March 11, 2024

Today was a repositioning day from Madrid to Barcelona. We packed up, took a taxi to the station, rode the high-speed train (with a 40-minute dead stop in the middle of nowhere because of some sort of breakdown), took a taxi to the new Airbnb, checked in, and unpacked. We are already enjoying the beautiful furnishings and exciting view of the busy street out front.

We got some groceries and had a so-so dinner at a Japanese place. Jen’s yakisoba was good, but our ramen was weird-tasting.

We made a plan for tomorrow to buy the hop-on/hop-off bus for two days. We purchased some groceries so we had some breakfast and snacks.

March 12, 2024

After a nice breakfast of eggs, toast, cereal, tea, and fruit, we purchased a 48-hour pass on the hop-on/hop-off bus, which had an orange line and a green line. We rode the bus to the Gothic District and saw the Picasso Museum. We loved the area near the museum called El Born. There were cute shops and a couple of genuinely good bakeries. Jen bought us pecan cookies and cinnamon rolls.

We rode the rest of the orange line past the port, up the hill past the 1992 Olympic venues, past the new construction of the massive Barcelona FC football stadium, which will seat 100,000, along Diagonal Boulevard, and finally back to our apartment.

Speaking of our apartment, it’s very beautifully decorated, but to me, practically unusable because of the sewage smell coming from the back of the house. That’s where Mom is sleeping and we’ve tried pouring bleach and toilet cleaner in the sinks and toilets, but it hasn’t helped much. I looked back at the reviews but I could only find one or two that mention the smell. The owner knows about it and it’s all we can do to finish our time here.

We went for a later afternoon walk down Las Ramblas and through the Boqueria Market. Unfortunately, we thought we would find some dinner there but the vendors were closing up,

We taxied back to our neighborhood and ate some mediocre bar snacks in a place across the street from our apartment.

March 13, 2024

Today was geared around our main event: a guided tour of the Sagrada Familia cathedral. We rode the orange line to the green line and saw the Barceloneta beaches. We took a break at a very nice restaurant near the Cathedral called La Benedita. The girls had paella and I had potato salad and a chicken croquette.

We met our tour guide and group and had the experience of a lifetime visiting the cathedral. Our guide David was absolutely the best and we learned so much. I rode the elevator to the top of a tower and walked down. It was a stunning experience.

We rode the rest of the green line back to our apartment and made pasta for dinner.

March 14, 2024

Since we were done riding the big bus around we had a relaxing morning in the apartment. Then we went to the Lilia Mall for some shopping. We stopped at Uniqlo, H and M, McDonald’s for iced tea (it took forever and was terrible), and Zara.

After a break and lunch at the apartment, we went to Park Guell, another Gaudi creation. We walked all around it, admiring the great views of Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia, and the Med.

We then went to the Gotic neighborhood in the old city. We had a drink at a very cool bar then did some shopping at the unique stores in the dark, winding pedestrian streets.