We departed our ocean going transport early on Easter Sunday and made our way to our hotel in Barcelona. The hotel, located right on Las Ramblas, was in the heart of the tourist district. This proved to be a good base to wander the city. As our room was not ready, we left our bags and moseyed up Las Ramblas to see what was there. We came across the Hop on Hop off bus and bought a 2 day ticket. That way we could use day one to get the lay of the land and day two to see the major highlights.
The tour allowed us to figure out where various places were, what was walkable versus what wasn’t, and see what things were crowded by mid afternoon. One intriguing area, Montjuic, had a cable car, a castle, a park, the Olympic Stadium, and huge lines by 2 pm. So, we made a plan to be on the early bus and get off there, tomorrow! The plan worked, the cable car line had not really started, and the castle was not yet overrun when we got there the next morning.
We enjoyed a variety of views from the castle and learned that it began as a look out station, but when the city was attacked the defenders were able to quickly fortify it from a land attack and it became a major player in up to, and including the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s and World War II.
We took the cable car back down to the station, which is about half way up the mountain, and started to walk the rest of the way down. We entered a park and meandered along various paths, mostly just making sure we were going more down than up.
Our goal was to reach the bottom of the path near a plaza with a large fountain so we could hop in the bus to head back closer to our hotel. As we did that, it became apparent the fountain was really part of a series of water features we would see in our trek down.
We went to see La Segruda Familia, which is the building Gaudy devoted decades of his life to designing, and which continues to be constructed over 100 years after his death. There is a lot going on at the site, both visually and physically. It is worth looking the place up, and I am not up to the task of really explaining. We didn’t take a tour as the crowds were more than we wanted to interact with.
The beautiful weather of the first few days gave way to more cloudy skies and some rain, but we were able to see a fair amount on foot and took a morning to visit the Maritime museum. The museum is housed in a building that had been the Naval ship yard and in continuous use for 600 years. The displays were amazing and the building itself definitely worth the visit.