Day 02 - Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - Flight from Atlanta, Georgia to Barcelona, Spain; Pre-Trip Day in Barcelona
Our over-night flight from Atlanta to Barcelona was very easy. Again, the Delta crew was professional and efficient as they carried us safely over the Atlantic and then over the twinkling lights of Spain and on to the Mediterranean coast and the city of Barcelona.
We landed on time at 8:05 am just as the sun was coming up. The aircraft was unloaded by the front door so we were one of the first to be in line for Immigration and Passport control into the European Union.
After proceeding to Baggage Claim, our luggage popped right out, always a great omen for seasoned travelers! There was no stopping for Customs, but there was a long line at the ATM machines for Euros, the currency of the EU.
All of the travel links told us getting from the airport to our hotel would be very easy. Taxis were available and relatively inexpensive, a train, or an AeroBus were also options. We chose the bus and for 5 € (Euro) each, we were driven all the way into the center to Plaza Catalunya.
After thanking the driver for pointing us in the right direction to our hotel, we walked the rest of the way; only about 15 blocks to the Hotel Catalonia La Pedrera. With Vic’s great sense of direction we were able to find it with no problems. It also helped that he had been researching the layout of the city and had Google maps printed in advance.
The desk attendants at our hotel welcomed us and gave us our room keys. They were all surprised that we had walked all the way from the Plaza. We are used to walking the hills of our neighborhood every day on our 2.5 mile morning trek, but we were not used to hauling our 50 pound roller bags in 75° with 65% humidity.
Our room in this Four Star hotel was compact and clean. Our first task was to see if the internet and air-conditioning worked and then we took showers and did a bit of laundry. It felt good to be fresh and clean after 21 hours on the move.
After settling in to our home away from home for the next five days, we went out to explore the city. The first thing we noticed was a group of about 40 urban policemen and many of them were in full riot gear.
Two young police officers explained that there was going to be a protest march by the CTG Union, protesting pay cuts for the teachers and other public employees. Here we are back in Chicago!
Spending a few hours walking the grand streets, eyeing all of the expensive world renowned shops, and watching the people is always a treat for us. Gennie bought a few post cards and then went to a Correos (post office) to buy stamps.
Vic was busy snapping photos of the Art Nouveau architecture made so famous by Antoni Gaudi in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We know we will see more of this beautiful city on our GoAhead Tour which will begin in two more days, but it is always nice to get our bearings on our own.
Vic had arranged a rental car for tomorrow so we walked to the Avis Rental Office and talked to the agent. She explained we could pick up the car tomorrow morning instead of this afternoon. Parking is always a premium in a European city and it would have cost more to park it for the night than to rent it!
Later in the afternoon, we came back to the hotel, wrote the journal, and organized our photos of the day. We went out again about 7:00 to see the city at night and enjoy a light dinner of the world famous Spanish tapas.
There is such a wide variety of tapas bars in the city. We chose La Pepita, just a few blocks from our hotel. We were encouraged to try several of their selections. Vic’s favorite was the Anchovy Especial and Gennie liked the Iberian ham, thinly sliced and dark red; an essential in Catalonian cooking.
By the time we returned to the hotel, we were dead on our feet and ready to get some real sleep. For our first day in Spain, we could only comment on how friendly and helpful the Barcelonés were to us.
Accommodations: Hotel Catalonia La Pedrera - - - Meal: B,
What wonderful details, thank you. And the picture of La Pepita, I want to eat there. Be safe and have fun; oh and keep the details coming. Love you.
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Sounds like you guys are having a wonderful time. It brought back memories of our time in Barcelona last summer. Hope you have a wonderful & safe trip. Blessings!
Day 13 - Saturday, April 22, 2022 - Depart for U.S.
The hotel prepared a box breakfast for us as we had to be in the lobby way before the breakfast room was open.
Last night we found out that our departure flight back to...