"" Writer's Wanderings: Barcelona - The Red Line

Monday, October 01, 2012

Barcelona - The Red Line

The red line circuit of the Barcelona Bus Turistic, the hop-on-hop-off open topped bus we used to tour the city was the longest loop of the three lines offered. Because there was some sort of race event that Sunday morning, we had to board a couple of blocks up the road from the Placa de Cataluyna where the loop started. We chose to stay on the bus and do the whole loop before jumping off at any stops. We noticed previously that as the day progresses, it becomes more difficult to get a seat on the top deck and it is nearly impossible to see much from the inside of the bus and we wanted to be able to enjoy the sites along the whole loop.

Our morning was a bit cloudy and not nearly as nice as the two previous days had been. We again passed by the building whose exterior resembled the skin of a bluish dragon, a Gaudi design and the apartment building called the Casa Mila built by Gaudi also between 1906-1911. The balconies are curved representing the motion of the waves. Gaudi was really into all aspects of nature.

Passing by several other landmarks and parks we eventually arrived at the Placa d’Espanya the square that marks the gateway to Montjuic the setting for the 1929 International Exhibition and the 1998 Olympic Games. Looking up the hill from the square you see the large Museum of National Art. There are several levels of gardens and fountains that come alive in the evening, the center fountain being dubbed the Magic Fountain where the water enhanced by colored lights dances to music provided through loud speakers. It is similar to the fountains in front of the Bellagio in Las Vegas or the even larger fountains in Dubai. The fountains did not run during the day.

Our bus passed by the large stadium used in the summer Olympics of 1998. The base of the Olympic flame still stands there. On the other side of the street, built into the hillside are the pools used for the diving competition. As we looked over them I could only imagine that a diver would get the sensation of being even higher that the dive platform actually was as he looked out over the vista of the city below.

The seaside soon spread out below us to the right as we passed beneath the tower of the Teleferic de Montjuic, the cable car that gives breathtaking views of the port as you ride from the hillside to the World Trade Center below in the port area. Had it been running that early in the morning, we would have exited the bus and taken it down since we had been over this territory of the red line once already the previous day.

Passing the port area again and heading back to the center of the city we again passed by the Gothic area of the old city and headed back around past the National Art Museum and exited the bus at the Miro museum. Joan Miro was originally from this area. The museum was interesting and gave us a glimpse of the man, his life and work and we enjoyed a tasty tomato and cheese sandwich in its café.

La Rambla was alive with tourists and locals when we strolled back to our hotel late in the afternoon to relax a bit and change for dinner. Our plan was to return to the Magic Fountain and take in the show. We rode the red line once again to the Placa d’Espanya and walked around the square to find a place to eat. A place called Tapas Tapas looked inviting and we settled into a seat by the window and ordered a small salad and a larger portion of paella to share which was obviously a popular dish of the area since we saw it advertised everywhere. It was all quite good.

The area lining the walkway up to the fountains and the museum began to fill with people as the nine o’clock hour neared. We found a seat on a park bench and when the fountains began to spout, we worked our way up to the large circular Magic Fountain for the show. It was cleverly done with lights and lasers and music and enjoyed by the admiring crowd.
When the show was over, we opted to walk the kilometer or so back to our hotel. We’d been on a bus all day long. It was a cool fresh evening and the road back was a busy one with a center pedestrian area much like La Rambla. We promised ourselves we would hail a cab if we felt uneasy at any spot but the walk was well lit and traveled by families as well as couples and others out for an evening stroll. It was a lovely ending to our stay in Barcelona. The next morning we would be boarding the Holland America’s Prinsendam for our cruise around the Black Sea.

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