Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Madrid, Spain (Double Tree by Hilton, Madrid – Prado)

It was 7:30 a.m., as I woke, when I decided to check on the message I received the night before from the Hilton in Barcelona. The message from last night said I was checking in to the hotel today. After another look at my calendar I realized that yes, I am going to Barcelona today. It seems that I got in my mind that the 17th was Thursday. My train ticket to Barcelona also said that I was traveling on the 17th and my stay here in Madrid, according to the hotel here, confirms that as well. Guess I’m going to Barcelona today! I didn’t have any firm plans in Madrid for today, so no harm there.

After breakfast I got ready to leave and was checked out by 9:45. My train was scheduled to leave at 10:30 and the station is a 15 minute taxi ride from the hotel. I’m in good shape. When I arrived at the station, I took a picture of the main floor lobby of the station and the high-speed trains that serves the station. At 10:30, on the dot, the train left the station.

As we were traveling along at 300 kph (!!!), I managed to take a couple of pictures. Not easy when you’re going that speed. For most of the way to Barcelona it looked very dry, saw a few farms and small towns too. The journey takes about 2:45.

The Barcelona station was very busy. I bought a sandwich at the station to eat later and then found a taxi to take me to the hotel. I wasn’t interested in taking public transportation. The taxi fare was less than 10 Euros.

Nice view from my window and the sound from the nearby street was hardly noticeable. A perfect time for a nap. I’ll unpack later.

After a nap I unpacked and got settled in. Then decided to try out the Metro underground train. I had heard it was an easy way to get around the city. After watching a couple of YouTube videos, I was ready to buy a T-10 ticket, which reduces the fare considerably for each ride. When I got to the station, I bought the T-10 ticket with the intention to go down to the harbor, but didn’t know which stop it was. Then saw a boat symbol over one of the stops (Drassanes) and decided that I’d try that stop. Why not? (Note: The boat doesn’t show up well in the picture of the Metro L3 Line, pictured below, but its there.)

Walking to the Metro Stop (at Sunset)

Metro L3 Line

When I left the Drassanes station it was getting dark. I walked around a bit and took a picture of a statue dedicated to Christopher Columbus. It was in Barcelona where he reported to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand after his first trip. From there I saw an interesting bridge that took pedestrians to what looked like a shopping mall that also appeared to have restaurants, from what I could make out from the signs in the distance.

Took pictures along the way. The evening was very mild and was an easy walk over to the mall. I was getting a little hungry since it was nearly 7:30 and I only had the sandwich for lunch.

Little Statue in Harbor

Harbor Walkway

Port of Barcelona Building

From what I could see, I was the only person in the restaurant. Perhaps most people wait until later to eat? I ordered two tapas – mussels with a garlic sauce and scallops with a parmesan sauce on the half shell. The mussels were very tasty and enjoyed them, but wasn’t keen with the scallops since all I could taste was the parmesan sauce. But I was full and happy when I left.

After dinner, I walked back to the station and took more pictures. It was a beautiful evening. Was quite happy that I figured out the metro system so quickly – though to be honest, the directions and signs (with a little help from YouTube) helped out a lot.

Barcelona Harbor

Walkway Again

My blog post from yesterday took almost two hours to put together. I took quite a few pictures yesterday and it takes time to get them organized and sized before publishing. By the time I finished it was getting late. I decided to watch the interview that David Letterman had with President Obama, which was carried by Netflix.

It was getting late and time for bed. Think I’ll sleep well tonight. Except for a few restless nights in Madrid, I’ve been sleeping fairly well. Not sure if my irregular sleeping pattern is due to my retirement or that I’m sleeping in new places due to my travels. Or both!

Tomorrow I’m planning to walk to the Sagrada Familia for a tour and then to a Segway Tour company to arrange for a tour the day after.

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