After an overnight stay in London, we took the Terravision coach from Liverpool Street out to Stansted Airport. It only takes about an hour as the airport is located just off the M11 motorway. We’d booked an early morning Ryanair flight and this departed promptly, resulting us being in the centre of Barcelona by 11.00 am.
It was too early to check in to our hotel so we started exploring from the Placa de Catalunya at the head of Las Ramblas, the famous pedestrianised road that leads to the sea. Las Ramblas was crowded with tourists, street entertainers, artists and more. On our right we came to ‘La Boqueria Market’, it’s a huge glass structure filled with all kinds of fresh produce, pyramids of colourful fruit and vegetables beautifully displayed and crowds of locals buying their groceries alongside tourists, like me taking photos.
A short walk away is the Placa Reial (Royal Square), this is the historic square located between Las Ramblas and Barrio Gotico (Gothic District). The square is lined with palm trees, restaurants and bars beneath the stone arched walkways around the edges.
Not far away we found ourselves in front of the cathedral, here large stands and barriers had been erected as the square was hosting the start of Stage 49 of the Rally de Espanya. Just as we arrived, the rally cars were taking part in a pre race parade so we joined the crowds and watched awhile. This is just one of the reasons why I love travelling, discovering the unexpected .
It was then time for a cool drink along the Ramblas de Mer (seafront) we enjoyed basking in the warm autumn sun. The sea was emerald green with shoals of fish clearly visible below the surface. We admired the yachts moored in the marina and strolled along the beach watching games of beach volleyball and windsurfers riding the waves.
We checked into our accommodation late afternoon, it was a new build studio block oddly named ‘Melon District‘. Our studio was compact to say the least, but it contained everything we needed, was clean and safe, and we didn’t plan to be spending much time in it anyway. After a meal in the Melon cafe we headed back out to see Barcelona at night. We took the metro to Placa Espanya for the light and music performance ‘Font Magica‘ which is held twice nightly at weekends. It’s an amazing spectacle with illuminated fountains cascading down terraces from the Palais Nacional down to the Placa d’ Espayna.
We climbed the steps to view the fountains from both the top and the base and found the views to be spectacular from all viewpoints. We returned to our hotel after a fun filled first day in Barcelona.