Week 1 – Tourists In Spain

Friday 29/03/19 to Thursday 04/04/19

Barcelona – Andorra – Madrid – Valencia – Barcelona

Friday 29/03/19 – Barcelona

After a long flight from Melbourne via Doha we landed in Barcelona at 1430 local, caught the shuttle into Placa de Catalunya, city center. We battled our way through the tourist throng to our Hostal Lausanne where we were confronted with the world’s smallest hotel room, BUT it had an en-suite, and it was right in the center of town, which are our two main criteria for accommodation. And it was cheap-ish which is another criteria seeing as we’ll doing something like 55 stops on this adventure.

Below is a pic taken from 40,000 feet over the French, Italian, Swiss Alps. We’ll be riding through there at the end of June.

sam_0094-0.jpg

After squeezing ourselves into our room we did what tourists do, we wandered aimlessly around town. Mainly the old area of town. Took a few pics.

Saturday 30/03/19 – Barcelona & Andorra

Today was to be a busy day. We started out with what appears to be the standard Spanish breakfast of coffee with a small baguette and prosciutto or a variation on that theme.

We then met Matthias, our personal guide around the old Gothic quarter of Barcelona – https://www.excursionsbarcelona.com  @Excursions Barcelona

Matthias was a wealth of information and we thoroughly enjoyed our 2 1/2 hour wander.

Then it was off to the capital of Andorra which is the sixth smallest nation in Europe with a population of around 80,000 people. It’s only a little over 1000m above sea level but it was pretty cold and there was snow on the surrounding hills. It too was full of tourists.

Sunday 31/03/19 – Andorra la Vella

Again we did what tourists do, wandered around and took pictures. It’s a very pretty place and also duty free, hence it’s attraction to tourists. So what’s the attraction of the cured legs of pig in the pic? Couple of things: they’re everywhere, literally. They must kill billions of pigs in these parts. And secondly, they’re like only A$100 each. Next to them were a couple set up that you could slice what you wanted off – with a really sharp knife. Just sitting there, imagine that at Coles.

In the late afternoon we followed an old bloke up a path which went up and up for ever, all the way to the scree line, where there was a great path. This path contoured along the mountain slope overlooking the town and below it were lots of little garden plots hanging on the cliff face and tendered by fore mentioned old blokes. It gave us a great view over the city.

Monday 01/04/19 – To Madrid

Bus (small) to Llieda, then fast train to Madrid via Zaragoza. Madrid is crazy busy to people like us from Melbourne, which by comparison is pretty slow. It’s also full of beggars which is quite unpleasant. Our walking tour guide informed me that, except for the obviously homeless people, they were all transported into the city daily by the local mafia who dragged them over from mainly Romania – they certainly didn’t look Spanish. That’s an EU thing.

Tuesday 02/04/19 – In Madrid

We did the tourist thing again. Our tour guide was very good and informed me that Norma and I were ‘travelers’ and not tourists, which was very reassuring. 🙂

Now I appreciate that I’m not captioning these pics. For a couple of reasons. One is I can’t remember exactly what they’re of, well I could if I wanted to, but I don’t want to, because two, it would take way to long and all this takes lots of time as it is.

More pics of our walk through Madrid’s old town.

Having said that, I must burble a little about these next pics of Restavrante Botin which is reportedly the oldest restaurant in the world having opened in 1725 which is indeed old. However that’s not its only claim to fame; apparently it’s also famous for its baby suckling pig and lamb, and they are tiny. And it’s also mostly underground.

We saw the modernist Cathedral and the Royal Palace. We’re standing under a strawberry tree.

as well as a few other things.

And that was Madrid done.

Wednesday 04/04/19 – To Barcelona via Valencia

Another long day of public transport.  A fast train to Valencia. I guess not so fast by some standards but 298k/h is still pretty quick.

The countryside is quite diverse with arable land at a premium and then in small lots, perhaps from 2 to 5 acres a piece which has just been sown for summer crops.

We wandered around Valencia for 3 hours

then went to the train station only to find our train to Barcelona had been delayed by an hour.

We arrived in Barcelona at 930pm in the rain – apparently for the first time in 6 weeks.

Thursday 05/04/19 – Barcelona

We did a lot of walking today, everywhere and anywhere. You never really tier of discovering new lane-ways in Barcelona’s Gothic and Raval areas and then wandering the waterfront region with its beach of Saharan sand.

And so we wait for tomorrow when we find out if we can pick our bike up – or not. It was originally supposed to land last week, then it was delayed in Singapore and supposed to land yesterday which was delayed until today. I haven’t heard if it arrived today, and even if it did it’ll be a tight thing to be able to pick it up tomorrow. The only thing on our side is that our ferry for Italy doesn’t sail until midnight. If we’re not on it it’ll mean the loss of quite a lot of dollars and quite a bit of time. We’ll see won’t we.

Stay tuned.

For the latest detailed map:
Google Drive https://tinyurl.com/LarryTrip19 or
DropBox
https://tinyurl.com/LarryTrip19DB

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5 thoughts on “Week 1 – Tourists In Spain”

  1. Let’s hope your bike arrives and you can get on that ferry Bro.
    You’ve at least had the chance to experience some Spanish culture during your layover.
    Safe travels guys…

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  2. Thanks for the update Larry, we’re planning to spend a week in Barcelona in early July. Love the photos and commentary.

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  3. Amazing and only 1 week in! Look forward to many most posts and praying your bike arrives on time for your ferry!

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    1. We’ll know in about 4 hours. A real expensive pain if it’s not ready to pick up. Will hangout you.

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