Homeward Bound

Sunset on QEW

Sunset on QEW

Homeward Bound
May 7, 2015

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The three of us were awake when our synchronized alarms sounded at 6:30 AM. Our routine is so well tuned that we were showered, dressed, packed and on the street at 7 AM and it was daylight! A month ago when we started hiking at that hour, we were going by starlight. We did not go far to get breakfast. Margaret’s tostadas were disappointing white sliced bread. Brian and I opted for bacon and eggs which also garnered us a basket of bread cut from a baguette. I mostly enjoyed my freshly squeezed orange juice.

There were not crowds of pedestrians at that hour but motor city was whizzing by: cars, bikes, scooters and buses. We had a shoe walk to our aerobus. Too bad we did not know this shortcut upon arrival. Yesterday we asked three people for directions and walked for half an hour or more to find our hotel.

I learned from google that the Palau de Musica across from our lodging was not designed by Gaudi but by someone else in 1908, whose name now escapes me. No free wifi here at Barcelona airport; I used it up yesterday; so, I cannot Google again. At any rate, the architect won a prize for his design and the Palau de Musica has since been declared a World Heritage site.

There was a concert there last night. We heard the orchestra warming up while the concert attendees were entering. The concert did not begin until 9:30 PM; so, too late for us. It would have been interesting seeing the inside this building. We contented ourselves with pressing our noses to the windows and seeing the shapely glass stair ballisters.

Competing with the orchestra were students practising the scales at the music school one floor below us. Their violin and saxophone practices did not compare favourably with the orchestra. Fortunately for us, lessons stopped by 9:30 PM. The German soccer fans blew fewer horns but still made a racket in the street sometime during the night. It is probably good for us that Germany lost.

There is an International Auto Show in Barcelona for ten days and a Formula 1 race this weekend. I think this city has a very active schedule. Our bartender confirmed that the streets are always full particularly from March until the end of October.

7:46 PM ( Ontario time- 1:46 AM Spain time)
We did not sleep on the plane, either of them. We watched three movies. Brian secured an extra leg room seat for himself, the last on the plane to Toronto; so, we did not see much of him.

Our flight was half an hour late leaving Barcelona but the pilot made up twenty minutes of that flight. We were an hour late leaving Paris but arrived half an hour early in Toronto then sat on the plane for an hour. There had been a medical emergency on our plane and Public Health had to thoroughly check an individual before any of us or our baggage were released from the plane.

Our dear brother, Jim, picked us up at the airport and drove us to his house in Mississauga where our dear sister-in-law, Lynn, had prepared a welcome home feast for us. We enjoyed their company as well as Stephanie’s and Brilynn’s as we munched through sushi and pizza appetizers followed by delicious roast chicken, potatoes and salad followed by delightful fresh fruit salad.

Much as we were enjoying the company, we had to move on to Niagara as we were beginning to notice the time change.

We are now zooming along the QEW in light traffic on a sunny evening with a temperature of 19C.

We will drop Margaret off at her house and stay at Brian’s parents for a few days before going home.

The end of a wonderful adventure!


Busy Barcelona

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Barcelona (pop: 1 510 000)
May 6, 2015
7:20 AM to 10:20 AM
1.5 hours for 900 kilometres

The taxi ride from our hotel to the Lavacolla airport took eleven minutes. There is no traffic in Barcelona before 8:30 AM. I think it took us almost two hours to walk into Santiago from the airport on Sunday.

Our flight with Ryan Air was much faster than van or walking. It did seem to take an inordinate amount of time to pick up one checked bag. We took the bus into Barcelona. When the outlying areas of the city are counted, the population is four million.

We think all the people of Barcelona were walking in the city centre today. As well there is a very loud, very visible fan base from Germany here for tonight’s soccer game. It is quite overwhelming for Camino walkers who are not used to such crowds.

Barcelona is a pedestrian friendly city with many squares and narrow curving streets. There is quite a mix of architecture although Gaudi’s quirky designs leap out in many places.

We wandered the streets, past the cathedral, down to the harbour and around it ogling hundreds of expensive boats. We walked the length of La Rambla, people watching and savouring ice cream. We wore shorts! We had pizza at Via Margarita: an unusual one that had fresh spinach and honey on top instead of cheese. Tasty.

We have an unusual hotel room on the third floor. The whole hotel is on this one floor; Pensio 2000, and it is a full house tonight. The decor is hippie sixties style, high ceilings, orange walls, green couch and chairs in the living area, eclectic art, collections of a variety of small things on display. It is across the street from the Gaudi designed music hall. We hope that we will see the night lights on it, but we may be asleep before then. Wandering the streets is more tiring than walking twenty kilometres to a destination.

Our flight leaves for Paris then Toronto at 10:15 AM. We are homeward bound.