29 August 2014
Oh man, my tourist game was on full throttle this day. The first item of business was the free walking tour at 10am. Veejay and I talked about meeting up to go together the previous night, but we didn’t discuss a time and place to meet lol, and I didn’t end up seeing him at all in the morning! I made my way to the Sandeman Tours meeting place near Jaume station on Line 4 (yellow line) at Plaça de l’Angel. We were a lot of people and separated into three large tour groups.
My particular tour guide, Ruby, was great! Barcelona is an amazing city and we visited a nice assortment of major tourist hot spots and hard-to-find gems. Among areas we explored and talked about were the Catedral de Barcelona (Cathedral of Barcelona), the Jewish district, Santa Maria del Mar (Our Lady of the Sea), graffiti in El Born of the La Ribeira district, and ending in Parc de Ciutadella (Ciutadella Park).
After thanking Ruby and leaving a tip, I left Parc de Ciutadella to visit Mirador de Colom (Columbus Monument) at the end of the famous Ramblas street and overlooking the harbour. On my way I got a doner pollo ensalada for €3.50 to go and it was one of the best I’ve ever had in my life. I was starving since I only had a small breakfast and still could only finish half of it! I kept the rest of it in a plastic bag I would end up carrying the whole day.
My MRP supervisor was working on a project centering Christopher Columbus and asked me to do a bit of picture taking of this monument. Most importantly, I tried to recreate a photo my boyfriend had taken while he was in Barcelona about a month before me.
At one point on the tour, Ruby made mention of a chocolate museum and my ears perked up. I had asked her to mark the location on my map and decided to check it out before the tapas tour instead of heading back to the hostel.
The Museu de Xocolata (Chocolate Museum) is on the first floor of a large and pinkish building. Ahh, it smelled so nice and chocolatey going in~ The lobby area contains a cafe and Chocolateria to purchase chocolates. I bought a ticket to enter the museum. The ticket is a chocolate bar (!) according to what country you’ve come from to visit the museum. I also got a small map of the area.
It’s a really small museum but still prettt enjoyable for any chocolate lover such as myself. There was information on the history and more social aspects of of chocolate, chocolate making, and chocolate consuming. It was a nice balance between written and visual and audiovisual pieces. There were pretty impressive art pieces made of chocolate, too, particularly in the gallery.
Upstairs on the third floor is the small Arxiu Fotogràfic de Barcelona which has free entrance so I checked that out, too. It was very quiet and almost completely empty. The photographs were gorgeous from as early as 1906.
I ended up having plenty of time still to see the Arc de Triomf.
Oh man, I was wearing my legs out and it was still pretty early! I went back to Park de Ciutadella and wandered a bit before just sitting down to take a break before I would have to head back to the meeting place for my tapas tour.
While on the walking tour in the morning, I decided I was enjoying my time so much with them that I booked a spot on their tapas tour that same day. Also, my food adventures in Spain were still pretty lackluster at this point. I walked through Princesa street and the area surrounding the Picasso museum to meet the group at Plaça de l’Angel again at 6pm.
Because of the introductions and communal nature of tapas tasting, I got to know a lot more of my fellow tour mates. I first met a couple from Montreal, two guys from Argentina, a couple from Israel, and a mother – daughter team from Columbia. We hopped around three different pintxos and tapas places and got a choice of wine or beer at each place, too. The first pintxos place was probably my favourite food-wise, though I really enjoyed all of them for the different things they had to offer. One of the places they took us to was a Michelin restaurant. We had a private room in the last place and got to take turns drinking red wine and beer from porróns (traditional glass wine pitchers in Spain). Super fun times that produced not the most flattering photographs of myself, haha. We had a contest later on with who could finish the contents of a porrón the fastest and the farthest away from your mouth without taking a shower in it. :P
I had a blast! I met a group of four guys from England, a first time female solo traveler from India, and a girl and her cousin from Florida. Our tour ended and our guide showed us to another bar on La Barceloneta where we had more fun and drinks. We started the rest of the night with a shot of something with some kind of coffee liqueur and I shared a pitcher of sangria with the couple from Israel.
After an hour or so, I decided to head back to the hostel so I could see what other people would be up to for the night. I said my goodbyes and stopped by a gelato place on the boardwalk on my way back. Macaron and dulce de leche flavour! <3 When I got back to the hostel, my plan was to take a quick nap and then go out again, lol, with hostel people who would be meeting up around 1 am to go to a place called Razzmatazz. I tucked in and unfortunately fell into pretty deep sleep, haha. I’m getting old!