Friday, 19 January 2018

Barcelona, Spain (Barcelona Hilton – Avinguda Diagona)

After breakfast I got ready for my Segway tour that will begin at 12:30. The receptionist in the executive lounge confirmed my route on the Metro that will get me to the Segway tour office in time for my 12:30 tour.

I walked down Avinguda Diagona to the L3 Metro station, where the train arrived as I walked onto the platform, then transferred to the L1 line. Within 30 minutes I was walking towards the Segway tour office. Because I was early I had time to walk around an look at a few of the nearby buildings. Also to take another picture of the statue from yesterday.

At around 12:20 I walked into the tour office and waited for the tour to begin. Found out that I was the only one on the tour. After being given the safety briefing and a helmet I met my tour guide, Anke. We rolled our Segways out to the street where I showed her my acquired skills to operate the Segway and off we went.

Anke first explained the area that we were in, which are the remains of the 1888 Barcelona Exposition. We then explored some of the buildings that were part of the old city that were once within the city’s walls. Then rode by the zoo then saw a fountain that was once part of the 1888 Exhibition – an amazing work of art.

Anke and I really started to hit it off and kept a dialog going of art, tourism, language, families, etc. as we rode to the former location of the 1992 Summer Olympics village. I only took a few pictures as we rode around. She told an interesting story about USA’s Basketball’s “Dream Team” who refused to stay in the dorm rooms because the beds were too small and were given rooms in a nearby hotel. They were the only basketball team to get the room upgrades.

The centerpiece of this area was the volunteer park where there was a fountain and a large statue representing David and Goliath, by Atoni Llena, a Catalan artist. It represented the transformation of the city’s Somorrostro neighborhood, which was a shanty town that occupied the area which is now the former Olymic Village (Vila Olimpica).

David and Goliath

We proceeded on to the waterfront where we had a great view of the Mediterranean. There we stopped for a break and talked some more. I learned that she was from Germany and had traveled around the Mediterranean with her partner before they had their daughter. She thankfully reminded me that she still had more to show me and we hopped on our Segways and traveled down to the Christopher Columbus status that I saw on Wednesday. She explained about the buildings along the way. A great variety of creative architecture in the city. I had questions about a number of the buildings.

We couldn’t go into the Gothic Quarter because of the narrow streets, but we went by a few of the old buildings that have a remarkable history. I decided to visit the Gothic Quarter after the tour. One nearby, very large, building survived the bombardment from Franco in the 30’s. I had asked if there were any statues in Barcelona of Franco, and she said it would be like putting up a statue of Hitler in Germany.

I couldn’t believe that our two hour tour was almost over. I really had a great time on the tour and now have more questions that I’ll have to answer on my own. But it was a great start to begin by interest in the history of this city. Once we got back to the Segway office, she showed me a map of Barcelona and pointed out where the old city stood and how Barcelona expanded. She hinted that I might want to visit the Picasso Museum in the Gothic Quarter.

After we said our goodbyes I walked toward the Gothic Quarter and was better able to take pictures of the narrow streets. Also saw that someone had placed a mannequin on their balcony with a sign.

The Sign reads: “When I Grew Up I Want To Be Myself”

I didn’t go into the Picasso Museum but took a picture of the outside.

This part of the city reminded me of both Dubrovnik and Venice, which had these ancient narrow streets that are now filled with small shops that catered mainly to tourists. As I walked through the quarter I came upon the statue of Columbus. It seems that I keep circling back to this statue. It is an effective landmark because it can be seen from a distance.

As I walked toward the L3 stop, I took a few pictures along the way.

I was getting bit hungry and also needed to find a toilet. By the way, I learned that in most countries “toilet” is okay to say rather than bathroom or men’s room. There doesn’t seem to be any public toilets in Barcelona, as I found out. I found a McDonald’s and ordered a salad, because I need to get more greens into my diet. And to use the toilet.

By this time, I was done for the day and caught the L3 back to the hotel. I bought a chicken sandwich and a container of sliced fruit for dinner at Starbucks along the way. When I got to my room, I was ready for a nap.

My WiFi connection was still acting up, but I’m used to it now and not spending more time working with the hotel’s tech support to resolve the problem. Again, it took almost two hours to do my blog update from the day before and then watched some videos on YouTube before going to bed. I felt a tickle in my throat and my nose was starting to run. Thinking positive, I took a decongestant and went to bed and hoped for the best.

Tomorrow, I’m planning to take the aerial tram to Montjuic hill, which should give me a great view of Barcelona. Anka warned me that getting to the tower where the tram launches is quite a walk from the L3 stop. I’ll be prepared.

 

 

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