Thursday, March 11, 2010
Breakfast this morning was included in the hotel through our reservations with otel.com; so we were out of the rooms by 9 am and enjoyed a wonderful meal without leaving the hotel. Jim went outside to walk after breakfast and found parades as well as visiting the inside of the Cathedral that we’d visited last night. The rest of us were packing for our journey to Barcelona.
The clerk called for a taxi to pick us up at the hotel door…no traipsing down the street pulling luggage to a taxi stand; amazing the different between a two star and a three star hotel! The streets were very crowded and some were closed because of the celebrations; but soon I recognized the Valencia Bull Ring…see the photos in the slideshow…and knew that we were near the central train station. This is where I thought we were arriving last night. It is actually walking distance to the hotel if we didn’t have luggage. Found our destination on the big board and settled in for an hour’s wait until time for our train to leave. Picked up sandwiches to eat on the train as we were not sure about service; but later we discovered that this train did have a cafeteria car plus televisions. We also had numbered seats; discovered when someone showed us their tickets and requested the seats we’d settled in. This train was FULL and many had huge suitcases….but we all settled in with nary a seat or overhead rack to spare. Our train left Valencia at 1:08 and we arrived at Barcelona Sants at 4:37 pm.
The trip along the coast was beautiful; I’ve put a few photos in the slide show for you to enjoy. It’s difficult to take photos when we’re moving but out of many a few were not too blurred. When we arrived in Valencia we navigated through the station and found the taxi stand. A burly man with full beard and no English but he got us to our new home for the next four nights. We had our doubts when he pulled up in front of a non-descript building that looked more residential than anything. Then he showed us the buzzer panel with the name “Somnio”….ah…the name of our Hostel. We rang the buzzer and the door released. Up three flights of stairs…but we found the elevator for the luggage.
Barcelona is very expensive if you want to stay right in the city; we found this on the Internet. It is run by two American girls from Chicago. Very clean and recently renovated; the rooms are small but the price is right. We settled in…you can see some photos of our room…no television, no closets, no dressers, but clean and has a bathroom in our room. One of the best features is FREE INTERNET.
Walked to a local place called El Raco about 7 pm for dinner; the regular restaurants are not open at this hour but we’ve been fortunate to find cafes with a good selection of Italian food which we all enjoy. I actually had a pizza tonight. Jim and I ordered grande beer…check the photo…could not believe the size of the glass; Barbara enjoyed her sangria.
After dinner we walked the streets and found the nearby Gaudi Casa Batllo house with skull-like balconies and a roof that suggests a cresting dragon’s back. Gaudi based the work on the popular St. George legend. Barcelona is the home of many of Gaudi’s most famous works. This was only one of several that we’ll visit over next several days.
Soon we were home and tucked in for the night. We’ve got a full day tomorrow as we plan to ride the tour bus around the city and then go around a second time with stops to visit some of the city’s treasures.