Sitting in the lobby this morning, our bags packed and ready to check out, I went through our paperwork. I had a heart attack when I realised our flight was tomorrow. Shit! I need to book another night. Then I remembered, Chris had already done that, it was just on the following page. So quickly we went back upstairs and thought about what we might do today! What a little blessing – after complaining about not having seen enough!
I thought I could sneak onto the tourist bus again because we had a “two day pass”, I was thinking 48 hours right? I thought I’d just lazily wave it at the ticket operator and climb on. But alas, no, it means two consecutive days so it had expired. I unwillingly parted with more money so we could come aboard. We took it right up to Park Guell so I could see more Gaudi. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting – it was an uphill walk from the bus and then once inside, stairs, stairs and more stairs! I think I was expecting a park similar to what we saw yesterday. But the views over Barcelona were amazing, and munching away on an ice cream, Hardy didn’t complain about the walking. I unpacked the pram whenever I could too. He’s worked out how to get himself in and out which helps.
You have to pay to access key areas of the park but there is plenty of Gaudi’s handiwork to be seen throughout. The park was originally designed to be an exclusive neighbourhood for Catalonia’s wealthiest families, with 40 homes and parks on offer. I’m not sure when exactly that was scrapped, but the original land was completely barren. Gaudi and the team imported some plants and planted local trees to create the entire park. Pretty impressive.
Hardy then played the toilet card, but then we found a playground so like, the need went away. Right! But eventually it resurfaced but even when following the signs to the ‘wash closet’ we never seemed to find it! Outside the park entry is a sweet little restaurant so we stopped in there. I grabbed another cappucino because I am so sophisticated now (!!) and Hardy could use the toilet. The owners had really old swooners playing, and I surprised myself by knowing some of the words. I put that down to Grandma and Granddad’s ‘4BH..882’ radio I think!
We got back on the bus via another playground which was smack bang in the middle of the road – no joke – lanes on either side (but also fenced with a gate). It was interesting and nice to see what was clearly a more residential side to Barcelona, and being a Sunday, a few families were out and about but all the shops were closed. We drove through more affluent suburbs and got to see even more of Gaudi’s work which was great but I couldn’t get decent photos of it all. He’s everywhere. What a legacy. I wondered what Barcelona would be like if he never existed, or even if he just lived somewhere else in Spain. I feel like other architects have since strived to create other, wacky buildings to maintain the exotic style.
We hopped off in kind of the middle of town – Place Catalunya. I was hoping we could do a spot of shopping as I need a new t-shirt (the cruise cleaners ruined mine) and Hardy could use some new shoes. But, even the major chains were closed. Which is kind of nice, that Sundays here are still reserved for family (or church probably) and is therefore still a holy day. The square is crowded with pidgeons and I soon realised why – you can pay to feed them. Gross. They were like wallabies at the zoo – so full they could hardly move. We almost ran them over in the pram!
I knew Hardy would need to go to the toilet again soon (the poo also magically disappeared when we found the second playground) and it was past lunch. I went to cross the road towards some umbrellas I could see, but the light went red. On the left, the light went green so I headed to those umbrellas instead. I’m glad I did. We had stumbled across one of the best and craziest restaurants ever – Txapla. No I don’t know how to pronounce it. It had 50 different toppings to go on little slices of baguette. I had crab, avocado and mango on one, and cuttlefish, “Catalonian spinach”, pine nuts and sweet salsa on the other. It. was. delicious. Hardy’s kids meal took a little longer than we’d like but he gave three thumbs up to each part – the nuggets, the chips, and the pasta.
A short Metro ride later we’re back in our hotel having been out for like 7 hours. It’s weird how time just evaporates and you don’t feel like you’ve done much. We ended the day with another quick swim and – finally – a traditional paella! Yummo!