I’m a bit behind in posting, due to general exhaustion but also shitty hotel internet. I’m combining our second and third day in Barcelona mostly because we weren’t huge fans of the city.
The thing is, neither Chris nor I is a fan of huge crowded touristy cities. Or rather, I should say that it takes us more than two and a half days to start to enjoy a really touristy city. We love Rome, though of course there are very obvious reasons why we would love it despite the huge number of tourists, and we’ve been there so many times that we are now comfortable navigating our way around the city. While walking the streets of Barcelona, I was constantly on guard – even our hotel person told us to be aware of pick-pockets. So walking around became a stressful event where every person was a potential thief.
Anyway, Barcelona was ok. We went to the city history museum at the Plaça del Rei, which had a nice tour of Roman remains found under a count’s palace, as well as the city’s archaeological museum, which had some really nicely displayed exhibits of the city’s prehistoric inhabitants as well as the Iberian (the culture native to the Iberian peninsula that was prominent before the Romans). Interestingly enough, there was a larger emphasis on the Iberian material than on the Roman, though there is probably a whole warehouse somewhere chock full of Roman stuff. Perhaps a statement about the desire for Catalonian independence?
We also visited the cathedral, which was lovely – I have a particular soft spot for Gothic cathedrals, and I wasn’t really aware that Spain had any (France gets all the glory on that score). It was also nice to just get out of the sun for a moment as well.
The most disappointing aspect of our visit was our search for visible Roman remains. Chris knew that there were a few things around that were still visible, so we walked around the city center to each one. All of them turned out to be rather lackluster – nothing too special or in great condition. At least we got our steps in…?!
Without doubt, the best part of Barcelona was the food. We ate many wonderful things but I won’t list them all here cuz that would be boring for you, I suppose. I will, however, list the places we tried:
La Boqueria – a large market similar to Findlay market but with ready made food vendors as well.
La Cholita – near our hotel and absolutely excellent
Viana – a trendier place right off La Rambla
After lunch at Viana, we walked to pick up our rental car, drove back to our hotel to pick up our stuff (a five mile drive that took an hour and a half, thanks to rush hour), then headed out to Tarragona. We got in pretty late, so our dinner consisted of kebabs from a local Indian/Middle Eastern place. Never underestimate the power of a good kebab! Cheap, quick, and delicious, they are the perfect ending to a long and somewhat frustrating day.