I have previously updated on Barcelona Day 1 (Saturday) and Day 2 (Sunday). Our flight was leaving at 2:45pm, but that gave us several hours in the morning to get out and explore the city a little bit more before leaving. Again, it was sunny and beautiful outside. As a little aside, with the exception of my recent trip to Amsterdam which I haven’t updated about yet, I have had pretty *perfect* weather on all of my trips so far. No rain, generally a lot of sunshine, and in the event it has been cold I’ve been prepared for the cold (ie Switzerland). I’m so thankful I’ve been able to enjoy all of these beautiful places with weather that is conducive to being out on foot exploring. Anyway, back to Barcelona.
First things first: we needed some breakfast. Both of agreed that we needed to find a place with some eggs and meat because, although pain au chocolats are delicious, we were pretty burned out on the typical pastry/coffee European breakfast. Luckily, a few blocks down from our hotel we found what we thought was a cafe (that turned out to be kind of a cafe/bar/casino) that had a great breakfast for only 4.50 euros each. It included coffee, orange juice, eggs, toast, and sausage or bacon. DELICIOUS. We were not only the only white people in there, we were also the only females and the only people under about 40… But it was worth it and it was delicious! Also, instead of playing Zoey 101 dubbed over in spanish like the cafe we had breakfast at the day before, here the TV was playing the news in Spanish (with captions in Catalan). Since we both know some Spanish and I know some French (Catalan is kind of a blend of those) we were able to figure out what a lot of the top stories were about.
From there, we walked back over to the area where we had found a lot of shopping. Becky was really hoping to find some leather boots, but sadly every store we visited only carried up to a 41. Welcome to my world Becky 😦 However, we did find a store for “Martina K” which is a brand of purses/wallets/shoes which I think is only in Spain (?). Anyway, Becky ended up buying a very cool purse, and I bought a new wallet and a little clutch. From there we were on a mission to find a Starbucks because Becky collects Starbucks mugs and had already found one each place she went (France, England, Wales). We walked the direction we thought we’d been before, thinking we were walking toward the cathedral but realized it was a different church. We walked around inside and took some pictures, and then returned to our mission to find the Starbucks.
Now, I am a pretty directionally challenged person, but I am also a visual person so if I see things I recognize I can usually find my way back to something I’ve only been to once. So, using those skills I was able to guide us back to the first Starbucks we saw our first night in Barcelona. Inside, the Starbucks was super fancy and ornate. I only have one picture of it (below), but even the floor was fancy tile. Not your typical Starbucks for sure. We decided to get lunch and coffee there before heading back to our hotel since we weren’t sure when we would get another chance to eat. My sandwich was mediocre and they forgot to actually add espresso to my iced latte (vanilla milk anyone?) but when I went up to the counter to ask about it they added more espresso pronto.
On our walk back to our hotel, we passed Las Ramblas again and we saw a man standing in a tank top and underwear washing himself on the street. There was also someone dressed in a crazy costume right next to him, so it took us a minute to figure out what was going on. So we started laughing because we thought the two were somehow connected, but now we’re pretty sure the guy was cleaning himself on the street because he had no other way to clean himself, and the person in the crazy costume was just a coincidence
Once we got back to the hotel, we had to hurry to finish packing up and check out of our hotel. We decided to pay the extra $$ to take a cab to the airport rather than public transportation. It would have been about 5 euros each to take public transportation and it was about 15 euros each to take a cab. However, taking the trains involved a walk from our hotel to the metro (which wasn’t short), then we would have to take the metro to this big train station, which involved a lot of walking and going up and down esclators and stairs to get to the main train area, and then waiting up to 30 minutes for that train (it only comes every 30 minutes) and then once it gets you to the airport it’s a pretty long walk up to the terminal. We decided doing all of that with luggage on the way to our hotel was too much work, and it was totally worth it to take a cab which took us door to door in 20 minutes. Also, another bright side of the cab ride was that we essentially got a mini sight seeing tour. The train had taken us through a pretty run down area, but the cab took us on a highway along the harbor which was really pretty and relaxing. And, we got to see this really cool cemetery that is built into the side of a cliff:
At the airport we had a lot of trouble with our baggage. Although we had no problems getting to Barcelona with only carry-ons, suddenly they were telling us our carry-on bags couldn’t weigh more than 8 kilos each or we would have to check them. So Becky and I stood in the airport and shifted stuff from our main suitcases into our purses and finally they let us take both on the airplane. (By the way, having a policy like that is STUPID. It’s supposed to be based on size, not weight. The weight is going on the plane either way, and all they did by making us shift stuff is make it impossible to fit our purses under the seat in front of us, thereby taking up more room in the overhead bins which is what they were trying to protect in the first place). Then, when we got to Zurich (we had a layover there), we had to go through security again to get to our gate for our continuing flight, and this time they just flat out said we could not take our roller bags on the aircraft, they would have to be checked to our final destination. So, the woman put tags on our bags and said when we got to the plane, someone would be there to pick up the bags. However, nobody was there, and we didn’t bother asking we just snuck our bags on the plane. We assumed it must be a small plane if they were being so crazy about baggage but NO. It was a full size plane, and it wasn’t even close to full passenger-wise. There were 13 rows of business class and only 3 people in the entire section. Also, coach was less than half full. Swiss Air must have sent out some baggage policy enforcement memo over the weekend or something, because we had no problems at all on the way out, but nobody wanted to let us take our rollerbags on the planes on the way back. I think that is a really stupid policy. When you’re just going somewhere for the weekend, it’s obnoxious to check bags which is why I pack extremely light and only take a carry-on suitcase. I don’t know why they were so insistent about not bringing carry-ons on the flight! That being said, aside from the baggage policies, Swiss Air is really great! They give you food, free beverages (including free wine if you want it) and after the food/drink time they give you Swiss Air chocolates which are delicious. Oh, and the safety video they show is by far my favorite!
My one regret in Barcelona is that we never made it down to the beach! We were staying close to the harbor and it was apparently about a 45 minute walk to actually get down on the beach. Our final morning we were worried it might take us too long to get down there and we wouldn’t get back in time to check out and get to the airport, so we didn’t try. But there is always next time! 😉