Tyler and I made our way to the Atocha Train Station in Madrid. There, we met my Area Management Officer (AMO) and her husband. As part of her trip to the Madrid embassy, we needed to visit the consulate in Barcelona, therefore the train trip.
The high-speed train from Madrid to Barcelona was wonderful as always. This day the train was non-stop, so we got there in about two and one-half hours. That sure beats the times I have driven there with my friend Ron. Those trips are usually six or six and one-half hours one way.
We arrived in Barcelona at about 17:30. At the hotel, Tyler said this is his favorite city, even though we had not yet been there two hours!
Tyler thought the Le Meridien is the best hotel in which he has ever stayed. He thought it was amazing that there were a television and a telephone in the bathroom!
For dinner, the four of us decided to go to a restaurant that overlooks the marina, La Gavina (The Seagull). Supposedly they are known for their paella. We shared two different types of paella. I am not a real fan of paella; however, the paella there was very good.
On our way to and from the restaurant, we walked by the Joan Miro sculpture by the marina. I think it is a fascinating piece of art.
On the first full day in Barcelona, Angela and I had work to do at the consulate. While I was on the grounds of the consulate, I could not help but admire the water fountain and some 1920s-era murals.
For lunch, we took out one of the Locally Employed Staff, Josefina. She suggested Moncho’s on Travessera de Gracia. The three of us shared three different dishes; croquetas, calamari, and a salad. It was a delicious meal.
When I returned to the hotel late that afternoon, Tyler and I decided to walk around the area near the hotel.
Initially, we walked north on La Rambla to Plaza Catalunya. It so happened that there were many protesters occupying the plaza. There were tents, tarps, and ramshackle living areas. We were both surprised that many of the protesters had staked out camping spots in the trees. I am not exactly sure what the protests were for, but there did not seem to be anything happening when we walked through the plaza.
The other thing that was odd that afternoon were the pigeons. There were hundreds of them in the plaza. Many others had noticed that, so there were a lot of people in the plaza taking photos of the pigeons.
Tyler returned to the hotel and I continued on to a nearby church, the Parrish of the Mother of God of Bethlehem. There were some beautiful sights in the church.
For dinner that night, the four of us went to El Asador de Aranda. It is in a unique building. Its architecture sort of has a Moorish influence. The restaurant specializes in lamb; however, both Tyler and I had steak instead. It was good. I would go back.
The following day, Angela and I went with consulate personnel to view a newly leased apartment. While we were out, I spotted a very ornately decorated but abandoned building, the Rotonda Hotel. I had to take a few photographs.
We had some time to kill after we checked out of the hotel. We walked a couple of blocks south on La Rambla to get a coffee. On the way, we saw the St. Joseph Market. We went through there and looked around a bit too. After the coffee, it was back to the train station and on to Madrid.