Tuesday, May 6, 2008

BCNcredible: And I'm off...

Breakfast at the hostel was quick and free - toast, jam and instant coffee. You could have lingered over your coffee and met a flurry of young travelers who all dine together at picnic tables, but I was anxious to get going so I ate and hit the pavement and started my ambitious Day 1 itinerary.

First stop - a local El Raval market, less touristed than Ramblas' Boqueria, called Mercat de San Antoni. It's where Catalans go to grocery shop and Californians don't go to buy souvenirs. According to Lonely Planet, prices are also cheaper here than at Boqueria. After seeing this fruit stall it was impossible not to buy something--a huge bag of juicy strawberries was only €1.

2nd stop - Internet Cafe to blog. Unlike Venice's appauling 8 Euro/hour internet rate, this cafe was the perfect price - 1 hour, 1 Euro. It was clean, high-tech and the guy at the front desk spoke English. It's a short walk from the market down Ronda Sant pau.

3rd stop - PLAYAS! After almost a month of rain in Treviso I was dying for some beach time. Barcelona's strip of beaches was easy to get to - from Paral-lel the 157, 36 and 64 busses go directly to Barceloneta and Puerto Olympico. I stopped at a newstand on the way to get the 10 trip bus/metro ticket for about €7.50. It lasted nearly my entire trip.

There are several BCN Beaches to choose from but after a survey up and down the strip I liked Icaria Beach best. It has good mellow house music cranking from the central cafe/bar less families than Barceloneta Beach and is close to public transport. I only stayed long enough to nosh on some strawberries and try my hand at topless sunbathing (hehe) but I was too curious about the rest of Barcelona to lay still.

4th Stop -- Parc de la Ciutadella Strolling through the lush gardens and grounds is a must. Have a picnic, rent a bicycle, go to the zoo or check out one of the park's museums. For, me the park was a great passeggiata and photo op'.

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