Day 22 - 18/07/2002 - Barcelona Spain [Day 13 of Contiki Tour]

Slept in this morning because we have a free day in Spain, which is basically allocated as a rest day (to recharge), but that is really hard to do when you are in a foreign country with so much to do.

Went into the city and found the Germany soccer jersey that I could not find in Germany.  I got it for less than two thirds of the Australian price ... shopping in Spain is very cheap (in most cases) ... the girls went crazy, buying all kinds of clothes and shoes that they have no room for - I even heard a story of one of the girls leaving old clothes behind in the hotel because she did not want to have to carry them anymore.

Jumped on the tourist bus that is of a high world class standard ... it was brilliant.  The bus runs about every five minutes and takes you on a circuit of all the major attractions of the city.  The two bus loops take 2 hours each (if you do not get off) - we didn't have that much time to play with, but when (not if) I return to this place, I will be making better use of this service (and the free vouchers that come with the bus pass).  Barcelona is a city packed with so much to do - there are so many sites to see, museums of famous artists, cheap food and then there is always the shopping and beaches.  I expected Spain to be more like a third world country (I don't know why), but it is very developed.

On the bus, I got to see some of the great and unique architecture in Spain (mostly thanks to Gaudi) - to me, it is just so unique, and it is always good to see something new.

Stopped at the 1992 Olympic Site.  The stadium looked surprisingly small for an Olympic Stadium, but it was originally build almost 100 years ago and reconstructed for the Olympics (maybe they added seats and removed them after the Olympics like Sydney did).  I got a waffle here, and realised I had not had any breakfast or lunch and it was almost 2pm (we had been on the move all day) - I think it is the first day of my holidays that I have skipped a meal - I have normally been eating extra meals rather than missing them.

Went to the National Museum and looked at the fantastic view of the city.

I made an effort to get to Park Guell (despite the lack of time) and it definitely was worth it.  This park was built by Gaudi and, like many people say, his artificial creations that imitate nature actually look more like nature that nature does it itself (if that makes sense). It was a beautiful place that I could have spent a lot more time at.  Some of Gaudi's bizarre buildings were here too.

MOVIE: Gaudi's Park [MPG 380KB], Gaudi's Park 2 [MPG 480KB], Gaudi's Park - Inside [MPG 400KB]

Had dinner at a traditional Spanish restaurant which included Spanish Omelette, seafood paella, ice-cream with Grand Marnier (or some other alcohol) and "as much as you can drink" Sangria.  They then brought out a funny bottle filled with Sangria, where you have to try and drink the sangria without spilling it all over yourself (it will make more sense if you see the photo) - managed to have a drink without spilling anything ... then they brought out some flaming alcohol, and I managed to spill that all over myself (twice) - the drink had some weird looking seed and fruit in it and I was trying not to consume the weird bits and only drink the liquid, but I managed to spill it ... I eventually decided to consume the bits as well and the drink went down fine, except for the fact that it was very hot.

MOVIE: Drinking Sangria [MPG 510KB]

Finished the night at a Flamenco dancing show.  I was feeling very tired and was falling asleep, so I did not get much out of it, until they asked for volunteers to try and dance ... I was definitely too tired, but some of the people on our tour had a go and it was fun to watch.

MOVIE: Dancing [MPG 220KB]

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