Day 3 – Friday 31 October 2008
Rain in Barcelona
I had set the alarm again at 8 o’clock, but I didn’t hear the alarm at all. I was sound a sleep until a little after 08:30. I noticed it had been raining and it had stopped a short while ago. Hopefully it would stay this way!
Before I would have a shower I tried to find the hostess again, but couldn’t. So time to wake up with another cold shower. I would leave a note (writing in dictionary Spanish) at the front desk. When I was about to depart I encountered the hostess in the hallway. I immediately explained that the shower was cold. She walked with me back to my room to check this. She also noticed that the shower was cold and promised me she would fix it.
Next it was time for breakfast, this time some tea and baguette with Serrano ham.
At a supermarket I bought a bottle of water, some yoghurt and a couple of cookies.
I used the subway to go the the Arc de Triomf. No, not the one in Paris, they have one in Barcelona as well. Not as big and nice as the one in Paris, but still worth looking at! As you can enter and stand on top of the one in Paris, you can’t do those things in Barcelona.
Closely by the Arc de Triomf is the palace of justice (both things on my list). Unfortunately it wasn’t allowed to make pictures inside the building, there was a nice stained glass ceiling. On the outside it was also an impressive building, so I made some pictures of that.
At the end of the boulevard where the Arc de Triomf and the palace of justice are located, there is a large park (Parc De La Ciutadella). A nice park, something I wanted to explore as it started to rain, pretty hard! Time to seek shelter in a museum!
Fortunately the museum of Zoology & Geology were close by (at the entrance to the park), so I had a look around inside (also was on our list).
Inside the Zoological museum there are numerous stuffed animals, and it was allowed to make pictures! Made some funny ones. After about half an hour I walked through the rain towards the Geology museum.
In between of the two museums there are two greenhouses where palm trees are growing, unfortunately both of them were closed. In these greenhouses people would play Jazz music and visitors can listen to it while enjoying a bite and a drink (Hivernacle – one of the things on the list). Also closed.
The museum of geology wasn’t as interesting as I hoped, just a bunch of shiny stones and fossils, saw a couple from Maastricht. It was also less busy and smaller than the museum of zoology.
In front of the museum I had a snack and a drink before walking through the park with an umbrella. At the fountain (that looks very nice on pictures) that was also wrapped up for renovations I made some pictures, before walking on. Fortunately it stopped raining so some nice pictures of the park itself could be made!
From the park I walked to the Santa Maria Del Mar church, known as the most beautiful church of Barcelona. This church wasn’t under reconstruction and they didn’t ask for an entrance fee, so I entered and made some pictures. It’s well worth visiting!
After visiting the church I walked along the harbor’s boulevard to a subway station that was somewhat out of the centre. From time to time with an umbrella to keep me dry. The subway I took ended up on a side of the centre I hadn’t visited. New things to discover!
I walked back towards the harbor (so I thought) I looked for a place to eat and drink (Bar/Restaurant Lido). I ordered a couple of sandwiches and some wine, which they only sold per bottle instead of per glass. Big problem! (Not!).
So after a couple of sandwiches and a bottle of wine I went on. Unfortunately it had started to rain again.
The rain seemed to disappear like snow in front of the sun after I had walked for 5 minutes. I was treated to a spectacular view on Castell de Montjuïc. On the foreground a nice statue and a building that resembles the Colosseum in Rome. In spite of the rain I managed to make some nice pictures. In front of the castle there is a fountain, it wasn’t active. Later on I read in the book that this is a very beautiful fountain that is illuminated at night. From the square in front of Castell de Montjuïc there are many streets leading away from it, I chose one in the direction of the centre of Barcelona.
While roaming the streets of Barcelona I encountered the Antoni Tàpies Foundation building (the book did mention it, but it wasn’t on my list). I stumbled on it by accident, but this way you do see 100% Barcelona.
Shortly thereafter it started to rain pretty hard again so I took shelter at an Ashton Martin dealer. Really nice expensive cars, afraid to drool on them because it might damage the paint! Really nice cars! The people there didn’t mid me taking shelter and shooting some pictures. A test drive wasn’t allowed.
When the rain started was less intense (and I had enough of the water falling from the sky) I hoped that the shower in the hostal was finally fixed and warm. So I looked for the nearest subway station and returned to the hostal. Once there I tested the shower, still cold…
Fortunately the hostess was still present and accompanied me to the room to demonstrate me that the shower was hot after all! Apparently the warm/cold settings are opposite from what is indicated on the water tap. Also a little patience was required as it took some time (2 minutes) before the water was warm. Who waits two minutes for hot water? Not me! Well… now I do!
After a day in the rain, I deserved and had earned a warm shower! Washing your hair and shaving with warm water also works much better!
When I had showered I reviewed the pictures I had taken the past couple of days with my camera, next I left for the center of Barcelona again to eat at Cal Pep. After a short ride by subway and a small detour from the subway station to the restaurant, I joined in the queue at Cal Pep around 19:50. When the doors opened at 20:00 I could enter the restaurant. Unfortunately the number of chairs at the bar was limited so I had to stand and wait until the first group of people would leave.
In front of me a couple of Canadians and a Spaniard were enjoying their dinner. Ordering a lot of different dishes. A nice opportunity for me to have a look at what was being served in this place. I asked the Spaniard how the ordering of food is done in this place, as there wasn’t a menu anywhere to be found. With this question I started a nice conversation with him and the Canadians.
I started talking and it turned out that these people were members of an ice hockey team and on a night out with the Spaniard. The Spaniard knew the staff of the restaurant. At one point I was offered some bread, “We have to feed the hungry!”. A piece of bread is a nice little something to keep away the better part of the hunger as you’re surrounded by nice smelling and looking food.
Bread wasn’t the only thing they offered me, fried artichoke, a beer and finally some very nice Muscat wine! The rest of the people waiting were starring at me how I received the different kinds of food!
After they had finished all the dishes in no time, the Spaniard and the Canadians had to go. The Spaniard paid by using his Visa Gold Card. After they had gone there was room for me to eat.
The man behind the bar told me the different dishes and wrote some of them on a piece of paper. No idea what I was going to receive! A nice surprise hopefully!
I started out with some shells accompanied by green mini peppers, very nice!
Next a plate of fried seafood (squid, shrimps and sardines) smelled really nice, but they had used way too much salt! Next was a very powerful omelet.
Next to me a couple was receiving the exact same menu as I did, only they were a round ahead of me. The next dish I would receive would be baby squid with chickpeas. Baby squid, yes but chickpeas no! So I had that removed from our the of orders. Also the sausage with beans wasn’t something I felt like eating. The final dish I received was the fried artichoke. After finishing that I was very glad I had canceled the other dishes as I never would have been able to finish it.
The Spaniard and the Canadians left with a big bill, I only spend €30,-. More than enough food for that money!
After a short stroll through the center I returned to the hostal to get some sleep.