Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Last Hurrah - One Night in Barcelona

July 20, 2013
Barcelona, Spain

After saying farewell to our barge-mates on Saturday morning as we all went our separate ways, we headed for Barcelona, where we would catch our flight home the next day.  We had a stressful ticket-buying experience at the station in Narbonne - the clerk could not get her credit card machine to work and Scott had to run all over town looking for an ATM while fearing we would miss the train - but eventually we arrived at the pleasant, modern station in Figueres de Vilafant, located just over the border in Spain.  Here, we would transfer to a Spanish RENFE train traveling on to Barcelona.  We had planned to have lunch at
the station while we waited for our transfer but were dismayed to discover that the only food available at or near the station was located in a vending machine.
 We were warned not to walk around in the area as it wasn't too safe so we hopped in a taxi and managed to communicate that we were looking for a restaurant that would be quick.  As luck would have it, the driver dropped us, not at a local McDonald's but at a delightfully no-frills tapas bar with good, local ambiance and where we had one of our favorite (and cheapest) meals of the trip.

Busy confirming travel plans while waiting for the taxi back to Narbonne and points south
Caroline loves tapas!  Tomato bread, chicken wings, boquerones (marinated, fresh anchovies) and fritters made for a delicious lunch in Figueres, Catalonia
Upon arriving in Barcelona, we easily found our well-located hotel on foot (but not before being reminded, once again, to travel a little lighter next time).  As the warm mid-July day gave way to a balmy evening, we passed a relaxing afternoon and evening exploring the less touristy streets of the city.  Energized by the bustle of the city and with no real destination in mind, we strolled the pleasant streets, stopping for a tapa or two and a glass of cava or sangria here and there as we wandered.  

Fun Gaudi-esque slide across from the train station in Barcelona
The National Art Museum of Catalonia was just a stone's throw from our hotel
Enjoying a tapa and a glass of cava on a quiet pedestrian-only street in Barcelona
Best sangria ever!  Tapas-bar hopping in the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) of Barcelona
After two albeit wonderful weeks in the countryside, it was a most enjoyable way to end our trip and we already can’t wait to return!

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