Day 12: Barcelona

day-city-header1230 August 2014
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I woke up a couple times in the night with people coming in late and one guy retching in the bathroom. Everything was clean in the morning though. I bought my tickets online for Park Güell and La Sagrada Familia and I printed them out at the front desk of the hostel.

This was my last day staying at Hostel One Paralelo and I would be moving to a less expensive AirBnB place later that day. The hostel is a short walk to Castell de Montjuïc (Montjuïc Castle) so I left my backpack and decided to check out this old military fortress up on a large hill. Side note: I’m currently reading a beautiful book translated from Spanish called The Shadow of the Wind. Reference is made to Montjuïc Castle among other places in Barcelona. It is a lot flights of stairs uphill (or if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can alternate between that and taking the long winding road >_>). It’s a very scenic walk with lots of parks to stop at on the way up.

I eventually got to the castle and found out that entry is free after 3pm on Sunday. I didn’t want to have to come back though and I was hoping to be able to get into the Picasso museum (which has a more expensive entrance fee even with the 25 and under discount) for free also at that time. I paid the small €5 fee and took photos up the building. I also bought a hot dog and water bottle while I was up there (it was so hot and I burned through the water and snacks I had on my trek up!) and it turned out the cashier was Filipino! I got to practice some of my Tagalog a bit with him.

The walk down was much shorter but I was already pretty exhausted! I picked up my backpack from the hostel and the front desk guy said I’d still be welcome to come in the evenings and join them for whatever outing other hostelers have going on. Hostel One Paralelo was an awesome place of stay. It was definitely a great idea to do the hostel and then AirBnB combo during my longer stay in Barcelona: the 6-person dorm room cost me over $40/night for my weekend stay while the private AirBnB room cost me $15/night. I got to meet a lot of different people, share meals, and get city tips from being in the hostel that I just haven’t gotten as much of in my AirBnB private room stays. But the AirBnB stays are so much less expensive and offer more privacy and comfort.

I took the metro to my AirBnB host’s place of stay near La Sagrada Familia. I confirmed everything with my host, Camilo, the day before and finding the place and checking in with him was a seamless process. I had a very comfortable room and access to two different bathrooms and a kitchen area. I settled in a bit before heading back out and rushing my way up a steep 30 minute uphill walk to Park Güell. I had bought my  €7 ticket for the 3pm time-slot and got there at about 3:15pm.

Park Güell had been a residential project of Barcelona’s from the early 1900s and exemplar of Antoni Gaudí’s art nouveau work. There is a large unrestricted (free) entrance zone and the much smaller monumental zone (with park areas and all of the architecture) which requires a ticket. This is a popular place to visit and they restrict the number of tickets sold per time slot as a way of preventing overcrowding during people’s stays.

I liked being there and learning about Park Güell, but honestly probably would have enjoyed it more if the temperature weren’t so hot out (3pm time slot – I was planning to do La Sagrada Familia which is indoors at this time and Park Güell the following morning when it would be less hot, but I confused myself and switched the times and dates when I was purchasing tickets -_-) and I wasn’t already so exhausted from Montjuïc Castle AND walking up to Park Güell. Poor planning and overestimation of my own physical shape though!

Had an unpleasant descent down to my host’s place, stopping by a supermarket to buy a huge 2L jug of water for myself. I was starting to cough and I could feel my throat getting scratchy. Uh oh!

Back in my room, I eventually took a much desired nap and let the rest of the late afternoon / early evening pass me by. I then forced myself to get out and find food! I decided to take the metro and check out Boqueria Market. I walked up La Rambla for the first time and soon found out that Boqueria Market was closed :( They close at 8:30 on Saturdays – can’t believe I didn’t think to check first, bahh! My metro rides and time wasted! Ah well. I grabbed a pesto pizza for €2.50 on Nou de la Rambla where I felt pretty out of place, lol. I then went to a local old people bar for a €2 glass of Cava (Spanish wine), where I was again pretty out of place, haha.

Not really knowing what else to do or wanting to stay out late given my Sagrada Familia commitment early the next morning, I decided to just head back. :/ I picked up an apple toffee muffin on my way back for breakfast the next morning and snapped a shot of the unfinished basilica in the night!

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portugal&spain

Portugal: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5
Spain: Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12 | Day 13 | Day 14 | Day 15 | Day 16

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