May 2014 - All photos are at the end of the post.
On my fourth day in Paris, I walked around and got brunch at a small café. I went back to the Ile Saint-Louis, since it was one of my favorite places, and got some gelato before heading back to my hostel, grabbing my bags, and heading for the train.
I took a High-Speed train from Paris to Barcelona. It was a two-level train and the coach class was pretty nice. I spent my time watching an old version of Pride and Prejudice and staring out the window at the French countryside (after asking several people if they’d exchange their window seat for my aisle seat…).
Six hours later I was in Barcelona to meet up with my aunt! We had a late dinner reservation at our hotel, which my aunt was reviewing (hence the free room for two nights!). Dinner was great but it was midnight by the time we got back to our room and I passed out!
The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and then visited Parc Guell, where Gaudi built a house and much of the architecture in the Parc. I’d seen photos of the park before, so it was fun to walk around. There’s an option to pay and go into the house and a few other areas, but we didn’t have a lot of time nor the interest to pay that much!
I took a few photos as we were leaving because it was quite the climb to get up there! They have several escalators for those not wanting to walk the stairs. Once I got to the top I wished I had taken the escalators because I was sweating from the heat! Not pretty.
We headed back down to the old part of Barcelona for our tour of the city. One of my lovely readers recommended Sandeman’s Free Tours and I was SO glad we did this! You definitely have to arrive 15ish minutes early or you won’t make it on the tour (even with a reservation), but it’s completely free and all you have to do is tip the tour guide what you felt they deserved (they work freelance and depend 100% on your tips).
I absolutely loved getting to take this tour. First of all, I knew pretty much nothing about Barcelona before I arrived there and in two and a half hours I had learned the city’s history as well as what was behind the current political battle happening between many of Barcelona’s resident’s and the rest of Spain. The Catalan people (those who have lived in this region for centuries) feel they should have their own independent country and want to vote on it in the upcoming months. Obviously, Spain is not thrilled. To be continued…
After the tour, my aunt and I grabbed some food at an outdoor café and wandered around a bit in the city.
And of course one of the things we walked by was the Sagrada Familia, one of Gaudi’s most famous pieces of architecture. Then we went back to our hotel, showered, and headed out for dinner at an outdoor restaurant. We had intended to go to restaurants recommended to me, but one we couldn't’ find and the other had quite a wait. Either way, we had a good evening!
The next day we had to catch an afternoon train to Alicante, where my aunt was living, but we spent the morning wandering around Barcelona, looking in several different churches, and wandering up La Rambla, which is a fun street with tons of people (and pick-pockets).After that, it was off to Alicante!