Friday, October 16, 2015

#1526 2 weeks in Barcelona day 6: Bus Turistic, lunch by the sea and Tibidabo

It's a little later than I wanted to start writing. MT and I were out choosing flooring for the fixer upper and time slips away when you are shopping! Now that's done and I'm ready to go back to Barcelona - for real - but I'll settle for remembering our sixth day.

Saturday 19 September 2015

On this day our plan was to see the city on board the Bus Turistic. The bus is a hop on/hop off tour that takes three routes through the city and you can get off whenever you feel the need to see something in more detail. Our plan was to ride all three routes, getting off around Port Olympic for lunch, then finishing the tour back where we started near Tibidabo.

There are many buses and they run most of the day. It is a really great way to see the main sites of the city. You get headphones that you plug into a system on the bus which explains what you are seeing as you go along in lots of different languages. If you go, try to sit on the upper deck in the open air. You get much better views. The outside of the bus is decorated really cute, but when you're inside, you can't see anything.

We started on the blue route and there weren't very many people on board so we were able to each get separate seats on the upper level. Again, it was a beautiful day. It was a little windy up there, but we had sweaters and felt fine. Except for Lizzie. She had caught a cold. She bought a powder at the pharmacy that made her drowsy, so the first part of the tour wasn't all that fun for her. :( She sat inside the bus and dozed a little, poor thing.

We caught the bus at Avinguda Tibidabo. The bus went past a convent, a house where Gaudi built the gate and Camp Nou, the home of FC Barcelona, the futbol team. The stadium is huge - it seats nearly 100,000 people and is the largest soccer stadium in Europe. FCB is a big deal. We only drove by, we didn't get our. Here's a photo I took, but it in no way shows how enormous the place is:

Camp Nou
We didn't stay on the blue route very long before it was time to change to the red route. The red route seems to be the most popular. It goes up past Placa d'Espanya, up Montjuic, past the Olympic venues, down to the port area, up Via Laietana past the Barri Gotic and Placa Catalunya and up Passeig de Gracia. We were unable to get seats on the upper level, so I speak from experience when I say you can't see much or take good photos from inside the bus. If I have a regret from this trip, it's that I wasn't sitting on the upper deck for the first part of the red route or that I didn't ask to get out for a minute or two at Placa d'Espanya or near Poble Espanyol to see the view of the city from Montjuic. Like I always say...maybe next time.

Mom and I kept our eyes open for people from the upper deck leaving and as soon as we could, we went to the upper deck. Lizzie stayed below and rested, like I said. We got to have upper level seats when we got to the Port Vell area which was where Lizzie and I had walked on Thursday. Mom (and the tour guide voice) was telling me how much the port area had been improved because of the Olympics in 1992. In fact, the next area was Port Olimpic. That's where we got off the red route bus to get on the green route bus.

The green route is the shortest. It takes you by the beaches and the Poblenou area. Here are some photos of the area:

one of Barcelona's seven beaches
Torre Agbar tower looks like a torpedo or a ?
When we finished the green route, we got off the bus and walked toward Port Olimpic. This is the area where the athlete village was for the Barcelona Olympics. At the port, there are many bars and restaurants, and that's where we decided to have lunch. After some confusion, we chose a nice restaurant called El Cangrejo Loco (The Crazy Crab). We sat a a great table on the patio with a view of the Mediterranean and the beach. My lunch that day was fantastic! For starter, a chicken Caesar salad. Second, calamare and the main course was shrimp and noodles, almost exactly like I make at home. I have to show you a picture of the calamare:

Look at that! They are huge! So unlike the calamare we have here. It was only the rings - no legs. And the squid was tender and light - not chewy at all. You didn't even need sauce. A squirt of lemon was perfect, although I did use a bit of the romescu sauce, which is quite delicious.

After a satisfying and fantastic meal, we were ready to continue seeing the sights. We got back on the red line and was able to get upper level seats. (Hooray!) Lizzie was feeling better. The cold powder medicine she took was a miracle.

During this part of the trip, I basically just stuck my camera in the air and snapped away. I have lots of pics that are mostly sky, but here are some that I like:

la catedral

gorgeous detail on a building

I can't remember the name of this house, but it looks cool
The bus stopped briefly at Placa Catalunya. I think that's officially where the red route starts, then we continued up Passeig de Gracia. It's a very graceful and elegant part of the city. You pass the Block of Discord where you see Casa Battlo and up the street to La Pedrera, both Antoni Gaudi creations. Even the street lamps are elegant on this street.

Casa Amatller and Casa Battlo
La Pedrera
lamp post
We did hop off the bus at La Pedrera because I wanted to get a better look at it and I know Lizzie did too. We also walked a few blocks back to get another look at Casa Battlo, but we would be spending a little more time there next week, too. This is also where we got back on the blue route bus.

The work of the architect Antoni Gaudi is a significant part of Barcelona. His creativity and vision is evident around the city. In fact, his masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia church, was the next thing we got to see.

the Passion side

the Nativity side
As you can see from the cranes, the church is not finished. I will spend a lot more time writing about  and showing a lot more photos of the Sagrada Familia on days 11 and 13. It's a special place.

The bus can't take you all the way to Parc Guell, but it gets you to a place where you can walk about 20 minutes up the hill to get to it. Much more about Parc Guell on day 11. (Teaser!!)

We finished our tour back at Avinguda Tibidabo. I really enjoyed the Bus Turistic. I would certainly do it again. If you go, take the tour. It's a great way to see everything in a day.

We wanted to go up to Tibidabo that night, and the tramvia blau runs on Saturday. It used to run every day, but I guess it's getting old and they only run it on weekends. We had to wait for it, so we decided to walk through the gardens that Lizzie and I found on day 4. We found out the garden was called Jardines de la Tamarita. 

jardines de la Tamarita

selfie time!
What a nice place to stroll around. I wish my backyard looked like that!

Soon we were on the tramvia blau headed to Tibidabo.

tramvia blau
Riding the little blue streetcar took me right back to my childhood. It was unchanged. Riding up the hill, passing the mansions and of course, one of Mom's schools (the German Institute) to the middle of the mountain to get on the funicular. That's a train that takes you straight up the mountain to the amusement park. The funicular hasn't changed at all either, but it's not quite as charming as the tramvia blau. Nice views, though.

Tibidabo is unique. There's a huge church up there and an amusement park and fantastic views of the city. I used to love to go there and ride the rides and walk all around. Today though, I was just there for the views. And, as luck would have it, some churros!

the view from Tibidabo
A couple of things. First, see the green hill nearest the camera? That's Putxet park that I talked about on day 1 and day 5. Next, see the two tall buildings a bit to the left all the way down at the sea? That's Port Olimpic area where we had lunch that day. Basically we had gone the width of the city, from the sea to the mountains.  Gosh! I love Barcelona <3 p="">
When we arrived up there, the sky was a little cloudy. There was no worry about rain, but the photos were kind of dark.

the church and the carousel
But as we sat to eat our churros and look around, the sun came out and shined upon the church so it glowed.

the church at Tibidabo
This is one of my favorite photos. I love the way the light hits the church.

And over by Montserrat, the sun was starting to set.

When it got dark, we took the funicular back down the mountain and got on a bus (the tramvia blau doesn't run in the dark) back to Avinguda Tibidabo and then we walked home to our apartment on Carrer Bertran for our last night there.

I don't have to say it, but I will: it was a spectacular day.

Next time...we're off to Platja d'Aro!


Kteach said...

I am so happy that both of you love my city as much as I do :)

Paul S said...

Barcelona was the city that started the endless love I have for Gaudi and his work, fuelled my love for tapas and showed me that I was capable of organising a break away and navigating transport in another country.
I'm glad you enjoyed it too.