Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hola from Barcelona

We are in Barcelona after seeing Segovia, Avila and Santiago. We enjoyed Segovia, with its Roman aqueduct and cathedral. The final night of a week-end long music festival was in progress. And the town is full of American college students doing Spanish culture and language immersion programs. Monday we toured the town and then caught a 2pm bus to Avila. The whole point of going to Avila was to catch the night train to Santiago. We had run into some fellow travelers in Cordoba who had really enjoyed Avila so I was looking forward to it, but there really wasn´t much there, except the 400-year old finger of St. Teresa.

We had a little kerfuffle with the luggage. Not wanting to carry our back packs with us, we walked from the bus station to the train station to leave our bags in a storage locker, but the train station had closed the lockers. Ever since the Atocha station bombing in Madrid, security has been very tight. The few places we have left our luggage, such as Cordoba, the bags had to go through security. The train station in Avila was too small to have that service. So back down to the bus station to leave our bags there. We spent a few hours sight seeing, had dinner, then spent about 5 hours cooling our heels at the train station waiting for the train.

Taking the night train always seems like such a great idea, but it never works out that way in practice. In this case the train´s air conditioning ran all night and we were freezing. The seats did not recline and it was hard to sleep. When we arrived in Santiago, we had the same luggage problem and ended up going out to the airport to leave our bags there, then taking the airport shuttle back into town.

Santiago itself was great. It is the terminus of one of three medieval pilgrimages to holy places. In this case the bones of St. James were supposedly found in a field here and the cathedral was built. Today many people make the 500 mile walk from France. When we were there a group of bicyclists rode into the square and celebrated.

In Barcelona we decided to buy the "hop on, hop off" tourist bus ticket as a quick and easy way to get an overview of the city and then go back to see the highpoints. We spent yesterday seeing the Anton Gaudi sights, including the Sagreda Familia, still under construction for over 100 years, and several of the houses that he designed and built. Today we will do a different bus route and tomorrow we will go to Montserrat.

1 comment:

April said...

ok, no plant references. interesting travel tips though,.