After our wonderful viewing of the Gaudi houses we set off up the hill towards the Olympic Stadium. On our way we passed a bullring which has been converted to shopping mall – smart move!
The stairs at the top of the hill offer great views down to the city. The impressive building at the top of the stairs was constructed in 1929 for the World Fair, and now houses the National Art Museum of Catalunya (Museu Nacional).
The Olympic Stadium, used for the 1992 Olympics, was much smaller than we expected and very simple – not making for spectacular photos. The harbour side of the hill however, provided wonderful views of the cruise ship terminals, and the working cable car which brings people up the hill.
Barceloneta Beach was our next stop, the artificial beach created for the 1992 Olympics. It was overcast and dull when we arrived and it didn’t look that inviting. We saw the iconic Hotel W with its sail-shaped structure which is quite a stunning architectural piece. It was quiet on the beach but on the promenade where we stood, a kindergarten outing was going on – two bikes ridden by caregivers, each with a large cart on the front containing 6 little kids, all with helmets on – looked like great fun!
El Born (the Born District) was our last stop with Niya – it was a real treat wandering the streets with her commentating on what we were seeing and offering advice on great places to eat and drink. A highlight was seeing the amazing interior of the Church of Santa Maria Del Mar, built in the 14th century.
It was in this district, that Niya left us to our own devices, but with directions for the best route back to our hotel. As we continued exploring we came across a pintxos/tapas bar called Bilbao Berria with the most delectable looking food, and we couldn’t resist making it our lunch stop. It was our first experience with pintxos (pinchos), small bites spiked with a skewer (the empty skewer being placed in a receptacle, and then counted to tally the bill). They were delicious!!!
A walk was on the cards after lunch, so we decided to take the route Niya suggested back to the hotel – quite a few steps were done!
A rest was in order after that, and then we ate locally at an Italian restaurant. We sat outside and drank in the ambience – it seems people in Barcelona like to come out and walk their dogs in the early evening and to meet for a drink. Strangely, several people walked past us with just one crutch – we wondered if there was an A & E nearby…
We went to bed feeling enlightened and inspired by this great city and are looking forward to more see more inspirational Gaudi creations tomorrow.