Our second day in Barcelona was a hodgepodge of sightseeing and exploring. We started the day with pastries – the best chocolate croissant I’ve ever had! We fell so in love with the bakery around the corner from our hostel that we went three times in about 30 hours… not the healthiest choice, but certainly delicious! And yes, that croissant is approximately the size of my face.
After breakfast we headed to Montjuic, the large hill overlooking the city and the water. Our first visit was Castell Montjuic. This castle was nothing like the previous one’s I’ve seen this trip; it’s austere and unadorned, very cold and box-like. It was never used by the royal family, and for most of history, it housed military and state prisoners.
The climb to the top provided a view of the Barcelona shipyards, part of the city we hadn’t yet seen.
In another area, we stumbled on a group of locals practicing archery!
After our visit to the castle, we meandered down through the many gardens on Montjuic. At one point we found an amazing slide and had to try it out (yes, we are children).
We also spent some time wandering through the Olympic Park on Montjuic. The architecture was huge and grand, and the morning fog had burned off to provide us with a beautiful chance to soak in the sun.
Our afternoon was dedicated to Barcelona’s gothic section. We spent quite a while in the City Museum, which contains several large underground tunnels through the remains of a Roman town. We saw the ruins of a garum (fish sauce) factory, a cloth dying shop, and a wine shop, as well as several houses. We also visited the cathedral and several smaller churches. My favorite was Santa Maria del Mar, a smaller church that is more intimate than the huge cathedrals and still felt alive and bustling.
We also stumbled into a street festival in which kids and adults were dressing up as giants and dancing around the stage and streets. All around were colorful balloons and light displays. We didn’t know much about what was going on, but it was fun to watch!
Julia and I enjoyed a decadent meal out after our ramen dinner the night before. We went to a tapas restaurant where everything is served on toothpicks. The cold tapa are kept in glass cases and the hot ones are passed around on plates, and customers just take what they want. When you’re ready to go, you count up your toothpicks and pay according to how many you’ve eaten! Julia and I tried quite a selection. One of our favorites was bread with thick, tangy cream cheese and nuts. We also really liked one with smoked salmon, and another delicious bite with cheese and mushroom. We even tried morcilla, Spanish blood sausage!
We ended the day with sore feet, and were thankfully treated to an empty hostel room and a good night’s sleep.