At about ten o’clock last night, I checked the time. “Happy Anniversary”, I said to Sue, congratulating her on twenty-four hours in Spain. “Cheers”, we all said, as we raised our glasses. And what a whirlwind twenty four hours it had been.
After meeting Sue late last night at the airport, and checking in to our hotel, the Hotel ibis Madrid Aeropuerto Barajas, we had a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant. La Vina de Nerea. The food, wine and conversation were excellent.
An early morning start had us on the almost four-hour train trip to Barcelona. We were both somewhat overwhelmed as we contrasted train trips in Australia and Spain. The railway station in Madrid, and the train itself, were both clean and orderly. And the speed. For the most part we travelled at close to 300 kmh.
One of the really surprising things about the trip between Madrid and Barcelona was the lack of any major development in between. Yes, there were farms, and the occasional town, but the landscape was overwhelmingly bare. Not that it was unpleasant. In fact, I found it very engaging, and snapped a quite a few photographs from the window of the train.
On arriving in Barcelona, we headed straight for our apartment, located in the Gracia district, where we settled, bought a few necessities for the next few days, before heading for a walk around the nearby Park Gruell.
“Barcelona is such a beautiful city at night”, I commented to my colleague, Damian as we walked off last night’s dinner. He’s here with his wife, Kate, currently working at the university. It was lovely to see them, as they told us many stories about what’s been happening in Barcelona, in the midst of the independence movement. They’d recommended we had dinner at Cafe De L’Academia, after a brief earlier catch-up at a nearby tiny bar called, Vin.
Back home, we discussed further our activities for the next few days, which included booking in for a visit to the Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família. It’s not the “peak” of the tourist season right now, but you still need to book ahead, and unfortunately, we weren’t able to secure a place on an English-language tour. Nonetheless, we had places on a self-guided tour with audio commentary, and that’s probably better, anyway.
This morning, we’re headed off on one of those “free tours”, which I hope will be really terrific. Wake up, Sue, it’s time for breakfast :)