Last Updated on 17 April 2023 by gerry
We are aiming to visit the city of Barcelona approximately once a week during our stay in Maresme, so for this week’s visit we are going to put down the useful foundation of getting an overview of the city’s sights according to one of the two sightseeing bus tours. The two bus tours are Barcelona Bus Turístic and Barcelona City Tour. It really is difficult to choose which is better based on information available. The prices are all about the same coming in at just under €30 for the day tour on each with the 10% online discount. Two different routes are covered by each tour company’s ticket and each tour has an app that promises more than it delivers. Ultimately it was the promise of real time bus information on the City Tour app that made us choose that one.
We caught the train into Plaça de Catalunya and found the City Tour bus. The queue was quite long on this Monday morning so that we didn’t make it onto the first bus that came. Our strategy was to ride the complete length of this first bus route in the morning. The day was fresh but sunny so at times it was comfortable enough wearing our coats on the open top deck. The commentary was in many languages as an audio recording. I was adequate enough but I would fault much of pronunciation of names and places – it smacked of the recordings being put together centrally without too much local input / checking. Nevertheless our bus tour did achieve the objective of giving a reasonable simple overview of where the notable parts of the city lie in relation to each other and some of the interesting history.
The plan for our intermission between bus routes was to seek out Plaça Sant Jaume, just off La Rambla, where I recalled there are some nice quiet squares with a variety of eateries. I was working of memories that were 4 or 5 years old, so although we found Plaça Sant Jaume easily, we didn’t quite find the vibe I was looking for. We had a pleasant Tapes lunch and drink and then an ample wander down the rest of La Rambla, which didn’t take as long as expected where we reached the big roundabout with Columbus on a pillar. This was where we could pick up the second bus route.
This bus tour seemed a bit more subdued, perhaps due to our Tapes and drink earlier or maybe even the effects of the deceptive morning sun which we beginning to feel on our heads. Once the second route made it to Passeig de Gràcia with its designer shops and cluster of famous modernist houses, we disembarked and spent a bit of time in the shops and a craft beer pub.
If our Barcelona geography was better, we’d have known that Passeig de Gràcia meets Plaça de Catalunya quite soon after this point, but we only figured that out later. This lack of local knowledge prompted us to go underground to catch the metro to Clot d’Aragó thinking that would save us time, but it felt like we walked for miles underground just to reach the right platform for the L1 line to take us to Clot. A lesson learnt for the future, but in truth I’m sure it takes regular Metro travellers here a long time to build up the knowledge of which station entrances are best for reaching the different lines.
The train journey home from Barcelona invariably seems to drag, especially when we are tired. This one was no exception, indeed I nearly accidentally clobbered someone as I was taking off my jacket just as the train lurched in to motion. Fortunately I only knocked the sunglasses off his face – embarrasing all the same.