Breakfast. I think the breakfast buffet here at Hotel Catalonia Sagrada Familia has to be the best I’ve ever had. There are the usual hot and cold things but there’s a chef who will tailor make an omelet for you while you watch, many different kinds of juices cold in glass bottles with shoppers in them, and many different kinds of fruit in various bowls and on platters as well as a bowl of mixed fruit. They have a potatoe tortilla that looks like a pie or a quiche and is served cold; it is amazing. This morning I had peach melon juice and I might have the same again tomorrow.
I almost missed breakfast today. I woke up at 9:50 a.m. and breakfast is served weekdays until 10:30 (11:00 on Sat. & Sun.) so I had to scramble. But, after only a few hours sleep Saturday night, aching limbs keeping me up Monday night, and a dog whimpering on Tuesday night, it sure felt good to sleep in. I was, however, ready with a plan. I walked the few blocks to Placa Glories where I caught the green route hop on, hop off. I got some very good pictures of the outside of Sagrada Familia church (Gaudi’s masterpiece still be worked on hopefully to be competed by 2026, the 100th anniversary of his death.
Then I got off the bus at Hospital of Saint Pau. It looked quite different than the pictures I’ve seen suggest. I thought it would be in a large setting surrounded by a long, grassy approach but it simply fills (pretty much) a city block. This hospital, no longer in operation, was built to give free medical help to everyone and several of the buildings were dedicated to certain medical problems or conditions. This model to the left will give you a good idea of how it’s situated and the slide show below will give you an idea of the beauty created by architects, Doménech & Montaner, from the polished tile floors, the intricate ceilings, the sculptures in niches, and the incredible paintings on walls. Oh, and the gardens designed to help restore patients to health.
Given the late start to the day and the stairs involved, I had to be satisfied with outside pictures of Casa Batllo. Then I hopped on again back to Placa Catalonia and began to walk La Rambla, the famous outdoor shopping concourse. I found it a bit disappointing at first — a lot of junky touristy things for sale and either super crowded restaurants or fast food joints. I sat at an outdoor restaurant and had a milkshake and a slice of apple pie. Some entertainers came along, some acrobats and a distinguished, costumed elderly gent who played castanets and some other instruments and then took up a collection.
After that, I started through the side alleyways that go back I don’t know how far in Barcelona’s history but they certainly evoke the atmosphere of a time when walking and horses were the main modes of transportation. There were some nice restaurants and shops and the alleys stretched all the way to the waterfront. I landed just a couple of blocks from the green stop I wanted and it was a short wait until I could “hop on” again. I enjoyed the breeze on top, got some better pictures of the crowded beaches (that’s the way to cope in Spain with the high temperatures), and easily got off again at Placa Glories and walked the rest of the way to the hotel. That pool may be small but it was very refreshing.
Concierge at the front desk was very helpful. Online, I found the train information I needed to get to Roses tomorrow and went down to see if he could tell me where I catch it. It turns out I get the train to Figueres right at the station two blocks from here. I went over and found the train part of the station and spoke to a ticket agent so I know what I’m doing and where I’m going. After that it’s a 45 min bus ride to Roses. All is well! Tomorrrow will be Hola! from Roses on the northern Costa Brava!