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September 10th 2019
Published: September 18th 2019
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Hola amigos!! We arrived in Barcelona after a smooth flight on Georgian Airways, a nice fight with plenty of legroom on the Embraer 190 (minus in flight safety demonstration – I hazard a guess they forgot!) After a short train and metro ride we were at La Rambla, Barcelona’s pedestrian street filled with shops and cafe's. It had been 9 years since we were in Barcelona, and this time we booked a nice, central hotel just off La Rambla – well priced and well located. Our room wasn't ready so we left our bags at the hotel and wandered around La Rambla, and had lunch at a cafe at one of the central squares on the Gothic District. We feel right at home in Spain, possibly my favourite country in Europe (sorry Greece, you have a contender), and with our last trip to Spain being in 2016, its again like visiting an old friend. After some tapas and wine, we wandered down to the port and took some photos of the many sailing boats and seagulls before going into the shopping centre. The other side of the port was also filled with market stalls, so we had a nice stroll before continuing back to the centre, however the sky opened up and it began to rain, so where was the nearest place to take shelter but a tapas bar of course!! Legs of Jamon hanging from the ceiling, little plates of food being shuttled out at lightening speed, yes this is how food is meant to be done. After a quick bite, we continued back to our hotel where our room was ready. We got up so early for our flight from Tbilisi, plus Barcelona is 2 hours behind, we almost instantaneously fell asleep and woke up really late so we pretty much slept and chilled in the room until the next day.

We began our full day in Barcelona with something we wanted to do for 5 weeks – laundry!! A laundromat was right around the corner so we had a leisurely breakfast and a stroll around town while we waited for our clothes. Barcelona is famous for (amongst other things) the work of Antoni Gaudi, a visionary architect of the late 19th/early 20th century. Two of his works attracts thousands of tourists a week – the unfinished La Sagrada Familia Cathedral and Parc Güell. We bought tickets online for Parc Güell, however the cheap tickets for La Sagrada Familia were sold out so we thought we'd go there to try our luck. Well – that was a mistake, it was packed to the max with tourist buses and tourists galore. To keep the flow of people moving, tickets are sold in timeslots to ensure it isn’t over capacity at any one time. When we got there around midday, the next ticketing slot was around 3.30pm and any tickets was for the more expensive ticket of entrance + audio guide + tower €30 (€5 more than the online price). In any case, we had our timeslot for Parc Güell and we had already been in La Sagrada Familia on our last trip to Barcelona so we decided just to take photos from the outside. In any case we may return when restoration is completed in 2026! We walked through downtown Barcelona to Parc Güell, and eventually, found the entrance to the restricted area of the park which is in the middle of the ‘free' park. Since 2013, to keep the flow of people moving, there middle of the park with all of Gaudi's modernist buildings and sculptures is ticketed and tickets are sold in timeslots to ensure it isn’t over capacity at any one time (which is probably why I don't recall paying for entry in 2010!) It was our second time to this park, many sections were under reconstruction however it was still a nice afternoon of wandering around (amongst the throngs of tourists) and taking photos of the mosaic-clad sculptures and tiles. The park was built in 1900-1914, with Antoni Gaudi the assigned architect to build the monumental park in Barcelona. In 1984, Parc Güell was declared a UNESCO world heritage site. Once we had enough of jostling amongst other tourists, we wandered back to the metro and got off a few stops before La Rambla and had a late lunch at a really big fancy Thai restaurant (we were dying for some hot spicy food!) and then wandered our way back to La Rambla via the shopping street. Later that evening we went to La Boqueria Merceta, a fresh food market just off La Rambla – the market sell fresh fruit, veges, jamon and cheese galore, and it was just about to close so we got 3 fresh juices for €1 and we looked around, there were some tapas bar there but we opted to go back to our favourite tapas bar that we discovered the day before. Barcelona, you pretty thing – we really enjoyed our time here in Catalonia country we will definitely be back

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