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El último día...

Wrapping up our stay in Barcelona.

View Madrid & Barca - 2019 on JackiesJourneys's travel map.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Here we are, already at our last day in Barcelona...and basically the final day of the trip. Tomorrow, our flight rockets out of Madrid at 11:30am, which doesn’t really give us time for anything. But luckily today’s flight from Barcelona to Madrid wasn’t scheduled to take off until 5pm. That means a few more hours of touring madness.

Back to that crazy Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí, he didn’t just design buildings. Oh no...he tackled an entire park and made it oh so spectacular. I was super excited for my first trip to Park Guell, and it more than lived up to all the hype.


The outskirts of the park are free and open to everyone. But in order to preserve Gaudi’s work and generate money for renovations, the central Monument Zone is a timed ticket that is best bought in advance. Only a max of 400 ticket holders are allowed entry in any half hour period. Once you’re in, you’re in and can stay as long as you like. But miss your half hour entry window and too bad for you.

Knowing it’s a bit of a hike (figuratively and literally) to get out there, we opted for a 9:30 entry time. Our friendly little Raquel steered us away from taking the park suggested route, and we did our own metro/hill climb combo. Luckily Cindy did some googling and found the route with a good amount of escalators on it. But it was still a climb. And all the while thinking we can’t get lost...we gotta get there in time!!!

Where we entered was more on the back side of the park. We ended up climbing even more to scope out the three crosses. Then with no map and minimal signs, we had to gauge how long we needed to find one of the entry points. No need to worry though as we got to that area with more than enough time to spare.


Before you even enter, you can look up and start seeing the terrace with the dragon benches surrounding it, as well as the little gingerbread looking buildings. Gaudí, Mr. Nature himself, knowing that nothing in nature is straight basically never used a straight line for anything. And he never liked to solve a problem the same way twice. Infuriating for his workers, but pure genius for us to admire.


Anyhoo, 9:30 we sauntered up to the gate and got right in. We hit the timing great as by the time we left, lines were forming of people with upcoming entry times. The terrace is pretty big and didn’t feel too crowded. The gardens below weren’t too bad either. But we soon discovered where so many of the people were: in the 45 minute wait line to enter the gingerbread house (which we decided not to do), or else on the staircase with the tile lizard guy (who we luckily were able to get some photos of anyway).


I always like to buy little watercolor or pictures from places. Back in 2011, I bought three 4x6 mass produced paintings from Madrid and have them framed up really nice. Well wouldn’t ya know they have the exact same type of pics here in Barcelona. So I had bought three to do the same thing. I actually bought them yesterday, before having seen everything. But to get the best combination, I bought one with Park Guell and the lizard in it. Risky...but it paid off as I absolutely loved it here!!! All the colors and tiles are some of the things I love most about Spain. I am definitely a park girl at heart and can’t get enough of a good patch of flowers, trees, and good sky. And this place had all of those things and then some!! There was quite a bit of construction going on as well. So I can’t wait to come back someday and see how it’s all been improved even more.


After about 2-hours, we had covered as much as we were going to. Thankfully I had a thought: that included shuttle was right outside the door and would take us directly to a metro stop, no walking required!! The added bonus occurred when we got off the bus and right in front of us was a place with stuffed churros. Yay...I get to try the dulce de leche and ya can’t go wrong with another Nutella one. It was different anyway as these had a sugar coating.


From there we hopped the metro back toward Plaça Catalunya so we could eat, shop, and be close to the hotel. I found a Barcelona Christmas ornament to match the Madrid one I had bought. Then it was juice time at the Mercado. Not wanting to waste time searching for food, we grabbed spicy chicken empanadas there as well. Ugh! Disappointing, and I am sensing that my streak of worst meals coming right at the end of my trips is about to continue (insert sad face). I’ll just grab another juice to try and make me forget. Even worse was on the walk back, we passed this great looking cafe with giant salads...just what I’ve been wanting for days now. That would’ve been perfect! Oh well, I’ll survive...and there’s still a bit more time to find something else tasty.


We decided with time to spare and such nice weather, why not just sit in the square a little while. That’s when I looked up and realized there was one final thing for me to do: go into Corte Ingles, the giant Spanish department store. I can’t believe I didn’t go into the Madrid one at all, so Barcelona’s will suffice. Good choice as I found this little notebook with a design on it that I just love. I’d seen the design before, but only on coffee mugs. I was hoping for a magnet, but notebook works too. The thought is to recreate it myself for other cities I’ve been to.

Instead of taking the metro as we’d planned, Cindy suggested a leisurely walk back to enjoy one final look around. Great idea as there was plenty of time. Raquel greeted us warmly from behind her desk, we chatted a bit, and said our goodbyes as her next guests were arriving. And who knows...I may take you up on that idea to email when I return and get the bigger room for sure next time ;)


No problems catching the Aerobus. We even timed it perfectly as it rolled up just minutes after we arrived to the bus stop. The hang ups were at the airport when there was some disruption or issue which delayed our flight. It was so weird though that they were providing zero info in the airport, but kept posting updates online.

Anyhoo, the wait gave Cindy time to do a bit of souvenir replacement shopping. She must’ve set her bag down when we were at the hotel getting our luggage. Cause when we were going through security she realized she didn’t have them. Total bummer! We also had time to grab something to eat. They had this nifty little area where people were cooking up all sorts of different things. All jamon, bread and cheesed out, I opted for a fresh veggie stir fry. It could’ve used some more seasoning, but was pretty good.


Our plane finally arrived!! Following a quick turn around, an hour after our scheduled departure, we were on our way. Good thing we were staying out by the airport. But really, could you guys just hold my luggage for the next 12 hours and then just toss it on the right plane in the morning?!

That not being possible, the hotel shuttle was the next best thing. Not being able to call them, Cindy found a chat option to get that ordered. But I think we actually landed up finding one of their regularly scheduled runs and hopped on board. Fifteen or twenty minutes of very twisty roads later and we were at NH Madrid Barajas hotel. It looked to be a pretty nice place. We ordered up the return shuttle for in the morning and the lady said we’d have plenty of time doing the 9am one. I was leery, but went with it. We got to the room, lounged a bit and then realized yet again it was after 9pm and we hadn’t eaten yet. We also discussed that shuttle time and decided it seemed to be cutting it too close. We’d rather spend extra time in the airport just to be safe.


So off we went to talk to the front desk and locate some food. Another shuttle must’ve just pulled up as the lobby was packed. Food first it is! The hotel restaurant looked a little pricey, so we decided to wander the block and see if we could find anything else. After aborting the initial place we sat down at, we ended up at this cute little local looking place with an outdoor seating area. When it’s 70-some degrees and still not dark at 9:30 at night, one simply must dine al fresco.

Dos tintos de verano to start things off. And I gotta say, this was the best one I’ve had outside the south of Spain!! Plus we finally got a tapa...as in a free bite just for ordering a drink!! Better late than never ;) We decided to just get a couple things to share. Might as well have one final round of croquetas while on Spanish soil. Then Cindy spotted this photo of a combo plate with sausage, fries and dipping sauces. I ended up ordering the wrong thing, and we got the meat version instead of the sausage...but it was still delicious all the same. The little waiter guy was hauling butt from inside to outside and doing who knows what else. By the time we finally could get his attention and our bill, it was after 11. Oh my...and so it continues.


The good thing was the lobby was now empty and we could get to the front desk. We got our shuttle time changed to the earlier 8:15 departure, and headed up to room 124 to grab a few hours of sleep. And well by the time I showered and posted and scrolled, that’s about all I got. Might be a good thing we are leaving tomorrow as I am one exhausted chica!!

Posted by JackiesJourneys 13:26 Archived in Spain Tagged barcelona gaudi park_guell

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