Well I succeeded in keeping all my belongings on me down la Rambla, whoop whoop!It really is a crazy place - so much going on, from people selling flowers (including blue roses!) and others selling rabbits, turtles, mice and birds etc (most were looking worse for wear) to street performers. A heap of people dress up in ridiculous costumes and invite you to have photos with them in return for a few coins - and others are playing a game with some cups and getting punters to try and pick which one the ball is hidden under (all these places are a great spot for guys to relieve you of your belongings while you are standing around!) However the MOST annoying thing is (I don't know if it is a fad or they have been doing it for ages) this mouth piece a heap of guys have that allow you to squawk and squeal and chirp like a bird. They are doing it for attention so you go and buy one but it is so annoying - and they are everywhere! The plazas, the streets, park guell, everywhere!
Over the last few days I have got up to a fair bit of sightseeing. I did a day trip to Montserrat and Sitges. Montserrat was really neat! It is about an hour and a half from Barcelona and it is way up high in the hills where there is a monastery and the rock formations are bulbous and odd. If it was a nice day you could see for miles but unfortunately it was cloudy - however it did make it kind of 'romantic'. You have to drive up the hill then take a train to the top of the hill where the monastery is then we had the option of going higher on a funicular which I did where hardly anyone else was. There was a really old hermitage up there and standing up there in the silence apart from the odd birdsong and mist swirling around the hills it was fairly surreal and beautiful. At 1 we listened to the boys choir - which sounded beautiful -in the monastery and got a dose of preaching - luckily in a language I couldn't understand. (I am getting a little sick of the godliness - sorry religious folk) And then we spent the arvo in Sitges which is a nice seaside town but a little sleepy this time of year - I think it could have been a bit more exciting in the height of summer - but still very pretty.
I also did a walking tour of the gothic quarter of Barcelona which was neat. Saw some really old buildings and got a bit of history of the town and how it has developed over the last several hundreds of years and even got to see some of the old town wall which is mostly now hidden inside the buildings. I went to a museum underground to see the remains of the old city (several cities actually - because when they wanted to rebuild, the old building was demolished and another one was built on top - so there are several layers of old buildings on top of one another- and that's why present day Barcelona is around three meters higher than the ancient one). They only found these remains fairly recently - 50ish years ago - when they moved an old building to make room for a road and found a heap of old stuff when digging out its substructure.
I spent a day wandering around Montjuic. At the top is a cool castle that is really well preserved with cannons and a draw bridge. I don't actually know much about it - the downfall of not being able to read any of the info in Catalan and Spanish! But I will be sure to google it at some point. And there are some really neat gardens which I wandered around and found a nice spot to read my book for a while. I also saw the Pavello Mies Van Der Rhoe (Demolished in 1930 and rebuilt in 1959) - the Barcelona pavilion he designed for the 1928 international exhibition - which is a neat building but very simple building that was ahead of its time. Also had some random blokes ask me if I wanted to hang out with them for the rest of the day and drink some of the suspicious brew they had in their hands?! I pleasantly declined and said I had to be on my way but they yelled out that they would meet me tomorrow instead - "12 here at the fountain?"…. Haha they will be waiting a long time….
Now I am all packed up and back off to the airport off to Granada and a visit to the Alhambra tomorrow. I am nearly sick of airports! But it will be the last trip for a while. After Granada I will find some bus or train to get me to Seville… hmm still have to book that, I should really get onto it! Adios for now!