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From Montjuic To Barceloneta

A gold medal winning day.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

I am currently standing in Montjuic, in the square right next to the Olympic Stadium. It’s just after 3:00 and we have been up and down and all around this area since about 11:00 this morning. There isn’t a cloud in the sky, and I’m gonna bet it’s way warmer than the 69 degrees that was predicted. So how’d we get here you might be wondering?!


We opted to sleep in until 8:30 today. By that point we could partake in the free “breakfast” (basically a few pastries and fruit and cereal, but hey, that was our consolation prize for our room reservation being messed up). We had a few questions for Raquel at the front desk, so by the time we got out the door, it was around 10:00.

She had mentioned a neighborhood market that was recently renovated, so we headed there. It was actually on the way to the funicular anyway so it worked out perfect. This market, Sant Antoni, was definitely for the locals doing their daily shopping. It also had a bunch of clothing stalls and surprisingly quite a few sewing places. Who would’ve guessed they’d need so much fabric and supplies?! The stylish Spaniards really don’t strike me as whipping up their own sewing projects, but I could be wrong. Anyhoo since we aren’t in need of any thread or eggs or chickens with the heads still on, I guess we’ll just move right along.


(Park standing has finished...time to go round up Cindy and get this train moving along already...)

Just me again, from the room at 12:40am. I’m trying to stay on top of these posts, but it just isn’t happening. We have become quite Spanish in the sense of not eating dinner until 9pm and then not making it back to the room until 11:00ish. And tonight add onto that a bottle of cava for two with dinner, and I think you can figure out why my posts are sporadic. Speaking of, gotta sleep. We have a date with a park bright and early tomorrow, so sleep wins out.

Now where did I leave off?! Oh yes, just after the market bright and early this morning. From the market we headed to catch the funicular which would take us part way up Montjuic (a scenic wooded hill in the South West of Barcelona; the name is Catalan for “Jewish Mountain”). Once disembarking, we headed left toward some miradores (lookout points) and signs for the 1992 Olympic Park area. We weren’t really sure where we were headed when we opted to climb a couple different sets of steps along the way.


Eventually we landed up by the castle, which Raquel had gone so far as to put an X through on my map when she said don’t bother. Point taken. But we did follow the path around it to where there were sweeping views out over the city and out to sea. Wow...just wow!!! With the water so perfectly blue and calm, some of the cargo ships looked like they were actually floating in the sky.


Many many photos later, we moved along trying to figure out our plan of attack. We knew there were two cable cars around: one older, longer one that took you down to the beach area and the newer, shorter one that goes back down by the funicular stop where we’d come from. Since we could only find the newer one, that’s what we chose. And just as we get in and are debating where to situate ourselves for the best views, these three loud Russian girls jumped in our cable car too. Grrr!! Seriously, the next one is 10 feet behind us, you couldn’t have waited 5 seconds for that one?! What a way to ruin a pleasant journey. Thankfully there was this little switchback half way down and they got out there. But we were already too low by that point to see all the things.


After the cable car ride, we decided to take a bit more time to look around before deciding to walk or ride or what the rest of the way down. In the midst of that wandering was when we found ourselves right in front of Estadi Olímpic de Montjuic back up where I started this post. Whew, feels like days ago...wait, that’s cause it was days ago (ha ha).


I am an absolute Olympics junkie and will one day be at a Games live and in person. But today my feet are sore, I’m hungry, I’m tired, and I really need to pee...so sadly my excitement is waning. Not to mention it’s 3pm and we still have more things we were supposed to get to today. Thus my rounding Cindy up to get moving.


Now realizing where we are, I’ve formulated a plan: let’s just walk down the hill the rest of the way into Plaza de España, then walk up the street to the hotel cause I know where that bathroom is. Pretty solid and fairly quick plan...but plans just never quite come together that easily.

We got as far as the tip top of the stairs right in front of the national museum, happily snapping photos. As we started to descend, all of a sudden we looked at each other like “are you hearing water?!” Little did we know that at 4pm they would be turning on the water and you can literally stand there and watch it slowly flow down the mountain, filling each fountain along the way. Soooo cool!! Neither of us thought to video it until after the fact (oops), but the photos and memories are pretty great anyway. There’s actually more fountains (the Magic ones) that do some kind of choreographed show...but only Thursday to Sunday. So close!! I’ll plan better next visit ;)


We did finally make our way to the hotel and took a bit of a break there (Snacks!! Get me some snacks!!). But the sea was calling and with only so many hours of daylight left, we had to get moving. Back to the metro and out toward Barceloneta we headed. We sauntered along the boardwalk, trying to avoid all the people hocking their kitschy crap from blankets or hanging off umbrellas. Seriously...do people really buy that stuff?!


We finally hit the beach portion and did a little strolling with sand between our toes. The poopy part was in order to get to the water, you had to walk over some painful stones to get there. I did endure it in order to get my feet, in all their striped suntan glory, in the chilly water for at least a brief, passing moment.


But hunger finally won out and I had to find some food. We had barely eaten anything in the 10 plus hours since that little free breakfast back at the hotel. Why oh why am I starving myself in Europe of all places?!? Ugh!!! Maybe that’s why I liked Africa so much: they made sure we ate at regular intervals and it never had to turn into a starvation march food finding mission :P


We didn’t find dinner, but we did find thee most glorious of appetizers. It was like a mirage right there near the sea: a stand practically overflowing with potatoes just waiting to be fried and slathered in the most delicious of sauces. I went with the Spanish standard alioli (garlic sauce) and Cindy gave two (or was it three) cheeses a try. Sitting on a bench, staring at palm trees, soaking up the slowly setting sun was the perfect way to enjoy those beauties.


More walking along the seaside, admiring all the boats and yachts, followed. We finally made it to the Colon statue, the monument to Christopher Columbus which marks the beginning or end of Las Ramblas. We decided to veer off, in search of non-touristy places to grab dinner. We ended up a tad on the lost side, even wandering by a tent city area of homeless people. That’s when I was thinking we really just need to figure out where we are. About two streets further on and we had our answer: back near Sant Antoni market where we began the day just about 12 hours ago...completely overshooting our hotel and the Gothic Area cafes.


We finally spotted a little place with outdoor seating and salads just minutes from our hotel. Although after splitting a bottle of cava and only eating small salads, by 10pm, we walked right by the hotel and didn’t even realize it for a few blocks. I’m convinced the sign got hidden somehow, but that seems unlikely. Good thing my feet aren’t tired or sore or blistered or anything, she says dripping with sarcasm at the end of another exhausting day.


Posted by JackiesJourneys 19:33 Archived in Spain Tagged sea barcelona spain mar montjuic fries olympic_stadium barceloneta cava

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