Tuesday, March 14, 2017


We left Tuesday morning for Barcelona, catching the high-speed train to Barcelona.  A bit pricey, but traveling about 185 mph makes the trip go very quickly.  The train was quiet, restful, and clean - what a way to go!!!

When we arrived in Barcelona, we learned very quickly that we would never, ever want to try to drive there.  The roads are so very narrow - it is hard to believe a car could ever go down some of them.  Our driver had a little difficulty figuring out where we were to go, and he could only drop us off a few blocks from the hotel because cars were not allowed any closer.  We had to drag our suitcases for a few blocks, which was just fine . . . more steps!

We first went to the Cathedral in the Gothic part of town.  In the plaza, many street performers are around.  We saw a band we especially thought was fun, and a bubble blower blew our socks off.

Diana and Gaudi

Inside the cathedral, we were treated to many different side chapels, lovely windows, a gorgeous choir loft, and a spectacular altarpiece.  We were able to go up to the top of one of the towers to get a view of the restoration and of Barcelona.  The crypt under the altar contains the remains of Santa Eulalia, the patron saint of Barcelona.

Afterwards, Diana led us down the beautiful Gothic streets to a lovely eating establishment, where we had Albondigas (no te dije?), canelones, a green salad, and roasted vegetables.  It was a lovely meal in a very fancy establishment!

We then treated ourselves to a scoop of wonderful ice cream as we came home for a few minutes of rest.  Then we went to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Mar.  Another Gothic cathedral, it is one of the most purely Gothic Cathedrals because it was built in 50 years - making it built without conflicting styles entering into its construction.  Unfortunately, between the war in 1715 and a fire in 1937, it lost much of its artwork.  Its barrenness, however, is what makes it stand out.  It is noted for its slender pillars that make it look taller than it really is, and for its beautiful rose window.  This one is a cathedral worth seeing.

In the cloister area of the cathedral, geese live in this little courtyard.  Can anyone say AFLAC?

Finally Di took us to a tapas bar Xampanyet.  We arrived at 6:50, and the line was already forming.  We managed to be one of the first groups in, and it was a good thing, because within two minutes all of the seats were filled and people were standing at the bar.  Diana ordered us some tapas - bread with tomato, stuffed pepper, stuffed olives (with anchovies), sausage, and manchego - along with a beer for Don and cave for Kathy and her.

Besides the busy-ness of the bar - it was standing room only - we loved the ambiance.  The walls were covered with beautiful tiles, there were funny sayings hanging over the tiles, and flasks were hanging at the door.  Our favorite saying is below.  It says:

If one drinks, he becomes drunk; if he is drunk, he sleeps; if he sleeps, he does not sin; if he does not sin, he goes to heaven.  Therefore, let's drink so we can go to heaven.

The bar was certainly a hopping place to go.  We could have stayed, but there were so many people in the place, we felt we needed to "flip the table," though no one else seemed to think so!  I think that is an American thing, but that's ok . . . we had a great night.

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