Well it’s been a while since I’ve been abroad on a holiday (not counting the free weekend in Amsterdam while working over there last year) and so I decided at short notice to hit Barcelona.
My flight over was through Easyjet from LIverpoo John Lenon Airport. The airport is small and looks like it’s being updated. The queue for Easyjet itself was massive, ratehr than having desks per flight, 4 were processing all, however their workrate was high and it only took 15 minutes to check in. Of course the real problem with this airport is most the people passing through appear to be on cheap, high booze consumption, package deals, and act like such going through the airport. My how amusing it was to see one guy being searched because his friends (who were at least late 40s/early 50s) had slipped a party popper in to his luggage. Oh how the security guards laughed … not. Still it was but a transit point and I was able to isolate myself in the business lounge (not particularly good, but it was quiet). The flight itself was better than expected. There’s no seat booking so it pays to get on early, and there’s no free food, so you have to either pay a large amount for little or bring your own, but as a whole it was painless.
Arriving in Barcelona I saw two sides of the Spanish economic situation in the one airport. Arrivals was modern and busy, but walking down to the train the last half of the departures checking area was empty, devoid of life. Very clean but looking like some thing out of a disaster movie. The bridge across to the station was even worse, with the lyno bulging and lookng worn out in parts. The train ride in was no too bad, though the locations given on the screen in the train do not match the stations themselves. The only frustration was that you can use a 10 use metro ticket (T10) on the airport train, except while it let me on to the platform it would not let me out at Sant station (worked fine on the metro though).
The hotel, Catalonia Corcega is just north of Av Diagonal, so a safe, stylish area a metro trip away from La Rambla, Barceloneta, etc. If I’m correct itshould onyl be about 5 minutes walk away from Gaudi’s famous Sagrada Famila – I’ll find out tomorrow probably. Inside it’s slightly art deco, with the room being spacious and clean. There’s free wireless Interne, but much to my surprise, you have to pay for the in-room safe – €5 per day !! also there’s no tea making facilities (not a big issue).
For lunch (as I checked in around mid day local time) I went for a wander round and found a small little cafe – Claire’s Cafeteria, on the corner of C de Rossello and Av de Girona. It was half full of locals when I arrived and full when I left, so I reckon I chose right. The one down side is I forgot I’m not in tourist land and the staff could hardly speak English, still between their attempts and my usage of a phrase book, we got by. The food was simple but good, though for a menu of the day it looked slightly expensive for the area at just under €10 for 3 courses, compared to ~€8 else where for 2 courses and a drink. I had a regionalchicken salad for a starter which was ok, and a Catalan sausage stew for hte main – which was rather nice, however a mixture of the comparitive time (considering I was up at 3 am) and tha lack of sleep last night meant I was full with half a plate left, so skipped the deseart and went straight on to coffee.
Am now back at the hotel to have a rest before working out where I’m going to hit this evening – probably for some form of tapas. Ideally I want some where close as I know the lack of sleep will catch up on me and I want an early night so I’m fresh for tomorrow.