned out to be food. Gelato to walk down the street. Then many treats at La Boquerilla market filled with food stalls with fun samples from meats to fruits to olives. I nibbled on a cheese and meat mix while Alex inhailed a chorizo burrito and empanada. Tired from all the walking we sat outside at a nearby restaurant for a large sangria and delicious cheesecake dessert. Filled up, we continued to stroll down the rest of Las Ramblas. At the end, I redirected us towards the Montjuic area.
Unfortunately for Alex, that meant climbing a
bunch of stairs because I read the map wrong and the cable car I thought we would be taking was actually a metro that is under construction so we walked to the park requiring stairs. At the top, huffing and puffing we rested on a bench while viewing the city from above. Then we sought out the actual cable car for a ride up to the castle.
The castle was a much more impressive version of the fort in Saint Augustine, FL we saw for my birthday last year. While it was a similar style (obviously the Spanish built the one in FL), the Castle had more square footage and much more impressive walls. The fire power had been updated over time as well. Something both did have in common would be their incredible view. You could see the Barcelona port where ships of many sizes including cruises came to port. Exhausted by this point we finished watching the archers on ground practice then headed back out on the cable car.
The thought was to take the metro back to the hotel, however the line from Montjuic back to the city was under construction. Instead we had to
catch a bus back. While on the bus ride, Alex decided it wasn't worth going back to then come over to the front of Montjuic for the fountain show. So took the metro to the fountain instead of the hotel. I wanted to see if they had the show times displayed nearby so we passed the design University having some show to the fountain. Unfortunately, no posted times. Luckily there were concession stands to sit for a drink and snacks. A water and half a hot dog later, our obvious hunger meant we needed something more substantial.
We headed back the way we came to an 'Arena' which turned out to be a mall for options. We stopped at a tapas place for food and (you guessed it) sangria. Timing was perfect. After the check, we made our way back to the fountain... or close. The area was packed with people there to see the Magic Fountain. So we stopped to watch from the bridge for an easy get away. The sprays of water synchronized with music for a twenty minute show. It was almost as cool to watch on fellow viewers phones as in person. Which I had
to do some of as they stick their arms up in front of me to film. We did mistake the end of the first song as the end of the show so moved positions part way through, but enjoyable just the same. Done we hustled to the metro and to the hotel.
By this point Alex was struggling his knees, ankles, and legs were sore. What probably didn't help was the mild stomach bug impacting him yesterday and today. Tough to keep liquids in him. It lead to a rough night sleep for the poor guy. He even got up to do yoga on the middle of the night to try and help.
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