Ronda and Barcelona
14.06.2007 - 17.06.2007 25 °C
Oh my god, I am mighty not impressed right now because I just wrote like 20 paragraphs about Ronda and Barcelona, managed to highlight the whole thing and deleted it! And I can't undo it. I am so not impressed, so here is a slightly condensed version.
So, when we were in Granada we tried to book our Barcelona accommodation (the next stop) only to discover that high season had hit, and there was nothing available! Gar. Up until this point we had had no trouble with hostel bookings or train reservations or long line ups for things, but almost overnight that all changed. Hostels were full, trains were full, line ups got longer....and it actually sort of changed our travelling from that point on. We had to book everything way in advance, which sort of takes the spontaneous travelling aspect out of things, and we found ourselves with much less flexibility, but overall it had worked out quite well.
So, because we couldn't go straight to Barcelona, we decided to go to Ronda for two nights, and then go to Barcelona. So we hopped on a train to Ronda and went through some absolutely gorgeous countryside....it kind of looked like a cross between Arizona and California...hot and dry! In Ronda we caught a cab out to this cute little campground. You can't beat the price of camping, it is almost like a two for one deal compared to hostels. So we set up camp, then had dinner at the on-site restaurant. The food was ok, but the service was a little lacking.
The next day, we walked into Ronda (about 3km) and took some photos of the gorge and the famous bridge over it (which is super high!) That is the main thing that Ronda is famous for, well, that and bullfighting, but we were there at the wrong time of year for that. We did try to go into the bullring to have a look though, but they wanted €6/person, so we said f*#% that!
The weather was not the greatest, so we decided to pass the rest of the day in an internet cafe. That is when the mad picture uploading party happened. A long time ago, yes, I know....The price was the best we've seen yet though, at €1.40/hr. We then had some stellar pizza and walked back to the campsite. It is amazing in Spain how even small towns are so lively at night. You see people in the morning, then the place it dead for siesta time, then everyone goes out at night. It is pretty cool. We saw this one pub that had a beer tap at every table with a digital display. You pay the bartender X amount of money, and then drink it dry. It was a pretty cool system. Taylor wants one.
The next day we packed up camp and walked into town with our packs. We had to spend the day in town with our bags because our train didn't leave until 530pm. So we did some internetting, did some window shopping, and had pizza twice. Finally we caught the train back to Granada, and then took the overnight train to Barcelona. I know, you would think that we would learn from our last overnight train experience not to do it again, but unfortunately it was our only option. On the upside it wasn't the six seater cabin train type this time, and it would have been fine if the two seats opposite us were vacant, but they weren't. In fact there wasn't a vacant seat on the whole train; there wasn't even enough room for everyone's luggage! It was packed and HOT! We had less than a foot of leg room, but somehow we did manage to sleep a bit.
We arrived in Barcelona at 930 the next morning. We took the metro to our hotel and dumped our bags, then had some breakfast and went for a stroll down the Rambalas. The Rambalas is a very famous and touristy area in Barcelona and is basically a shopping street lined with stores, street vendors, street performers, and con artists. You can buy anything from leather to live chickens, but you must keep your hands in your pockets or someone else will! We did and we were fine.
It was a rather muggy day, so after our stroll we were ready to shower. We checked in at the hotel (which we couldn’t do at 930 when we arrived), then cleaned up and headed out on a Gaudi mission. One of our guidebooks had a map that showed the location of his various buildings that are strewn throughout the city which made them look very close together. They are definitely not. We did a lot of walking. We saw Casa Batllo, one sweet building in a row of creative buildings (for those that don't know Gaudi is a very artistic 20th century architect who lived and worked mostly in Barcelona). Only pictures can do it justice.
Next we walked to La Casa Mila, where we paid to go inside, since we got a half price student deal. It was also amazing, but the rooftop was the most spectacular. It was covered in plaster statues and arches and had fabulous views of the city.
Next we walked to Sagrada Familia, which was definitely a long mission on foot. It was totally worth it though. Sagrada Familia is perhaps Gaudi's most famous work, although it is yet unfinished. Again we paid to go inside, though we are not sure why. The inside was a maze of scaffolding and the lifts were not working so we couldn't go up in the towers. It was a breathtakingly beautiful building though.
Next we mad the long mission home, which was largely uneventful since it was a Sunday evening. We did however see a naked gay (male) couple strutting their stuff down the main street. One had tattooed underwear and some very interesting piercings....only in Barcelona! We also saw a protest in full swing, complete with a chopper flying overhead for a good hour. Ok, so maybe the walk wasn't so uneventful after all. And that was Barcelona. We were too exhausted to taste the nightlife, though we did manage to drink a bottle of very strong wine at the hotel! You gotta love how cheap wine is here. About 4 dollars CAN will get you an excellent bottle of wine. Mmmm.