October 25, 2022
Barcelona Airport, Spain
Yesterday was our last day in Europe, and it was a busy one. We returned the rental car to Enterprise. Sonya got us a very good rate, an excellent car and the return was pleasant and easy.
Then we took the airport bus to Placa de Espana, the stop for Montjuic, which hosts a variety of activities and venues, including the Palau Nacional, now a museum, which was closed on Monday. The building is huge and beautiful, built for the 1929 World’s Fair. Also up the hill is a huge botanical garden and the beautiful Font Magica, or Magic Fountains which line the steps leading up to the Palau Nacional. Unfortunately, they also were closed for scheduled maintenance for a couple of months. I saw them last year when I was there…they were really amazing. Venues for the 1992 Olympics are also part of the complex. There’s also a funicular and a cable car to reach the peak of the hill, but that was for another visit. One could easily spend an entire day in the area, and we had other things to do yesterday!
After leaving the Montjuic area, we took the Metro (L3) to Passeig de Gracia and split for the next few hours…I wanted to shop and Sidney and Sonya to visit more of the city. I hit Uniqlo, Uno de 50 (a not too expensive but fun Spanish jewelry store) and Tennis-Point for clay shoes before walking down first the “Grand Via” to La Rambla, a long boulevard starting at Placa Catalyuna (a big round plaza with way too many pigeons for my taste and way too many people feeding them) and ending at the Christopher Columbus statue by the sea. The Grand Via is lined with high end stores such as Gucci, Versace, etc and at most of them there were lines to enter!
I walked down La Rambla to the Gothic Quarter and the Boqueria Market which was full of tourists and food galore…and thieves. There were burritos (no beans or rice) galore, every kind of empanada under the sun (I tried pumpkin which was pretty good), lots of fruits and vegetables arranged beautifully, seafood, dozens of meat stalls for Iberian ham and more, patatas bravas (fried potatoes with spicy mayo on top), ice cream, all looking pretty tasty. I took a lot of photos, then met up with my cousins for dinner.
We had seafood paella and I took photos of the paella and Sidney and Sonya, put my phone down (thought it was in my pocket) and it was stolen (one person distracted us, the other ran with it) so no photos from yesterday other than some Sonya took and sent to me). The silver lining was that ATT was super helpful over the phone in activating an e-sim in my other phone (which had a Spanish sim in it) so I have US service on it already, plus I activated “erase when connected to wifi” and it’s already been erased, the SIM card deactivated and the phone removed from my account (I didn’t sleep much last night!). It was a rather bummer to end the trip on that note, but it was nonetheless a great trip, especially to share it with my cousins.