Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tour Day in Barcelona

We were up and out early this morning.  We needed to be at the bus station for our ½ day tour of Barcelona.  The hotel provides breakfast which was very good.  Eggs, sweet rolls and a variety of other things.  I liked the cheesy scrambled eggs, but others did not. 
Yesterday, when we asked the bellhop/doorman how to get to the bus station, he told us we should take a taxi, which he would summons for us.  Of course, today he was no where around.  So we walked across the street to where a bunch of taxis were parked.  Kristina showed one driver our voucher for the tour and asked him about the bus station.  He told her it was few blocks that way.  She asked another and the answer was almost the same.  Puzzled, we shrugged our shoulders and started walking.  We didn’t think we’d have time to walk all the way there, so as a taxi pulled beside us to stop at a traffic light with the driver’s window down, Kristina asked if he was available.  He said yes, so we piled in and showed him our voucher.
We decided that the first two taxi drivers must have thought we wanted directions, when in fact; we wanted them to take us there.  “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” 
We arrived at the bus station and traded our voucher for tickets.  We now had 45 minutes to wait for the bus to arrive.  Instead of sitting there, we decided to walk around the area.  We managed to find a store where we could purchase the essentials of life; water and Kleenex.
The bus arrived with Pedro, our tour guide.  We all filed on and away we went to our first stop, the Gothic Quarter.  Pedro led us on an hour walk through the quarter, which was very interesting.  He gave us 6 minutes at the Barcelona Cathedral to take photos.  Then back to the bus for a driving tour of the Olympic village and waterfront area.  From there we went up a hill to the Olympic stadium for a quick “photo opportunity” stop. 
We reboarded the bus and drove to the Spanish Village, built in 1929 for a World’s Fair.  This village has sections representing several different areas of Spain.  Sort of like Bush Gardens did with countries.  We walked through the Village and stopped to sample local champagne at one restaurant.  It was good, very bubbly.   Pedro herded us back onto the bus and we returned to the bus station. 
After a pit stop at the tour office, we decided to walk back to the hotel.  As it was lunch time, we decided to peruse the menus of the restaurants that we passed.  We stopped at one of them that looked interesting.  The man spoke a little English and was having trouble explaining the menu items.  Lori pulled out her Spanish for Travelers and I pulled out my list of food to try or avoid.  He was quite happy to see them and was able to point out some items to us. 
Danielle had salad with cheese; I had salad with apples; Lori and Kristina had gazpacho, which was a creamy tomato soup served with a side dish of chopped up onions, tomatoes and croutons.  For our main course Lori and I had tuna empanadas, Kristina had sausages with a tomato “dipping” sauce and Danielle had pan fried chicken with potatoes.  For dessert Kristina, Lori and I had flan.  Danielle had almond pastry that arrived with a shot glass of some type of liqueur (not amaretto).  It sort of smelled like apple, to me.  We decided that she was probably supposed to drizzle it over the tart, which she did. 
It appears that a lot of the restaurants have set menus of three courses.  You pick one for a starter, one for main course and one dessert for a set price. 
After eating we walked back to our hotel for a siesta. 
Lori uploaded some photos for today.  She didn’t know that I had already posted the blog for today.   When I woke up she asked me and I said that it had been posted.  I suggested that she go ahead and post it, but delete the words, so it wasn’t posted twice.  Uh oh!  When she did that, it actually deleted the posting.  Arghhhh!!  We had no idea!!  So this is a new edition.
We headed out for a stroll and to find dinner about 6 PM.   This time we went east from the hotel a block or so and found a street that had a bicycle path in the middle of it with restaurants on it.  That is to say, the main restaurant is over on the side of the street; the “sidewalk café” part was out in the middle of the street. 
We walked up and down the street and picked one that had the menu in Spanish and ENGLISH!!  We decided to share; so we all agreed on what to order.  We had ham croquettes, pork loin,  prawn salad with avocado and spinach cannoli.  For dessert  I ordered rice pudding, Danielle had a chocolate volcano cake, Kristina had sponge cake with a twist and Lori had something  with pastry and cream filling and caramelized sweet cream.    
We have noticed that no one is in any hurry to remove you from their restaurant.  I think we could have stayed an hour after we were finished eating.   Once we managed to get the bill, we paid and started back to the hotel.  There were less people on the street, but the restaurants were all still busy.
We made it back at 9:30 and Kristina, Lori and I put on our swimsuits and headed for the sauna.  Danielle stayed in our room to use the computer.  This time there were some people at a table on the roof patio and a guy running on the treadmill.  After some minutes we headed back to the room.
When I get through with this, we are going to google how to use bidets!!

1 comment:

  1. As you may have noticed, I have just begun to post. George and I were on Hilton Head Island from Thursday through Sunday, and I was busy all day yesterday and never got online, so I'm just now catching up. It sounds like you are doing well. The food, especially, sounds interesting to me. You know me. Sightseeing is not really my bag, but eating is! Keep on having fun.