Day 1 in Barcelona

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Here we were, in this glorious suite in a 4-star hotel in Barcelona with stunning views over the Espana Plaza and up the hill to the National Art Museum of Catalonia. It was difficult to leave the views and go down to breakfast but we eventually got down to the dining room.

I was so surprised to see that it looked like student dining hall! Green and white plastic chairs around small ‘wooden’ tables. A 4-star hotel with a student type dining room was just totally unexpected. The breakfast though,was excellent and I had the best ever piece of chocolate cake here. Yes, cake was served with breakfast plus plenty of other food.Barcelona hotel dining room2

Since we had 2 full days in Barcelona we decided to do a walking tour on the first day and then use the hop-on/hop-off bus tomorrow. We left the hotel to walk up the hill to see more closely that which we could see from our room. At the top is the National Art Museum of Catalonia which dominates the top of the hill. All the way up the hill were fountains – in the centre of the road and down either side – BUT they were being cleaned and so not cascading down in their usual magnificence. It could only happen to us but it was still worth the walk as the views from the top were unbelievable. Making it easier, for these Senior Citizens, to get up the hill were escalators beside the stairs.Barcelona Front of Art MuseumFront of Art Museum

It was a lovely place just to wander around, admire the incredible views of the city from up there. Although the museum was openvered the Olympic Village from 1992. It stirred some sad memories for me as I remembered that Iris, my youngest sister who died in December, was here with the Paralympic Team as their Manager. We were amazed at how freely we were allowed to wander around the whole area and learn that it is all still used for a number of activities, including music concerts, football matches and athletics. When we were in Turin in 2006 the Olympic buildings were all locked up and the locals said that very little ever happened there. Waste of money, they said. Rather like our football stadia from 2010.

Barcelona are to be congratulated as well for keeping the original façade of the main building which was built in 1928 in their bid for the 1936 Olympics which were awarded to Berlin and we all know what happened there. I was just shocked to learn recently that when Jesse Owens returned to the US, President FD Roosevelt did not even contact him to congratulate him on winning 4 Gold Medals. Anyway, back to our walking tour of a part of Barcelona near to our hotel.Barcelona Olympic Stadium with original facade Olympic Stadium with original facade

We left the stadium and followed the road down a hill having no real idea to where it would lead us but that is the fun we have when walking around a new place. No hurry and no commitment, just enjoying the moment. We passed a small fountain with a deep pond as its water catchment set in a lovely green patch of grass. We were fascinated at the sign which included the usual things such as, no littering and dogs on leash but the best one was no swimming! When I mentioned this to someone who has been there a couple of times she said that it was very possible that some of the locals might just do so.Barcelona sign in front of fountain2Sign in front of fountain

The road curved gently to the left and we discovered that we had walked all the way around the Art Museum property and were now back at the steps and 1st downward escalator. It was almost 3 hours since we had left there. We had seen the hop-on/hop-off bus pass us at various spots so we knew where not to get off the bus tomorrow.

We worked our way back down to the Plaza and planned to visit the former Bullring which was opposite our hotel after we had had something to eat. Walking makes one very hungry and thirsty. We each carry a water bottle which we fill up each morning. We had seen from our room that lots of people went up in a lift to the top of the former bullring and it peaked our interest. On arriving at the entrance to the lift a young lady was at a table selling tickets for 1 Euro each which we thought was excellent value. It got better. As we approached the cash desk we read a note which said that persons over 60 ride the lift for free!

At the top there was a platform which went right around the central structure again giving incredible views of the city, this time at night. There were half a dozen restaurants on this platform. We went through a passage only to find that the bullring is now a 5-storey shopping centre and there were hundreds of people on every level. As we walked around we discovered that there was theatre, 2 cinemas, lots of shops, more restaurants and a supermarket. We were really pleased to find the supermarket as we would need to purchase some essential items for our self-catering stay in Fuengerola in 2 days. The centre closed at 10pm so it suited us perfectly.Barcelona former bullringBarcelona former bullring

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