Barcelona, Spain – April 13, 2011
My good friend, Ron, and I drove to Barcelona to do some “shopping” for work. The required item was only in Barcelona, so we drove there from Madrid. We arrived late on the 12th, bought the items we needed on the 13th, and returned to Madrid late that same night. During the drive to Barcelona, one sees dozens and dozens of wind turbines. My understanding is that Spain has one of the biggest markets in the world for wind turbines. As one drives by the wind turbines it is amazing to see the size. Each blade is about the size of a tractor-trailer rig, huge!
The other frequent sight along virtually any Spanish highway is the black bull billboard. It is the symbol for the Osborne Bodega, a winery. The bull is omnipresent in all sorts of advertising and tourist gifts throughout Spain.
While we were driving toward Barcelona, we overtook a truck carrying horses for the Spanish National Police Mounted Unit. A little farther on we passed another police truck. That was the first time I had seen this. I have never actually seen a National police officer on a horse. I am not sure where they were going.
As we neared Zaragoza, we decided it was time for lunch. We stopped at a McDonald’s. In Spain, McDonald’s is a frequent sight. However, what is not frequent is to see a drive-through McDonald’s. Those are very unusual. After taking a photo of the sign, a security guard stopped to question us about what we were doing. I found that a little odd, but nothing came of the incident.
When we arrived in Barcelona, we checked into our hotel. After putting our things in our rooms, we went out to explore life on la Rambla, the preeminent tourist street in town. That street is always full of fascinating things and characters. We ended the evening with a late Spanish dinner at the Attic restaurant, which happens to be across the street from our hotel.
The next day, we had some work to do at the consulate before we went to buy our items. The work took longer than we anticipated, so we got a late start on our return.
Driving back to Madrid we decided to not use the toll road. That ended up being an error in judgment. The non-toll road is a two-lane highway that winds through small villages. Because of that, one cannot maintain a constant speed. An additional obstacle was the never-ending trucks on the road. With only two lanes, it is nearly impossible to pass. Finally, near Zaragoza, we were able to get back on the freeway and took that all the way back to Madrid.
While riding, I took advantage of the road lights to take photographs. Some of the night shots I got from the car were fun. We made it back to Madrid close to 00:30.