At the start of this trip, one of the cities I was probably most excited to visit was Barcelona. As I started plotting this thing out, and potential routes, Barcelona would be at the end, or near the end of the hermit phase of my trip. Eventually, while in Prague, over a beer at the Hard Rock Cafe, I decided this would be the last stop of the hermit phase. Now, here I am.
I got off the train and took the subway to the hotel. Barcelona seems to have an effective public transit system that is easy for a tourist to navigate. After several stops, I had arrived at the Axel Hotel.
I booked this hotel on Hotel Tonight. It had listed it as an ‘Adults Only’ hotel, which my initial thought was nice, now I don’t need to deal with any of those loud obnoxious children. Not that that has actually been a problem at any of the places I have stayed at on this trip. So, I went ahead and booked it on the app.
A couple days later, my wife asked me where I was staying in Barcelona, so I found the website for the hotel, and saw this was a gay hotel that was ‘heterofriendly’. Ok, I don’t even know what that means, do they put giant penis pictures on the walls? Not my choice of decor, but I guess if you want to decorate your hotel with it, go ahead and do it.
Turns out, its just a regular hotel, more fashionable than most, where the hotel bar is a gay bar.
After getting checked in, I needed to figure out what to do for dinner. This was about 6pm on a Sunday night, so a lot of places were closed. I was hungry and didn’t want to wait out siesta. I ended up going to the Brew Dog brew pub, the same chain that I had previously been to in Rotterdam for some beer and burgers, before going back to the hotel for the evening. I Decided Sunday night was probably not the best time to check out the hotel bar scene.
The following morning, I headed down to the hotel breakfast, then I found a Starbucks in the area. Finally, after being deprived in Montpellier, I was able to find another place for my caffeine fix. I also discovered a whole bunch of bakeries, and other breakfast establishments in the neighborhood, so this was my only time doing hotel breakfast.
After breakfast I headed to la Sagrada Família. I was able to seethe outside, however getting inside requires tickets which need to be purchased by app. Checking the app, it appears the only times available that day were in the late afternoon. I chose instead to get a ticket for tomorrow, I am going to be in Barcelona for a while, so no need to rush things.
I had lunch that afternoon of a baguette, continuing the French theme from the day before in Spain. After that, I went to the Moço Museum, and saw some recent art, post contemporary art, whatever the term is they’re using for that now, including some more Banksy.
Then, I got on a bus back to the neighborhood and had a Gin and Tonic in a neighborhood cafe. Now, it was approaching 4 pm, when most establishments are closed for siesta, and I decided it was time for siesta myself back at the hotel room.
Of course right about this time, housekeeping is coming through doing the rooms, so I left the room again to let them do their job, while locating Scobies Irish Pub and Kitchen for a pint of Guinness.
That evening I went out around 8 to see what was now open in the area, and found a late 80’s Britain themed bar, The Manchester. Ok, i had found a place to drink, but I still hadn’t eaten yet, and decided I should get some food in me before I drink more. I found an empanada stand to take care of that, and I was off the the bar for a few Gin and Tonics.
By this time it was past 11, way past my bedtime, and I needed something to soak up the alcohol, so I headed to a McDonald’s to get some grease to do that before heading back to the hotel room and turning in for the night.
The following morning, I was up somewhat early, well before most of the bakeries had opened. I had reservations at La Sagrada Família at 11 so I didn’t want to wait too long, so I got a croissant and coffee from one of the few places that was open, Starbucks.
After that, and a bit of blogging, I headed to my reservation at La Sagrada Família. As spectacular as the basilica is on the outside, it’s even more spectacular on the inside, and ended up spending a lot more time there, paying attention to the details, than I was planning.
After that, I took a Hop On bus tour of Barcelona. I got off the bus thinking I could transfer to another line, but my ticket was denied, with the operator saying it was only good for the one line I took, even though I had been previously told when I bought the ticket it was for all lines on all days. Oh well.
On checking the maps then, I saw I was only about 5 blocks away from my hotel at that time, so I took a break there, before heading back to the Irish pub from the day before, where I straightened out business with my upcoming AirBNB host in Lisbon and got some more grease from the McDonalds, to hold me over through siesta.
Around 8 that evening, I headed up to the hotel’s rooftop bar and had a couple of Gin and Tonics, as well as confusions where people thought I was someone else. After this, it was about 9:30 and time for dinner.
For dinner that night, once I got out of the hotel, I decided I wanted ramen. Checking the maps, there were several options to chose from in this neighborhood, and ended up going to Takumi for some tofu and vegetable ramen, as well as a Kirin. Then, headed across the street to a bodega for some late night Fritos, before heading back to the room to turn in for the night.
That evening I didn’t actually get to bed until after midnight, so the following morning I slept in until about nine, which is fine as that is when most of the bakeries and breakfast shops in the neighborhood opened anyhow. I got an expresso and a croissant from Pink Corner, a gay bar that might not be the most obvious choice for breakfast, but had what I was looking for baked goods, coffee, and sidewalk seating.
The place was also a couple blocks down the street from Starbucks, so I needed to then head there for my morning Pike Place coffee. After this I took a bus down to the Catalan National Museum, where I took in some more art.
Probably one of the more fascinating parts of that museum was the propaganda art used by the Republicans in the 1930’s, in light of the Spanish Civil War, which also looks similar in style to a lot of the propaganda that the Nazi’s would put together later that decade.
After that I took a stroll into Plaza Espanha, then took the subway back to the neighborhood of my hotel. I then got a lunch of some fries and found another Irish bar, where I had a couple of Guinness before heading back to the hotel for siesta. That evening, around 8, I headed out again and went to a taco place for some actual steak tacos, not that nonsense that the French are calling tacos, strolled around the neighborhood plaza a bit more, then headed back to the roof bar of my hotel for some Gin and Tonic’s, before checking into my room for the night.
The following morning I was up early again, so the only place that was open at that time was Starbucks, where I had a four cheese sandwich, along with my usual coffee for breakfast. After that I went back to my room to pack up. Today was the day that I needed to fly to Lisbon.
After packing up, checking out, and settling my bar tab with the hotel, I went to stroll around the neighborhood again. Strolling from the hotel to downtown Barcelona, past the train station I came into town through, and back up to the hotel area.
I then got lunch at The Good Burger, and strolled up the main shopping street in Barcelona, before strolling back to the hotel, grabbing my bags, and heading to the Airport.
At the airport, I cleared security and found my gate. About half an hour before departure, they asked people to line up at the gate. However, I did not. My philosophy on that is why do I want to spend more time in a metal tube than I have to. In this case however, they didn’t even open the gates for another hour later. Glad I didn’t sign up for that standing in line for an hour nonsense.
Anyhow, after being delayed for an hour, I did get on as one of the last people on he plane, and my flight to Lisbon was off.