Next Stop Barcelona

We had a great time in Granada and loved the city, but after just 1 short day there it was time to pack it up and move on to Barcelona.  Bright and early Friday morning, we headed to the Granada airport.  This is a very small airport with only a few gates.
After checking it, it was time to check out the options for breakfast.  They had a large cafeteria.  Here were some of the options.
Yes, they even had candy bars.  I suppose this makes more sense for later in the day.
I ended up with the tortilla espinola.  If you remember back to the tapas from scratch meal Ryan and I made, this was one of those dishes.
Like I said, the airport was small.  We all walked outside and climbed up into the plane.
This flight was on Vueling, and they were not nearly as generous as TAP airlines.  Veuling could be like a Southwest where they offer many cheaper flights.  This would be great except they do not even have complimentary water and the seat space is next to nothing.  Wasn’t too bad for me to start, but the guy in front of me had a broken chair and when he reclined he wound up in my lap and then fell asleep.  There was not even enough space for me to open a magazine.  As for the beverages, everything was pay only.  They had a nice selection of food, but it was pricey.  They even offer a Kosher meal because they are starting service to Tel Aviv. 

After seeing nothing for a while, land appeared, and it looked beautiful.  Welcome to Barcelona!
Here is our hotel, Avenida Palace.
This is my room.  A little more traditional than some of the others, but comfortable and more than sufficient. 
The internet connection here is tricky.  It is free in the lobby, but only with a username and password and this is good for 30 minutes.  After that you need another username and password.  If you want it in your room, it is about 20 euro per day.  The only reason I care about internet connect is because I am still working, and for this, I need the internet.  At least my term is winding down, but I still have to respond to students by email and in their discussion posts, plus update grades on final exams.

Then we took to the streets.  We did not do too much for the day because we were exhausted, but we did do some touring.
During all the walking around, I found the Hard Rock Cafe and purchased another shirt.

Then we headed down La Rambla, the well known popular walkway here with stores, vendors, street performers, and of course many pick-pockets.
We stopped of at this place for lunch.  Not sure if it has a name other than Cerveceria, but this was all the sign said.
Now, the food looks great, as you can see, but there was a major problem.  Not really a problem if you do not mind the server choosing for you and you have no dietary restrictions and do not care what the bill looks like.  We only wanted to know what things were because I am a vegetarian, none of us eat pork, then there are a few other likes and dislikes.  For what we were going to be charged it was not worth it.  The server was not really into helping us because we did not like the idea of him just sending food to the table.  Now, if you do not mind being brought out all kinds of food and do not have any concern over the bill, then this place will probably be alright for you.  We weren’t that hungry, so sending 3 portions of 5-6 foods at 3 euro each, was not what we were looking for because much of it would have gone to waste.  But like I said, the food looked good, too bad the service was awful.  We paid for drinks and walked out.  Sadly, we were not the only ones to get up and leave.
Here is where we wound up instead.  By this time we were really hungry.
They had a nice topping bar for the falafel pitas.
Not that we eat meat, but they had shwarma there too.
Here is my falafel pita with veggies.  They even had olives and pickles, which are 2 of my favorites.
Afterwards we walked along La Rambla and saw the street performers.
This is the invisible man.
Next on the agenda was get acquainted with Barcelona.  We decided to do the Barcelona City Tour.  There is a green line and an orange line, with some shared stops.  If you have never seen this before, it is a way for tourists to go around the city with an audio tour and get on and off at various locations.  Buses come every 10-15 minutes and you can do it all day long.
Here are some pictures I took while we were on the bus tour.  We bought a 2 day pass, so this will help us get around town easily.  I do not know what all of these are, but I will let you know about some of them.
This is a Gothic cathedral.
We did get off at the marina because we wanted to see the Mediterranean Sea.  These next few pictures were all taken down by the water.
They have these cable cars that you can ride over the water and then all the way up the mountains to the castle.
This is the Barcelona Port.
There were tons of fish.
My mom and Joe.
I am not sure about this, but it was in the water.  On the back side there was a little star.
This is their World Trade Center.
This is a mall on the water.
Here is a cruise ship leaving the port.  Barcelona is a major port for cruise ships in the Mediterranean.
Inside the mall we stopped at Starbucks.
If you are interested, these are their choices and prices.
We went with the frozen passion fruit lemonade.
This was weird, but I thought it looked like the Gorton’s Fisherman guy.  This was for sale on a table at this market/flea market.
Here are other tables of junk.
I love old books, but these are in Spanish.
Then we got back on the bus.
Next we headed up the mountain area to where the Olympic stadium was built.
This is the city down below.
I wanted to check out the Joan Miro museum because I remember learning about him in school.
We were not allowed to take pictures inside, so these are only from the outside area before we entered.
This is the Olympic stadium.  I think it was the 1992 Olympics that took place here.
Then we kept on driving.  We did not get out, but the whole complex looked huge and very impressive.
Down here was something that looked interesting.  As the bus kept going, we saw it again and discovered it was the National Art Museum of Catalunya (MNAC).
More buildings.
Here is a big fountain.  It seems massive fountains are a big thing here in Europe.
I think (yes, I am unsure, hey, it was a long day) this is Plaza Espana with the Venetian Towers and the Magic Fountain.  This served as the entrance to the World Fair in 1929.
Could very well be a house, but I thought it looked neat, so I took a picture.
Now you will see some pictures from the architecture of Barcelona.  I took photos of building, mostly apartments with stores below.
One thing we are really excited about is seeing Gaudi’s stuff.  This is La Pedra.  I only got a few pictures as we drove by, but the architecture is so crazy and unique.  It was built between 1906-1920.
We will certainly be going back to visit.
After the tour, which dropped us off where we started, we headed back to the hotel.  Along the way we decided it was time for a snack.  This place was almost directly in front of the hotel with a nice patio area, so we stopped here for a bite to eat.  of course you know that one bite turned into two, which turned into three, and well, here are the pictures since you get the idea.
This statue was not only nude, but also eating an ice cream cone.  How could I not take a picture here!
I love the picture menu for the tapas.
Here is a Russian salad with some tuna.
Pasta salad with shrimp
Marinated eggplant, peppers and onions, served with goat cheese.
A hot ham and cheese sandwich for my mom.
Joe and I tried the asparagus and parmesan sandwich.  Very good.
We ordered patatas bravas, but instead we were served the tortilla espinola.  We let the server know and she came back to say the bravas was on it’s way, and that this omelet was on the house.  I liked how she said it actually, as she phrased it “free of charge”.  This was a welcomed change to the server from the Cerveceria earlier in the day.  The food was very similar, but much better service, and the food was fantastic.
Here are the patatas bravas.  Ryan and I also made this dish for our From Scratch Tapas Weekend.
If you are ever in Barcelona, I recommend this place.  It ended up being cheap too.  We thought there was a 20% patio charge, but in the end this was not on the bill.  It cost about 30 Euro for all that food and 3 drinks.
As we were sitting at lunch we noticed this Obama bar.
Look, a replica of Obama was inside.  This was strange later on in the evening when I walked by and some guy was sitting there with his hand on Obama’s leg!
Last up for the evening, after a rest and a shower of course, we headed to La Rambla, and just walked around.  There were many more street performers and artists.  It was very busy, but it was a Friday night. 
While heading back to the hotel, we stopped for dessert.  Dinner was at 6 pm because it only started as a quick snack.  Everything looked so good and it was a long day, so we ate dinner early.  By this time it was about 11 pm, so food was a good idea.  Again, we went with ice cream.  This place is called Maximum.
I ended my evening with a small cone of cookies and cream ice cream.  It was delicious and hit the spot.
That ends the first day in Barcelona.  Great city so far and so many great things I am looking forward to seeing.
QUESTIONS:  Have you ever been to Barcelona?  Have you ever been to a city that had previously hosted the Olympics?  Have you ever left a restaurant because of bad service? 


Emily said...

Melinda, I am so jealous of your travels! Someday I hope to travel and see more of the world as you are doing right now!

I love city tours. I went on a bus tour when I went to Canada and really enjoyed it!

Gina; The Candid RD said...

I second what Emily said! SO JEALOUS. I would love to go to Barcelona. I would love to go anywhere other than Cancun and the Bahahas (the only two "outside of USA" places I have been).

That is so strange about the server and the rules of that restaurant. I mean, how can you NOT be able to choose your own meal?! That's unheard of. Good for you guys for walking out, ridiculous.

Thanks for sharing your wonderful pics!

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