by arianambrand

I slept in on Monday, then packed my things and took the train down to the city. Unfortunately, the closest station to my hostel was over half an hour’s walk carrying an awkward duffel bag…next time, I’m definitely bringing a backpack.

So I went exploring, city map in hand. As you heard already, I ended up at the beach, where I took a long nap, getting slightly sunburned in the process.

I also walked along the seashore and visited Frank Gehry’s giant copper fish sculpture. It was a warm day, and everyone was outdoors enjoying the weather imported directly from Africa.

From there I turned inland to visit the Parc de la Ciutadella, a big open space where a hated military fortress was built and later razed by Barcelonans. It’s now a really pretty place.

In the background there you can see the golden chariot on top of the Cascada,  a massive fountain that a young Gaudí helped design. There are also giant dragon monsters that spit water into the pools below.

That evening, I went out for Senegalese food in El Born, a fancy district just across the street from my hostel. It was incredibly spicy, a nice change from Hungarian food.

Amalia arrived late that night, after exciting adventures with the French air strike (no air-traffic controllers means no airplanes in French airspace means late planes). The next morning we got up, got excellent coffee for breakfast, and went sightseeing in the rain. And oh man did it rain. I was really really glad to have brought my superlight rain coat–Amalia just ended up buying a little umbrella from the street vendors. We walked through most of the Barri Gotic taking shelter in several lovely churches when the rain got too bad. We wandered down La Rambla, the big pedestrian mall that divides the Barri Gotic from El Raval. It was actually pretty nice, since that street is normally impossibly crowded–the rain cleared it out a bit. We even went into one of the big markets and wandered around looking at sheep heads and skinned rabbits and candied fruit. Good times were had all around.

Here’s Amalia in the Placa Real, along with most of the rest of the tourists in Barcelona, apparently.

It was a pretty excellent day, especially once the rain stopped.

[More Gaudí Fountain photos here, and some pretty stained glass in the church of Santa Maria del Pi.]