The temps in Madrid were already miserable by 9am. We ate gross free hotel breakfast at the restaurant next door and paid to add a couple eggs for some protein. Instead what we got was a lot of oil and a little egg. Uggg. Oh well.
Our last stop in Madrid was the Reina Sophia. This was now the 3rd time we tried to come to this museum. We had it scheduled in the evening of our first day but we were too tired so we skipped it. Then we went back the next day only to find it closed! 3rd time’s the charm. But, we had to bring all our luggage with us, and stuff it into a locker. I was pretty proud we could fit it all in one locker!
The main draw here is Picasso’s Guernica. The museum does a really good job with the lead up to this piece. You learn about Picasso, about the attack on Guernica. And the Spanish Civil war. Guernica was HUGE and was really a site to behold. We didn’t really love the rest of the museum, but maybe that’s because we were on a little bit of museum overload.
We needed to catch our train to Barcelona, so after a quick look at some other weird exhibits, off we went to the Atoche Train Station. What a unique place! Right in the middle of the train station is a turtle sanctuary. That was a fun surprise!
It’s always an adventure trying to find things when all the signage is in different languages. There is lots of English too but sometimes it’s fractured and hard to understand. So, after running around the station a bit, we finally found our train.
2 1/2 hours, 320 miles and one nap later we were in Barcelona! The Refe high speed train was awesome!
From the moment we stepped out of the train station we knew Barcelona was going to be more our style than Madrid was. The first thing we saw was hundreds of pigeons at Plaça de Catalanya. We were wishing the kids were with us. They would have thought it was hilarious!!
We walked down La Rambla to Barri Gòtic and checked in at our hotel. After a quick shower we hit the town. Our first order of business was to dip our toes in the Mediterranean Sea. We walked along the harbor to the beach, passing the Columbus Monument on our way. It made me miss my Grandma Nene!
The Med is pretty cold. Not California cold, but it definitely has a bite to it. We loved seeing all the little ally ways and swing Catalan flags flying in the breeze off of many, many balconies.
As we were walking from our hotel we turned the corner and, BOOM! The Cathedral of Madrid was right in front of us. What an impressive sight. Only a few hours in and we were sure we were going to love Barcelona.
The dinner hour in Spain is late! Most places open for dinner at 8pm. We met Alex, organizer of StartupGrind Barcelona (where Rusty would be speaking the next night) for dinner at La Alcoba Azul. Finally! Some delicious food! We had our first taste of Pan al Tomate and Patatas Bravas (potatoes with spicy red sauce and aioli). We had a delicious meat and cheese plate and Tostas with blue cheese and caramelized onions. After not eating well for 3 days, we wolfed it all down. It was fun to meet Alex and hear about the start up scene in Barcelona.
We wandered in the Gothic Quarter after dinner just taking in all the sights and getting Rusty some gelato. First day in Barcelona: SUCCESS!