One of the most difficult aspects to traveling to Europe is the massive change in time zones. We started out our first morning in Barcelona, Spain nice and early, 1am to be exact. We woke up wondering if it was time for breakfast but unfortunately it wasn't even close so we watched some CNN and Sky News while we waited for the impending morning to arrive. We did manage to get back to sleep a few hours later only to rise bright and early for our first full day in Barcelona. We started the day off with eating at the Gran Hotel La Florida's buffet breakfast which was small but very tasty. Jenn had cereal with eggs and bacon and I had an assortment of meats and cheeses along with some small breakfast sandwiches. Before we left for the day to go into town we booked some last minute tickets to the Gran Teatre Del Licue to see an opera on the last night of our trip. According to the women who booked us the tickets we were lucky to get tickets as they do tend to sell tickets very quickly.
View from our Hotel Room in Early Morning
At 10am we took the hotels complimentary shuttle from the hotel to the city center. The shuttle dropped us off in a prime location right next to a lineup of top designer stores (Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Gucci, etc) and only a few blocks down one of the main bus stops for one of the cities bus tours. Having taken many of these in major cities in Europe already we knew the system well and what works and what doesn't. So we hopped on board the Barcelona Bus Turistic which has two different routes throughout the city and by the end of the day we saw ever kilometer of both routes.
Jenn Loving All The Great Shopping
The first stop that we hit on the bus tour was one of the top spots Jenn wanted to hit for the day and that was the Park Guell which was designed by Gaudi and is a very abstract and bizarre park. The park was packed, when we walked up the hill to reach the park there was people everywhere. Walking through the main entrance and deeper into the park it opened up a bit and there we got to enjoy just walking around and taking in all of the sights. There is abstract art sprinkled throughout this rather large park, its just so different then any other park you would see that it makes you appreciate it.
Standing Near the Entrance to the Park Guell
Walking Through the Park Guell
After Park Guell we hoped back on the tour bus and got to see FC Barcelona's stadium. Not being a huge soccer fan I didn't see the need to go to their museum, but it was still a great treat to be able to see the stadium and see what all of the fuss is about. You can see throughout the city of Barcelona their love for their soccer team and it was great to see that even when there wasn't a soccer game being played the stadium was buzzing with people. We ended up jumping back off of the bus at Placa de Catalunya and had lunch at a nice small eatery which was by far one of the best meals so far on the trip. Jenn batting 1/1 on pasta made it 2/2 as she had pasta bolognase while I ordered duck cooked in a redwine sauce. It was a great relaxing meal and was a nice break from the jam packed day of touring.
Passing by the FC Barcelona Stadium
My Duck in Red Wine Sauce
Jenn's Pasta Bolognase
When we walked out of lunch, I honestly thought I was going to need to hail a taxi and get Jenn back to the hotel, she looked spent. In fact on our way back to the bus we came very close to calling it a day and yet Jenn decided she wanted to push on and so we did. So we jumped back on the tour bus to arrive at the MNAC (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya) something that sounded horrible to me when seeing it on the tour map but actually was pleasantly surprising. The views from the museum were breathtaking, you literally had some of the best views of the cities from the front of the museum. Not to mention that they had a great guitar player playing outside of the museum and at least 50 people sitting on the steps leading up the museum just enjoying the day. The museum itself was a really nice walk through and since it wasn't very crowded we got to rest and enjoy the experience.
Jenn in Front of Some Cool Art
Riding the Tour Bus in Barcelona
Front of the MNAC(Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya)
The View from the MNAC(Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya)
Jenn Twirling in the MNAC (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya)
Our next stop was one that I circled on the map to get off on which was Anella Olimpica which was the heart of the 92 Olympics. When we did jump on the bus to head to the Olympic stadium we decided to go up the stairs at the front of the bus not realizing those were the designated "exit" stairs, and boy did we hear about it from the tour guide. She walked up the stairs while the bus was moving and hunted us down to let us know we walked up the wrong stairs. Luckily the Olympic stadium was the next exit so we didn't have to sit in shame for to long. At the Olympic Stadium we did get a close up view of the communications tower which is like a piece of art on its own merit as it can be seen throughout Barcelona. We were also able to walk into the track and field stadium which is showing its age since the 92 Olympics but it was still neat to tour the facilities and walk around a former Olympic site.
A Great Shot at the Anella Olimpica
The Communications Tower at the Anella Olimpica
Standing At the Olympic Stadium
By far the most enjoyable stop of the day was the Teleferic de Montjuic which is a cable car (kind of like a gondola) that you get to ride privately up a hill to a castle. The ride up to the castle/fort was amazing, it was so nice to see the city and to ride up to the top. From the castle you have ocean views and city views and proved to be one of the more relaxing portions of the day. After we took the gondola back down to the bottom we jumped back on the tram and took the bus all the way through the remaining portion of the route which drove along the coast. While driving along the coast Jenn nudged me to look to her right and there was an older man in his late 50's early 60's who was riding a bike completely naked which is odd on its own merit but it was also 6pm and probably 50 degrees. We were honestly shocked and cracking up to the point of literally laughing out loud, it literally kept us amused for the rest of the evening.
Riding on the Teleferic de Montjuic
Checking out the Heavy Weaponry
When we made it back to our original departure point on the bus line didn't have much time until the final shuttle from the hotel would be there so we decided to go get a quick bite to eat and went to McDonalds. I ended up getting a Big Mac (which tasted identical to one in the US) and Jenn went with chicken nuggets. Of course not the best meal of the trip but it got the job done. We walked back to the pick up point for our shuttle and headed back to our hotel where we called it a day.