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From Prague To Atlantic Coasts V.

Published: 11.12.2010
The Fourth Day - Barcelona - A Town of Dreams

A dream in soft  bed was reposal enough. So, afterthat we took our breakfast, we went out fresh, with good humour and great desire to recognize all new experience. In fresh air, the temperature rose (to a point of asphalt thaw), and we marched towards city centre. Anyway, at first, we had to buy a ticket, but this fact proved not to be too simple as we thought. On a stop of city train, we stepped to ticket-automat, studying to solve strange signs and abbreviations, in order to find which button would be right for one-day ticket. Change to English version did not helped a lot, as this meant change for button „continue“ only. So, Jakub asked a woman in the office nearby. She did not understang his English, of course, and tried to explain him something, gesticulating with hands and speaking Spanish at the same time. Nevertheless, we managed, by means of logical opinion and price comparison, that one-day ticket costs EUR 6, went through turnstle and caught a train to the heart of Barcelona. After 30-minutes´ drive, we went out on extensive subterranean change station - Passeig de Gracia. Upstairs, there is passing a boulevard of the same name. This street belongs to most important shopping quarters of the town, where most known architectonical jewels could be found. Nevertheless, before we could admire such grandiose character of this street, we were forced to pass through a network of tunnels, where the air was nearly unrespiratable.

Outside, the space was full of life, the roads were full of endless streams of motor vehicles,  and the pavements were overcrowded with masses of people. We found our way and walked ahead to the first point of our interest, i.e. to busy La Rambla boulevard.

La Rambla

This street - boulevard - more than one kilometer long, bordered with trees, could be compared, as fas as its importance is concerend, to Wenceslas Square in Prague. You can buy there anything you like, starting from traditional souvenirs, via pictures, statues, musical instruments up to small parrots in little cages. Moreover, to interesting shade of things, you can see in La Rambla, there are live statues, presenting, for instance, a Time, Hurry or Proud Woman, etc. However, many of them did not allow us to take a photo, and provided they did not receive money, they veiled their face. All monumental buildings along both part of La Rambla were luxurious hotels and restaurants, nevertheless, we managed to find Carrefour, too. We wished to have a refreshment there, so, we  bought some bubble drink with lemon, however, we spitted up it after the first taste. The drink had, with its contents of suger, the taste of syrup, so we took several „heavy draughts“ and continued our walking.

Nevertheless, a market appeared on the right side. We entered inside as hypnotized, enraptured with such number of colours and smells (odours). Narrows streets were full of tourists as well as local people, they stopped for a while in front of some stand, full of fish, cheese, sweets, meats, fruit, pastries, nuts, live crabs, and many other things. It is really a beauty for your eyes. We bought again soft drinks, and again, our thirst was doubled with unbelieable quantity of sugar. So, for next time, we shall drink a water only!

The final section of La Rambla presents great round-a-bound (circuit), where a monument of Christopher Columbus (or Cristobal Colon, following Spanish transcription of his name).is placed. The seafarer is staring at distance of Mediterranean Sea, protected with great lions, made from bronze.

Estadio Olimpico (Olympia Stadium) was our next target. The stadium was constructed for Summer Olympic Games in 1992. Anyway, in order to reach it, we had to mount long hill up to the top of Montjuic (Muntanya de Montjuic). We started to walk up enthusiasm but it was dropped when we saw a man who run upstairs. Nevertheless, as a reward for tiring mount, it is, for sure, marvellous circular view of the town, better as from Sagrada Familia Tower. From the view, we continued our walking towards Castell Montanaya de Montjuic, old citadel, which origins come to 1640, revolta time period against King Philippe IV. The entrance there is free of charge, and you can pass vast spaces of this fortress, and admire great guns or have a look at small historical exposition.

Public Transport is Rather Complicated

We walked ahead towards Olympic Stadium through unpeopled park on the opposite part of Montjuic, passing immense Barcelona Cemetery, where stone „shelves“ for the urns were placed. We thought for a while that this would be interesting to investigate this area in more detailed way, but, however, our dry mouths and hungry stomachs forced us to continue ahead and trying to find at least a kiosk, offering  small refreshment. So, the entrance to stadium is free of charge, but do not calculate with a fact that you go throughout the area. For puiblic, it is open a small part of it, where you can visit a shop with souvenirs or to drink a cup of coffee. So, we stayed there for a while only, and turned our steps to Joan Miro Museum. The entrance there costs EUR 10 or EUR 8 if you manage to applicate reduction ticket. The collection is very extensive, and all lovers and admirers of this artist find this exhibition as very interesting. However, as a difference from Dali Museum, you are not permitted to make photos (this fact is valid for most of Spanish Museums and Galleries).

Nevertheless, it was late afternoon, so, we decided that this would be right moment to leave a labyrinth of Barcelona streets and return to Formule 1 Motel. However, we did not know that the way back to Motel will be dramatical. Just in the bus which would take us to metro station, the ticket-control machine showed us that our tickets are invalide (no validas). Maybe, the machines are out of order, we shrugged our shoulders. Later, we tried to pass the respective turnstles. But just two metro-employees were leaving, and we tried to explain them that we bought one-day tickets and the barriere did not allow to release us. They replied in Spanish, we did not understand, but finally, they had mercy on us, and let us go. But this act was not the last one, we had to change to another metro line, and, as a result, we had to ovecome the turnstles again.

And again, without success. We could not understand the fact, that one-day ticket was not valid for underground lines. Finally, we managed it, with support of one passenger, speaking English, and we came to overcrowded frowsted subterranean train platform, and, we rushed, within five minutes in direction to Mollet de Valles. So, we made necessary shoppings there, and had a rest in pleasant Vienna coffee, starting to record our impressions in paper form. Finally, in the train we found that our one-day ticket, we bought, was valid in city centre only, and as we moved in suburbs, (or in another tariff sections, and our accommodation was out of city centre), so, our ticket was not valid there.

Next chapter: A Walk Throughout Barcelona For the Second Time...


Text: Maxim Kucer & Jakub Štantejský

Translation: ing. Jan Jonáš

Foto: Maxim Kucer & Jakub Štantejský


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