When we take the train to Amsterdam Airport, it’s cold and grey outside, typically Dutch December weather. How different it will be in Barcelona. Well… not when we arrive: it is just as gray and wet as in the Netherlands… The blue Aerobus that is supposed to take us to the city takes a long time to show up. When it does, after four or five people have gotten in, the driver decides it’s enough and with the bus is only a quarter full, he closes the door, leaving the rest of the people in amazement. Luckily we got in just in time.
From Plaça Catalunya we walk in less than ten minutes to our hotel on Via Laeitana. It is a neat hotel, clean and centrally located, but the room is a bit small. We wonder what the hotel owes its fourth star to (free internet? jacuzzi on the roof?). From the hotel we walk into the Barri Gótic. We walk down the narrow streets that are full of shops, cafes and restaurants. It is pleasantly busy. It is drizzling and it is already dark, so that gives everything a completely different atmosphere than on a sunny summer day. More or less by coincidence we pass café Schilling at some point. Here we have a drink and then we walk down the Ramblas to the port. In Barcelonetta we have dinner. Tapas of course, delicious and the red Rioja also tastes good. This is Barcelona par excellence.
When we get up the next morning, the sun is in a clear blue sky. It is early December and we are walking outside without a coat. Really perfect. The Christmas market at the cathedral offers a strange contrast to the weather. The Barcelonans (or what do you call them?), on the other hand, fit better with the Christmas atmosphere: despite the 15 degrees, they walk in winter coats and scarves. Just like yesterday we walk down the streets of the Barri Gótic. We pass various squares, stroll along the Ramblas, do a tour of Plaça Catalunya and visit the Mercata de Boqueria. At Plaça Reial, perhaps the most beautiful square in Barcelona, we sit down for a cup of coffee. After this we walk over to Barcelonetta again for lunch. Our next destination is the beach, where we sit in the sun for a while along the boulevard. We feel really lucky that the weather is so beautiful this weekend.
Early evening we walk into the Barri Gótic again and have dinner at Taller de Tapas, an attractive restaurant and definitely recommended as far as the tapas are concerned. The next morning starts a bit cloudier than yesterday, but during the day the sky turns completely blue again. After breakfast (in the very hot breakfast room in the basement of the hotel) we walk down Passeig de Gracia towards the district of Gracia. Along the way we pass various architectural creations by Gaudí. What a strange (in my opinion ugly) buildings that man has created. The Gracia area feels abandoned. As good Catholics, the residents are of course in church this Sunday morning. All bars are closed, the terraces have been cleaned up and the shutters closed.
We continue to Parc Guell, which is situated at a much higher elevation than the rest of the city, but luckily they have built escalators. The park is very busy. Even though it is December, there are still plenty of tourists visiting the city. We stroll through the park, enjoy the view and of course take photos. It is around three thirty when we are back at Plaça del Sol in Gracia, where by now a few shutters have been opened. We have a late lunch and after walking all the way back we take some time to relax at our hotel. For dinner we end up at Plaça Reial, where we order a bottle of red Roija and some tapas. Lovely to sit on a terrace in the evening with good food and drinks and nice conversations. It is around 11 p.m. when we leave the terrace and go back to the hotel, slightly tipsy.
Our last day in Barcelona, with the sun again in a clear blue sky, we walk down the Ramblas. Near the statue of Columbus we sit down for coffee and then we walk towards Montjuïc. To get to the top of the mountain is quite a walk, but at the top of the Castel Montjuïc, you have a fantastic view over the entire city and the harbor. We walk down Montjuïc on the other side, past the Olympic stadium, towards Plaça d’Espana. After walking back to the square near the cathedral, we dive into a tapas bar for a glass of rioja and some tapas. So we finish in style. Just after 6 p.m. we pick up our luggage at the hotel and walk back to Plaça Catalunya to take the Aerobus back to the airport. When we arrive home, we are dead tired, but happy after a wonderful long weekend away.