Barcelona's El Prat airport.
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Day 16: Barcelona

Our week in Paris ended at an obscene hour as our alarm began its painful chime at 4 a.m. We successfully navigated two bus transfers and managed to see a nearly-unobstructed view of the Arc de Triomphe (there’s still quite a bit of traffic on Champs-Élysées at 5 a.m.) en route to the airport. We watched the sunrise as we boarded our flight to Barcelona.

The early morning flight meant we had a few hours to pass before checking into our Airbnb. We stashed our bags in a local locker facility, grabbed lunch and headed out on the town, starting on La Rambla.

La Rambla is the main drag for tourists in Barcelona. The tree- and vendor-lined pedestrian street runs for a mile from Plaça de Catalunya to a monument of Christopher Columbus looking out over the Mediterranean Sea.

Our first stop was the La Virreina Image Centre. We lucked out in our timing, arriving on the weekend of the hugely popular Festival of Saint Eulalia. The center was displaying the giant puppets that would walk the streets of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter in just a couple nights. Upstairs, an exhibition of Albert Serra’s SINGULARITY featured eight rooms, each with part of a film playing. It was weird…

Along the way, we stopped into the Mercado de La Boqueria, a sprawling food market with butcher shops, seafood stands and sit-down restaurant stalls. If you can’t find it here, you probably don’t need it.

By early afternoon, our apartment was ready and we met our host in the El Rambla neighborhood near the El Gat sculpture by Fernando Botero. Botero’s fat cat has been a Barcelona mainstay since 1987, but moved around town trying to find a home. The statue, which is the size of a midsize sedan, finally found its permanent place in 2003 and has become a popular meeting place for the locals.

The early flight caught up with us and we bookended our day by watching the sunset from our balcony before calling it an early night… the only one we would have in Barcelona.


Sunrise at Paris's Beauvais Airport.

Sunrise at Paris’s Beauvais Airport.


The gigantes y cabezudos (giants and big heads) of Barcelona would be featured throughout the weekend during the Festival of Saint Eulalia.

The gigantes y cabezudos (giants and big heads) of Barcelona would be featured throughout the weekend during the Festival of Saint Eulalia.


Me and the giants for some perspective.

Me and the giants for some perspective.


The banner for the Festival of Saint Eulalia.

The banner for the Festival of Saint Eulalia.


Barcelona loves its futbol team! Barça, Barça, Baaarça!

Barcelona loves its futbol team! Barça, Barça, Baaarça!


The entryway to Mercado de La Boqueria.

The entryway to Mercado de La Boqueria.


A small fruit and vegetable market set up behind Mercado de La Boqueria.

A small fruit and vegetable market set up behind Mercado de La Boqueria.


El Gat, Barcelona's favorite fat cat.

El Gat, Barcelona’s favorite fat cat.


Sunset on our first night in Barcelona.

Sunset on our first night in Barcelona.


More Photo of the Day posts from our January-March 2016 trip to Europe

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3 thoughts on “Day 16: Barcelona

  1. Deni Cooperrider says:

    We fell in love with all things Botero when we were in Colombia. He’s contributed many of his works to museums and public places in Bogota and Medellin, his birthplace. Interesting about the giant puppets. We’ve seen them in Nicaragua and in Oaxaca where we’re hanging out for a month. Guess the puppets are one more thing the Spanish brought to the New World.

    Liked by 1 person

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