I spend a good part of the day in transit from Lisbon to Barcelona. I left Lisbon last night at around 11pm and arrived in Barcelona around 3pm this afternoon. The trip went smoothly. The overnight train from Lisbon to Madrid was a bit different then the last 2 as I had my own cabin this time (that's all that was available). It was much more private and comfortable, however there was less opportunity to meat people.
I had to switch stations when I arrived in Madrid. That was no problem since I knew my way around from being there a few days earlier. The same cannot be said for a couple I met at the Atocha station. They were in a rush, actually kind of a panic, trying to find the train station from the metro station. Recognizing their situation because they spoke in English I showed them the way to the station, besides it was the same place I was going. They were from England and decided at the very last minute to take a trip to Toledo.
The train ride to Barcelona was a great opportunity to see some of the Spanish country side. Most of my pictures below were taken between Madrid and Barcelona. The train I was on was a medium speed train that stopped a few times along the way. When the train was zooming along at its top speed (probably about 145 kph or so) it was quite difficult to catch good scenes, so many of the better quality pictures where taken when the train was running at a slower speed.
Back in Lisbon I checked on the internet for hotel rooms in Barcelona and had little luck finding something to suite my needs, so I decided to try out the room finding service available at the Tourist Information (TI) office. They had a TI at the Sants train station where I arrived in Barcelona, but the room finding service is only provided at the TI office in central Barcelona. I took the metro down there to see what they had to offer.
The room finding service at the TI office worked out great. I got a great room in a new hotel (actually it's renovated building that is still undergoing a bit of construction). The hotel is located within just a few blocks from the TI office and the most of the sites I want to see. In case you are wondering, the TI office gets a 10 percent cut of the room rate for providing their service so it doesn't cost you anything extra for this service. Although, because the hotels loose that 10 percent they can sometimes be unwilling to offer rooms through this service.
In the evening I took a walk down Las Ramblas toward the beach, then grabbed a very late dinner on the way back. Just before I headed out it was raining a little bit, so the sky was still mostly overcast and it was only around 21 degrees.
Here's a few photos from today. More of Barcelona to come in the days ahead.
Most of the photos below just show some of the changing scenery from Madrid to Barcelona and don't need any extra description.
A shepherd and a flock a sheep. I saw a few these along the way. Due to the speed of the train I lost the good angle on this picture before I had a chance to snap it.
Note that all the folks in at this construction site have the same outfits. I saw this at a few other locations in Spain. It must be their way to ensure only authorized people are on the work site, or they all just like dressing the same.
My first view of the Mediterranean Sea (or at least the one I could photograph). This was taken about just south of Barcelona.
Yesterday Barcelona won the Champions League of football (soccer). Apparently the city went crazy with fans celebrating. Here we see fans once again gathering just up the street from my hotel.
My first impression of Barcelona is that it is quite different then Madrid. A couple things that makes it different is the harbour and the beach.
This beach was man made in the 1980s in preparation for the 1992 Olympics. It's mainly for sun bathing as the water quality is questionable.
Columbus Monument at sun set.