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Report 901: Barcelona: Better the 2nd Time Around & Corpus Christi in Andulusia

By Julianna from New Jersey, Spring 2005

Trip Description: May 2005 A surprise festival

Destinations: Countries - Spain; Regions/Cities - Andalusia, Barcelona

Categories: Family/Friends; Hotels/B&Bs; Art Trip; Beach; Foodie Trip; Sightseeing; Independent Travel; 2 People

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photo by Christopher Visco

St. Jordi Slays the Dragon in Cathedral

5/19/2005 4:00 pm

My husband and I run out of our New Jersey apartment carrying our luggage on our backs just in time to make the first of our three train connections to JFK airport. We make it just in time and the vacation part of our journey begins.

5/20/2005 1:15 pm

After an uneventful flight on Iberian Airlines, and a short layover in Madrid, we arrive in Barcelona along with our luggage. We take the Aerobus to Placa Catalunya and walk four blocks to our hotel Hostal Residencia Neutral in the middle of the Eixample district. Itís been four years since weíve been to Spain and it feels good to be back. Our room, # 34, has a mosaic tile floor, high ceilings, and a balcony. What it lacks, is a private bathroom. Due to our busy lives at home, we waited too long to book a hotel Ė but this works out as it does have a private shower and the location cannot be beat.

Exhausted from the flight we nap for 2 hours, then get up /shower / dress for an evening stroll through the Eixample. We pass by Gaudiís Casa Batllo and Casa Mila which glisten in the Barcelona twilight. We are on our way to meet old friends, Pepe and Idoia, with whom my husband worked with four years earlier on the island of Mallorca during his residency. As planned, we meet up at the Burberry store on Passeig de Gracia and it is a joyful reunion. Our Catalan friends explain the Modernist architecture of Gaudi and the legend of Sant Jordi and the dragon (which is expressed in Casa Batllo and replicated in a statue in the Cathedral - see above photo). After a brief stop in Zaraís , a popular Spanish clothing store, we have dinner at one of their favorite local restaurant, La Rita. We share 1 liter of house white wine, appetizers of patatas bravas, rigatoni with mushrooms, tuna ceviche with mango, cod fish in roasted garlic sauce, cannelloni with calamari and romesco sauce, and for dessert puff pastry with chocolate and caramel. Great dinner, great food, and great conversation.

Pepe and Idoia give us some tips for sightseeing and eating in Barcelona before jetting off on their vespa and disappearing into the dark streets of Barcelona lit up only by the sparkle of the street and shop lights. I feel like I am in some kind of fantastic movie.

Chris and I try to walk off some of the calories of our dinner by strolling down Las Ramblas. We dodge some pickpocket-ers and others who try to sell us warm 6 packs of beer (does anyone know what thatís about?). The air is perfectly temperate with a comfortable breeze and at 12:00 am the tapas bars are still hopping. The buildings are old and beautiful and there is something about this whole experience that is totally relaxing.

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