Viva España – Part 1

It is 5:00 AM on Boxing Day and I am sitting in Gatwick Airport.

A few days ago I had a decision to make.

Go on holiday somewhere in between Christmas and New Year, or sit at home and play Forza 7 for four days straight.

Which if my gaming habits are anything to go by, would have happened quite easily.

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Then I would have complained about where the time has gone.

 

Talk About Luck

I am sitting in the British Airways Club Lounge in Gatwick’s South Terminal.

A massive 489 seat lounge that affords great panoramic views of the airport.

Well, they would if it was not 5:30 AM and still pitch black outside

Also, buffet breakfast, thank goodness I did not have anything to eat before leaving home.

(side note, I really do need to get a separate camera.  Taking a timelapse on my phone means I cannot use it for anything else)

The reason I am in the club lounge is pure luck.  Long story short, while looking at flights to Barcelona on the British Airways website, I saw one flight that had the club class actually cheaper than economy.

Pretty much a no-brainer to at least take that.  However, while looking at the return flights I again found the club class flight much cheaper.

It would be criminal NOT to take those flights.

So here I am, trying to figure where and what I am going to eat.

Oh, and visit.

 

Day One

Flying  Club/Business has its advantages you know.  First on the plane, first off the plane.  Did not have to wait for baggage since I only brought a carry-on.

I could get used to this.

Well after a metro ride into the city centre I find myself in Plaça de Catalunya.  Described on Wikipedia as:

“both its city centre and the place where the old city and the 19th century-built Eixample meet.”  

And also…. tourist central!

I decided to do the only thing I could do.

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Get a coffee, (at Cafe Zurich – great people watching spot) and try and figure stuff out.

The only thing I figured out was that I was right next to La Rambla, a 1.2 km stretch of road, and also… tourist central.

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Now the last time I was here I was a first-year university student, and that at the other end of the street was a beach, and a few bars.

I headed down there taking a few turns down some side streets to see if by some miracle I could find the hotel we stayed in back then.  (Hint: No)

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tourists eunt domus

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At this stage, I foresaw a lot of walking during this trip.  Which is probably a good thing since it is the only way to justify what I planned on eating.

Anyway, I reached the other end of La Rambla and was basically greeted with:

 

and a lot of boats

 

And a shopping mall.  Not exactly what I was expecting.

 

Base of Operations

Time to find the hostel.  This involved a 2km walk, which would have been easy if I followed google maps (walk up La Rambla, turn right).  However, I ended up walking down side roads again which luckily found me Plaça Reial and the Gothic area of Barcelona.

We will be back here later for sure.

OK, we are in the hostel, and I just had to crash.  The culmination of very little sleep before the flight (was up at 3:00 AM to go to Gatwick).  Very little sleep ON the flight.  And walking everywhere meant I was shattered (ok, if you want to get technical I did get the Metro into the city centre from the airport).

So I slept… for 2 hours.  And pretty sure I snored.  I have brought earplugs for the other people in the dorm room should they need/want them.

 

Into the Evening

Okay, we are up, our phone is charged, we have a tripod (or Octopus pod…whatever).  Something is still missing…

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Ah yes, coffee.  From the lovely guys and girls at Citizen Cafe

Back to Plaça de Catalunya, and La Rambla.  I have been trying to find a rooftop bar to have a quick beer and maybe get some photos.

However, it seems that with the winter season, all of them just seem to close down.  Which is a shame since they all looked a great place to sit and chill (no pun intended) if they just put a few outdoor heaters up there.

Ah well, I am really hungry at this point so I go looking for Plaça Reial.

I plonk myself down at the Glacier cafe, and finally order…. a snack.

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and a beer.

I call this a snack since I planned to go to Cal Pep.  However, I was denied as they were closed today.

So the alternative was…. a Flamenco show. (for 25 euros)

It was not how I expected to spend the evening.  However, why not?

I was not able to take any pictures since there was a “no photography” request in effect.

However I can say, it was fully enjoyable.

 

Still Hungry

I could have gone to any number of places as I meandered back to the hostel.  There were tapas places of various types (local, to more high-end).  As well as a Burger King, but the KFC was closed.

In the end, I ended up in a Raman joint of all places

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Nothing wrong with Ramen for dinner if you ask me.

 

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