We board a RENFRE train for Barcelona at 11:10 on Sunday morning. After getting settled in our reserved standard service seats we see that the train is much older than the ScotRail trains we took during the first part of our trip. RENFRE does have an advantage in that they show movies, however the audio jacks do not work in either of our seats. The car becomes very warm so William heads to the club car which is much cooler and stays there for the remaining half of our 4 1/2 hour journey.
Upon our arrival the taxi driver gets us to our hotel, which is located in the Port Vell area. It is along the harbor and just a short walk to Bari Gothic and also La Rambla. As we are checking in we are offered a glass of cava and also a small dessert. I love this place already.
Monday's weather forecast is rain and wind and our initial plan is to do indoor activities, however most of the museums are closed. We have an incredible large breakfast at the hotel then walk a half-block to the Hop-On Hop-Off bus stop. They put a tarp over the top in inclement weather, so we decide to give it a try. There are two routes and we pick up the red line. It takes us past many interesting areas and sights, and we agree we want to spend more time in Bari Gothic, Placa D'Espanya and Palau Nacional de Montjuic (with it's art museum).
We stay on the bus and start the loop again, planning to get off a few stops later near the Bari Gothic. As we hop-off it is starting to drizzle, but not too bad. We make our way to the Bari Gothic and eventually to the Barcelona Cathedral. The tourist visiting hours are only 1-5:30 pm. Good thing we didn't visit Bari Gothic in the morning!
Monday evening we meet one of my former colleagues and his girlfriend for dinner. They are a fun and adventurous couple, recently relocating from Buchrest to Barcelona. We share some tapas, a good seafood paella and happy conversation.
Tuesday after breakfast I go online and order admission to Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's famous church. It has been over ten years since we last visited the church and a significant amount of work has been completed in our absence. Still, I think if we return in another 20 years it will not be completed.
Today we spend several hours exploring the five remaining galleries within the Museu. I am fond of Salvador Dali's portrait of his father - it is so distinctly different from much of his other work, and there is also an early work by Miró that catches my eye. Another gem is a stone sculpture of Pablo Picasso by Pablo Gargallo.