A very energetic but successful day. Barcelona is really impressive. Very busy but orderly and very tidy. A very popular mode of transport here is the motor scooter. They are everywhere and apparently have right of way on the road system, according to Brendan, the irishman who drove us in from the airport yesterday.
We spent the day roaming the city of 3 million people on the Barcelona Turista Hop On, Hop Off bus, first following the blue route and then switching to the red route. Tomorrow we will be exploring the green route.
We started the day by struggling to find the Gracia stop being the stop nearest our accommodation where we were to get on the bus but we eventually found it. Then we went to Tramvia Blau-Tibidabo, a mountain top accessed by tram (or in our case bus because we couldn't find the tram stop we walked straight past) and funicular railway. Once you get to the top you get to see the spectacular panorama of Barcelona which unfortunately today was a little hazy. At the top you have the contrast of a spectacular church built in 1886 and an amusement park built many years later – very novel.
We then went to Monestir de Pedralbes, a former monastery built in the 14th century as a cloister for nuns. It was financed by generous donations from the wealthy families of the women who became nuns. They must have been very wealthy.
After lunch at Macdonalds in the centre of town, we headed for the Teleferic De Montjuic located on a different hill from Tibidabo, a cable car providing access to a spectacular castle overlooking the Mediterranean and the very busy port area of Barcelona.
The most impressive aspect of Barcelona is its very quirky architecture as demonstrated in the photos. The residential component of the city appears to consist of four or five story buildings much like the one we are staying in shown below. Presumably there are more conventional suburban areas in the outlying areas.
Tomorrow we are back on the hop on hop off bus for more exploration. Saturday will be a more targeted exercise once we work out what we want to see more of.
The photo below is a photo of the bullring no longer in use. It is now a shopping centre. Bullfighting has been banned in Barcelona but still goes on elsewhere in the country. It was obviously very popular given the size of the structure.
Below is the National Museum of Art which we will have a closer look at tomorrow.