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Published: December 19th 2008
I woke up this morning feeling slightly stunned that I didn't have anywhere to be and I didn't have anything to do. I had a lie in and a leisurely brunch and eventually set off to International House to make use of the internet room one last time. I booked my hotel in Girona - a mere 140 Euros for the two nights! (It's times like this I miss travelling in India!! Whatever happened to 200Rs a night hotels?)
I returned home determined to get rid of the nagging feeling that I should be working and that there must be an essay or lesson plan that I'd forgotten to do, and left the flat camera around my neck, guide book in hand, 100% tourist at last!
I started walking with the vague notion of exploring my local area on foot and then hopefully getting on one of the open air tour buses that I've seen driving around. I walked past the Salesians Church which was built in 1878 and later completed and consecrated in 1885. The beautiful pre-Modernism building is considered the masterwork of architect Joan martorell Montells who was a teacher of Antoni Gaudi.
I stopped for a rest by
a large public water fountain and realised that the road before me was passeig de Sant Joan and the Arc de Triomf was directly in front of me. I walked towards the familiar monument and was soon walking past International House and onto Placa Catalunya where I finally got on a tourist bus. I sat on the top deck, plugged in my fetching turquoise headphones and watched the sights of Barcelona pass me by. I was undecided whether or not to actually get off at any of the stops as it was already quite late in the day and I didn't feel up for running round sightseeing. When we reached Sarria I decided to have a look around as it looked interesting and it's far enough away from the city centre that I doubt I'll get a chance to go back again. Sarria is an old part of barcelona that was an independant town until 1921. I walked around the church and a few nearby streets. It was quite a surreal experience. I think it must have been siesta time or something because there was hardly anyone about. I counted two men sitting in a cafe near the main street
and one woman walking her baby in its buggy. Apart from that the streets were empty and the place had the atmosphere of a ghost town! Still it was quite pleasant walking through the quiet streets. I caught the next tour bus and went on to the Monestir de Pedralbes which i really wanted to see.
The tour bus stopped near the monastery beside an outer wall with no apparent entrance. My friendly and 'oh-so-helpful' bus driver stuck his tongue out at me as he drove off leaving me rather confused and standing on the side of the road. I picked a direction and walked up a residential street where I found a park entrance. I walked through the park, which turned out to be Parc del castell de l'oreneta. There were some lovely view from the park across the city to the sea. I also saw the way down to the monastery, unfortunately when I got there I found it had closed about 20 minutes before my arrival. Typical! Still I enjoyed wandering around the outside of the monastery and the point of the day was basically to relax and enjoy myself - I hadn't planned anything so I
couldn't be too disappointed that things weren't open. Monestir de Pedralbes was founded in 1326 by Queen Elisenda de montcada on the former site of a white stone quarry and is considered one of the finest examples of Catalan Gothic art. The carvings I could see from the outside were certainly beautiful and I enjoyed the visit despite not being able to go inside.
By the time i got back on the tour bus it was getting quite late. I stopped in Placa Catalunya and went to buy some spare camera chips and some holiday reading to last for the rest of my trip.
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