Hola from Barcelona
We arrived at Barcelona Railway Station and after replenishing our cash flow and a coffee we caught a cab to 70 Trafalgar Carrer, made our way to the 4th floor in a ‘cute’ but vintage lift to take up residence in apartment 4C for the next 6 days. After a bit of shopping for essentials we made our way to the Arc De Triomf, Ciutadella Park, along Passeig d’Isabel II towards the Christopher Columbus Monument, then back towards our apartment and dinner, Tapas, at one of the many local restaurants.
The next day we made a visit to the Santa Caterina’s Market to source our lunch before joining the ‘hop on, hop off’ Barcelona Bus Turistic for the first of 2 days checking out the sights of Barcelona, the blue tour the first day and red on the second. For our first two days in the city we could hear the distant and constant sound of very loud vehicle horns throughout the day. They were different pitches and durations, with some sounding like car horns and others more like ships or trains in the distance. We were on one of our bus tours when we saw several hundred trucks or prime movers complete with placards, signs and horns blaring. The protest was in relation to working conditions for the truck drivers, the condition of the containers they transported and waiting times in the port terminals.
After the 2 days on the bus we bought 10 ride Metro tickets and made use of the very extensive and efficient underground system. We went to the Park Güell, Joan Miró Foundation, walked along La Rambla, visited Mercado de La Boqueria and at the end of the day, as with each day, more Tapas!
After our very quiet, relaxed, chilled week in Fontvieille, Barcelona came as a bit of a culture shock. The energy, speed, noise, busyness and huge number of tourists (us included) was definitely up several ‘notches’ but, we very much enjoyed our time in this wonderful, vibrant and colourful city, especially all the Tapas, sangria and coffees we enjoyed.
After our travels to Iceland, Scotland and Ireland and prior to the European leg of our journey we refuelled in London.
We visited the 72nd floor of The Shard, the partially open air section of the building. It was a sunny day, which was great for seeing the views and spotting the buildings, but not so great to see the amazing amount of smog over London. In the evening, we went to the Duke of York’s Theatre to see Home, I’m Darling starring Katherine Parkinson from the IT Crowd. It was lots of fun.
The next day we decided to walk around our local area. So we packed our sandwiches and off we went to visit the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Unfortunately she was a bit busy with other important visitors Harry and Meghan for lunch) and didn’t get to meet us. Instead, we wandered around Green and Hyde Parks’ and had lunch sitting on a park bench on one of the many tree lined avenues.
Thursday evening we were back at the Royal Opera House to see Così fan tutte which was preceded by dinner at Carluccio’s | Covent Garden London. Absolutely delicious food!
During this visit, buses and other traffic were being diverted around the demonstrations re Brexit around the Houses of Parliament. We expect on our next visit on the 23–26th March the demonstrations will be even bigger. We walked through the whole area of people demonstrating. It was all very polite, pleasant and all in attendance were very well behaved.
We arrived back in London for the third time on this holiday on the 23rd March. It just happened to be the day for the Put it to the People March which attracted over 1 million people marching on the streets of London, one of the biggest demonstrations in British political history. We made the decision to catch the tube to Victoria Station which is close to The Luna Simone. Unfortunately, the train we were on was at overflowing with people packed in like sardines trying to get home after the massive event. The station we needed to get out at to change trains was closed due to the huge numbers of people, so we had rethink our plans. Eventually we got to Victoria and dragged our suitcases the kilometre walk to the hotel.
The next morning we headed in to Leicester Square. Once again the bus trip was diverted, and so after starting to feel like we had no idea where we were we decided to get off. We made our way to Trafalger Square only to find the city was blocked off for a huge half marathon around the London sites. We bought tickets to see David Suchet in Arthur Miller’s The Price at Wyndham’s Theatre, and then headed off to Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, stunning gardens and well worth a visit to escape the ‘hurly burly’ of the city for a day, but buy your tickets online to avoid the queues.
The next day was a shopping and packing day followed by dinner at Carluccio’s and once again, fantastic food. The night ended at the theatre watching David Suchet perform in The Price. David Suchet was amazing, and has absolutely brilliant comedic timing.
On Tuesday, after seven and a half weeks we made our way to Heathrow and began the homeward journey, we arrived home at around 7.30pm on Wednesday 27.
During our trip, we didn’t really lie back and put our feet up, my/our average daily steps, February, 14,280 and March, 16,774
Lance & Barbara