Friday, February 22, 2019

Barcelona and End of Trip--Feb. 15-17, 2019

I arrived at the Barcelona Sant Train Station right on time and quickly found my way to their Metro. Since the weekend was approaching I had made reservations to stay at the Safestay Hostel in the Central Barcelona area.

I used the Metro ticket machine to buy a 2 day Metro Pass and I was on my way from the blue line Sants Estacio stop east to the yellow line connection at the Verdaguer stop.  From there I headed south 4 stops to the Jaume1 stop which was just 40 meters from the Safestay Hostel.

This was an ideal location to explore by foot the majority of tourist sites including the cathedrals, museums, art galleries, restaurants, bars, night clubs, high end shops, plazas, La Rambla street, and central market.

I explored the narrow streets and passageways in the area around the hostel and would have gotten lost if I had not had the app on my iPad.  This navigation aid continued to show me where I was and routed a way for me to get where I wanted to be.  Here are some of the narrow streets I had checked out:

My visit to the nearby La Catedral was fascinating because of the elaborate decorations and stained glass windows found throughout the cathedral as well as the opportunity to go up to the rooftop for views of the city.  I could even see all of the construction cranes surrounding the Antoni Gaudi designed cathedral called La Sagrada Familia.

The La Catedral was mostly built between 1298 and 1460 and the facade was added in 1870.

These 13 geese represent the age of Saint Eulalia when she was martyred and the 13 tortures she endured while she was being martyred during the persecution of Christians by the Romans.

Saint Eulalia's burial place is in this area of La Catedral.

Here is a statute of Saint Eulalia along the street where she was rolled while she was inside a barrel filled with glass and knives which she survived.  She also was said to have survived their attempts to burn her and only died after she was decapitated.  They reported that a dove flew from her severed neck.

This three panel mural was done by Picasso.

This Catalan government building is the frequent location for protests, especially with the frequent demonstrations for independence from Spain.  Today the demonstration was about animal rights.

I enjoyed people watching in the Plaza Real just off Las Rambla as the sun set.  The ever present street sweeper was cleaning up the area and the buskers were angling for Euros as the plaza was ringed with restaurants.

I love to eat my way during my travels and here are some of the Barcelona foods I had this set meal of the day cost 12 Euros.  It is the El Cafe d'en Victor, Carrer del Tapineria 12, in the shadow of el Catedral:

Eggplant--1st course

Fish and veggies--2nd course

Orange mousse--dessert

Potato-egg and bread smeared with tomatoes

 Barcelona airport food--crispy chicken sandwich

I found the remnants of a Roman Temple with just four Roman columns remaining during my Lonely Planet walking tour of the Garri Gotic area.

During this same walking tour, I stopped by the Plaza de Sant Neri where you can see the shrapnel scarred walls of the old church which was damaged by the pro-Franco bombers in 1938.  The bombing killed 42 people, most of them children.

One of the must see sights in Barcelona is the La Sagrada Familia Catedral.  From my hostel area it was an easy 4 stops to the Metro station by the cathedral.  As I got there, these kids were choreographing their dance moves in the shadow of the La Sagrada Familia.

For me, this is really a strange looking building.

On the way back on the Metro, I lost my wallet containing both of my credit cards and ATM card along with some cash.  It was a new wallet I got in Morocco and may have been so slippery so when I sat down, it slid out of my back pocket.  I don't think I was pickpocketed though.  I check with Metro and the Safestay Hostel to see if anyone had turned it in. Next time, I will keep one of my credit cards and ATM card in with my passport wallet that I have inside my pants and hooked to my belt.

I started to cancel my credit cards and ATM card, saw that I had about 28 Euros and  $280 USD cash.  I thought about having the credit card company mail me a replacement card to my next destination--Madrid.

My original plan was to spend about 10 days hiking the Camino of Santiago de Composteia beginning at Ponferrada--about a 200 km (125 mi.), but my right knee was still hurting, especially when I walked down stairs.  Since my meniscus operation on December 4th, and on this trip since January 8th, I have averaged about 8 miles per day with a range of 4 to12 miles.  

I had expected for the pain to go away, but it has not and for the past 5 days, my right knee sometimes buckles under me.  I called the Dr. office and was told to rest, elevate, and ice---hard to do when traveling as I have been doing and have planned to do.

Instead of continuing with this pain and the unlikelihood that I would be able to hike my planned 20 miles per day, on Saturday, February 16th, I decided to return home. Using Skype, I called Alaska Air Rep to change my flight from Madrid on March 19th to leave ASAP from Barcelona to Seattle.  She was able to book a return flight for just 10,000 more frequent flyer miles and a $200 change fee.

The flight on British Air was at 10AM , the following day--Sunday, February 17th--with a change in London followed by a non-stop flight to Seattle which would arrive the same day at 4:30PM.

After that, I went out for my last dinner in Barcelona using the last of my Euros.  This restaurant was near my hostel and was called El Guindilla, Carrer de l'Argenteria 55.  The bread was covered with mashed up tomatoes.  The chips came with small green peppers and the medium rare beef was juicy and tasty--cooked to perfection.

The stopover at London's Heathrow Airport gave me an opportunity to have some fish, chips, and peas along with a pint before my connecting flight to Seattle.

On February 20th, I went to the Dr. and was checked out, given a steroid shot in the knee, and signed up for physical therapy.  Unbelievably I no longer have any pain in my right knee so I am wondering how long this steroid shot will keep the pain at bay.  Would be nice if it were gone for good.

Cost of Spain Trip
The 14 day trip in Spain to Malaga, Granada, Valencia, and Barcelona cost was $1,003 for a daily cost of $71.  Food costs were $474 with a daily cost of $34 per day.  Lodging costs were $273 for a nightly cost of $21.  Travel and tour costs were $300. 

Flight Costs for the Seattle>Dubai>Morocco>Spain>Seattle Trip
The round trip international flight with a 4 day stopover in Dubai to Casablanca, Morocco and a return from Barcelona, Spain using Alaska Air frequent flyer miles cost 80,000 miles.  In addition the fees were $353 which included a flight change fee for my return.