13.12.2010 - 13.12.2010
Day 89 Monday 13 December - “Barcelona on the Metro”
A simple breakfast at the hotel and we set off at about 9 am. We entered the local Metro station and bought some 48 hour all mode tickets. Managed to navigate the automatic ticket machine and charged the cost to our credit card, all worked.
Travelled on the Metro (Line 1 and Line 2) to the Sagrada Famillia. What a spectacular building that is. It is still a construction site but the interior is open for visitors. We spent at least two hours walking around with our heads on a swivel as we tried to glimpse all the features. Inside and out this must be the most spectacular of all the churches we've visited.
The park near the church were closed for repair but there were hundreds of stalls selling Christmas trees, decorations and a wide range of other trinkets. The decorations ranged widely from a simple posy of green leaves to elaborate electrically driven ski slopes with cable cars and skiers taking to the slopes. There were a number of school groups and with the piped Christmas songs the place had a very festive atmosphere.
Back on the Metro to visit another landmark, it is simply listed as “Monumental” it is the 'Bull Fighting Ring' which is now reduced to a museum and the venue for significant entertainment events and rock concerts. We had no intention of going in but I just wanted to capture some images, it is quite spectacular.
No doubt a constant theme, I needed a comfort stop, no McDonald’s around here. Try the Metro station, nothing there. Decide to head for a bigger station, still no luck but found a small bar. Killed two birds there, had the comfort break and had lunch. We caught them by surprise I think, they didn't have an English menu but they had about 80 pictures of dishes. We selected some tame looking plates and had 'Sausages and chips' for Jenny and 'Pork chops and chips' for me. With two cans of Coke the total came to 17 € (including a tip).
Back to the Metro and aimed for the “Arc de Triomf”, bulls-eye. Very impressive structure at the North end of the Passeig de Lluís Companys, a wide pedestrian boulevard. The other end of the boulevard is the entrance to the park where the Barcelona Zoo shares space with a number of museums. The state of our legs precluded us from exploring the area further.
As our tickets were 'unlimited' we stayed on the Metro to the end of the line. Climbed to the surface and caught the next one back towards the centre. There are no less than 8 lines which criss-cross Barcelona. There are numerous 'connection points' where different lines cross over. We found the system to be quite easy to navigate, the different lines are colour coded, the trick is to be on the correct platform to catch the train going in the direction you want.
The trains arrive with a regular frequency of about three minutes. If you missed one, the next was less than three minutes away. Despite their frequency they were very well patronised, there was standing room only on quite a number of them. The trains are dedicated to a specific line and the stations are displayed above the doors with a red LED flashing below the Station's name. There are also indicators to show where there were connections to other lines. All very clean and easy. For good measure, most platforms have elevators to the street surface, try that in Sydney!!
We fly out tomorrow and we'll be airborne most of the day. Next posting from Singapore.