Saturday, September 02, 2006

Barcelona Again - Day 1

We arrived in Barcelona late last night and made our way to our apartment. When the lady met us to give us the keys and went in and it looked great! Very clean and roomy. While Steve was filling in the paperwork with the lady I started checking out the apartment and unpacking.

I found the coffee pot and had to ask directions on how to use it. Evidently it is an Italian style pot. The water goes in the base with coffee in a metal filter. After it brews the coffee ends up in the upper carafe.

So first thing this morning we headed out to Las Ramblas to look for something to cook for breakfast and some milk to weaken what we were sure would be very strong coffee. Thankfully we found that the farmer’s market was already open.

We wandered around until we found the “egg stand”. She had at least 8 different kinds of eggs, all at different prices. I stood there a little overwhelmed. Were they different species of eggs or different sizes or what???? We finally settled on a generic pre-bagged dozen of eggs. Next we looked for milk – no luck! We ended up getting fresh pineapple and strawberries to round out our breakfast.

On the way out we saw a stand that was fresh squeezing all kinds of juice. We each picked one to try. Pineapple was good and no super sweet, mango was yummy and I picked payaya, it was a pink juice and very good, although there were a few small edible seeds in mine.

Once back at the apartment I cooked breakfast. It was good – you can't go wrong with scrambled eggs and fresh fruit.

Steve set to work with the coffee pot. We were a little leery of the pot but the coffee that came from it was great! A little strong but the cups were small!

After breakfast Steve went for a run and Maria and I walked some on Las Ramblas and bought some postcards!

We then took the train inland to Montserrat to see the Monastery. There is a boys choir that sings two songs everyday at 1pm. We thought we had plenty of time to catch the train for the hour long trip but when we arrived at the station we found out the train only runs every hour not every 5 minutes like the metro! So we had to wait at the station for about 45 minutes. That gave us plenty of time to eat the lunch we had bought along the way but sadly we missed hearing the choir.

We took a cable car up to the top of the mountain and the view was great! We also went inside the Basilica and the stained glass and architecture was beautiful. Construction began in the 16th century, and the status of basilica was conferred by Pope Leo XIII in 1881. The present fa├žade dates of 1901, whilst the interior was restored after being damaged by Napoleonic troops in 1811.

This is the look up while waiting for the cable car.

This was the view on the way up in the cable car.

This was the view from the top!

This was inside the Basilica:

After coming back to the apartment we headed to the beach for a little sun and surf. I was a little stunned by the “freedom” expressed on the beach but it is Europe afterall! Not many pictures here, some things are best left to the imagination.