It is nice to wake up in our own spacious apartment and quietly have breakfast and just bdo everything in our own time. In a hotel we usually tend to be away soon, this feels much more like a home base.
As soon as we get out of the outer door, we are surrounded by the street noise again, even on a Sunday morning. In several places there are some activities and on the Carrer Ferran, a shopping street between the Ramblas and Placa de Sant Jaume, it is pretty crowded with some parade going by. But after a short walk through the old city we take the metro at Plaça Catalunya because today we have other plans.This time we bought a T-10 on arrival, a ten-ride ticket for the metro and the bus. In previous years we bought the Barcelonakaart (unlimited travel and discounts on admission fees etc.) or the 5-day travelcard, but we have calculated that this is cheaper with our plans for this week. Two (5-day) Barcelona tickets cost us € 80, two travel cards € 43.40. For a 10-ride ticket we pay € 7.20 and we probably need 3 of them plus maybe a few separate tickets. We will miss a little discount but we will not visit many museums.
Today we want to go to Tibidabo with the blue tram and the mountain train. Last time we found out that in September it does not run every day so today is our last chance this week. We get off at La Rotonda, a building with a beautiful turret. It was built in 1918 as the Metropolitan Hotel by Adolf Ruiz i Casamitjana, but now it is a hospital.
And then we stand in line for Tramvia Bleu, the blue tram that has been in use since 1901. After September 14, the train will only run on weekends. The historic tram takes us through the hilly suburbs up a lot in the direction of the 512 meter high hill Tibidabo which still officially belongs to the city.
At the final stop at Placa del. Andreu is an open bar from where we have a nice panoramic view of the city. Barcelona is located around a kind of bowl in the sea and is surrounded by hills. But we go even higher, with a mountain train (funicular in Spanish), to the top of the Tibidabo. The name Tibidabo is sometimes explained as: "this I give you", according to tradition the words of Satan to Jesus to seduce him with worldly power and that would obviously have happened at this place. Jesus did not fall for it; would that be the reason there are both a church and an amusement park on this top? In any case, the church towers above everything and you can also see it from all over the city, even from the harbor.
The Iglesia del Sagrat Cor (Church of the Sacred Heart) is the highest point in Barcelona, but there is an amusement park that just above it. The amusement park itself, like the tram and funicular, has existed for more than 100 years (since 1901). It is not such a supermodern amusement park but more like the ones we know from our youth, a small roller coaster that was already exciting enough.
A part of the park is only accessible for people with a ticket, but otherwise you can walk around freely on the site that has a lot of picnic spots which also can be used for free. Well, you pay for it when you order something from one of the foodstalls here: 4 euros for a small portion of fries. We walk around the top of the hill, visit the church inside (a bit kitschy) and then go down again.
The funicular goes right up and down the hill and the route is quite steep. The wagons themselves are rather bare, quite a contrast to the blue tram that is more of a nostalgic decorated wagon with lots of wood and old-fashioned lamps. A nice trip to do once, but it's even more fun when you have a child with you, we can see that on the faces of the grandfathers and grandmothers who have one or more children with them. Maybe we have to take our granddaughter once ...
Back in the city we take a walk through the City Park, Parc de la Ciutadella. It is a popular park, especially on Sundays, and is supposed to be the largest in Barcelona. In terms of surface it is probably slightly larger than Parc Guëll, but a lot less spectacular. Originally it was a fort and later a prison where rebellious Catalans were held. Now it is a much more pleasant place with fountains (partly designed by Antoni Gaudi), lots of greenery and a pond where you can rent a rowing boat.
But most people just lie lazing on the grass, although there is also an Asian market. And, like everywhere else in Barcelona, it smells delicious here. After the holiday I will lose weight but no we cannnot resist buying some food. The zoo is on the edge of the park, but last time we made the mistake of visiting it on a Sunday, just the day everyone wants to go.
From the park we walk zigzagging back through the old city. Along the cathedral, through the many alleys and over the many squares, some of which are very small like the Placa dels Traginers. It is a quiet place where you can still see the remains of a Roman tower.But first we go to our apartment to give our feet some rest and eat something (again). In the evening we sit for a while on a terrace at Placa Reial, but when it starts to rain we quickly return to our apartment. Fortunately, it is only a few minutes walk from the square. A good evening to go to bed early, tomorrow we have a whole new day.