Monday morning started out cloudy, which made me glad I had gotten in a little bit of beach time the day before. I pulled my things together, dropped off my suitcase in the lobby, and took the metro (large and clean but otherwise unremarkable) to the north of the city to see the much recommended Parc Güell, home to still more of Gaudí’s work. The park is located on a hill far above the city, and it’s a bit of a hike to get up there. I wove my way around not a few people with selfie sticks who were trying to capture shots of themselves over nondescript views of the city!
There’s a lot to see inside the park, but I was content once again to forego the cost of a ticket and just see what I could. The most famous part of the park is the overlook with the mosaic balconies; it costs money to go out on them, and I would have paid, but the ticket booth was curiously in a different part of the park! I still got a pretty good look though:
The clouds disappeared while I was at the park, so I didn’t linger longer than necessary to see most of it. I took the metro back to La Rambla so that I could grab lunch at a famous tapas bar inside the market. Luckily, a stool was open, and I spent a minute just trying to figure out the system – there’s not really a menu; you can look at what other people are eating, or, in the case of two separate groups of Asian tourists, pull up Instagram on your phone and point to a picture of what some random other person ate and ask if they’re serving that today! The couple next to me were eating octopus and a sort of vegetable scrambled egg, both of which looked excellent, so I went with those. The man behind the bar was just as much a part of the bar’s fame as the food, I think; he’s probably about 70, speaks Catalan, wears a vest that seems more appropriate to the Ritz Carlton than to a stall inside a touristy market, and has a killer smile. (He gamely took the phones extended by the Asian tourists and indicated whether or not the food pictured thereon was available.)
After that delightful break, I ventured once again into the Barri Gotic to look for last-minute purchases, and then I made my way to the beach for the remainder of my afternoon. I parked myself on an 8€ chair, pulled out my Kindle, and spent the next two hours enjoying this view and listening to the music of bands playing on the boardwalk:
J came to meet me there, so we got to see each other one more time before I left. I am so glad we found each other on Saturday night! I still spent a good chunk of time alone this weekend, but it was just the right amount – not so much that I felt lonely; it was nice to be able to look forward to seeing someone at some point in the day. If all my future solo trips can go as well as this one, I’ll be well pleased.
There was a great deal of Barcelona that I did not see this weekend, so I will definitely have to go back. I loved the city. I have been saying for the last year that if Paris had a beach, it would be the perfect city. Barcelona isn’t quite as beautiful as Paris, but it’s got plenty of very stately buildings (not to mention all the interesting Modernisme influences), a great underlying energy, and… a beach. Food for thought.