After a good night's sleep; bed was comfy, room temperature good, breakfast downstairs plentyful, we set about our day's activities.
We already knew that we were going to do the Fat Tyres Bike tour. The others have been great in London and Amsterdam. It is a great way to get orientated with the town. Meeting point was in the centre of town, so off to the nearby train station at Llacuna to Jaeme1. We purchased the T10 card which is a multi person card so 5 rides each at anytime. (€10.30).
We were a little early so we wandered around the area which is part of the old Gothic Quarter.
Stumbled upon the Roman Columns built about (read below)
The Cathederal was just here as well, along with the Museum of History of Barcelona. We will visit both of these another day.
On to our bike ride. It was very popular with about 40 people doing it. (€22 compared to £20 in London). Our guide, Massar, looked Spanish, but she was in fact Swedish who has been living here for 7 years studying art, history and is married to an Australian!
She guided us around the tight streets, telling us the history of Catalonia (Barcelona is the capital of this region and they like to see themselves as independent of the rest of Spain. They were separate many moons ago. There have been a few battles too. It is a bit like the Flemish and French regions in Belguim.
(In fact, they have a referendum in November to test the waters of becoming independent.)
King Ferdinand was from Madrid and he wanted to marry Isabella who was Catalonian, so that brought the two regions together way back. The King and Queen resided here in Barcelona.
It is believed that the Queen later had an affair with Christopher Colombus. King F. sent him off to discover the world in the hope he would never return. After a long time, he did return, having discovered the world. He was hailed a hero, much to the King's dislike. He apparently returned with a dose of syphillis (which Queen Isabella died from some years later!)
We rode along some roads, a little more challenging, and mostly bike paths.
One spectacular stop was outside the La Sagrada Familia (Sacred Family).
We are doing a tour through tomorrow so more about that then.
Back on our trusty steeds for more riding.
We rode through the Citadel Park, the largest Park in Barcelona. No Church here though. The waterfall and fountain are of action due to cleaning!
On to the beaches which were created for the Olympics in 1992. Spain had been controlled General Franco since the 1930's. He banned the Catalonians from speaking their own language and were not allowed to fly the Catalonian flag. After his death in 1975, things started to change. With the Olympics, much construction and development occurred, which included relocating the docks/port area and creating the beaches (made with tonnes of sand brought from the Egyptians (straight from the Sahara desert). Barcelona is now the 3rd most visited city in the world (After Paris and London).