Saint Flour to Barcelona

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We rose just before 7:00 am, had breakfast in the hotel (combinations of cereal, yoghurt, ham, bread, cheese, juice and coffee), packed and were on the road shortly after 8:00 am. I drove the first leg so as to keep Majella fresh for the Barcelona traffic.

This was a day spent mostly driving south to reach Barcelona. The highlight of the driving day was the 2.5 km viaduct at Millau.

Our first stop was at the viewing point for the viaduct at Millau. when I was planning the trip I’ve been very pleased to find that it was on the obvious route from paris to Barcelona so I did not have to make special arrangements to see it. The viaduct is 2.5 km long and the road is almost 300 m above the valley floor at its maximum. It really is an impressive structure. We walked from the car park to the viewing point for our photographs and then drove across the viaduct to continue our journey.

We stopped again briefly at the next fueling point and then continue on toward Barcelona. By the time we were feeling in need of lunch we were on the toll road approaching Perpignan so we decided to get off and look for a quiet place for lunch. the traffic in Perpignan was not quiet so we headed back out of town by point the GPS toward Barcelona and eventually found a supermarket where we bought sandwiches to save time and some fruit.

Majella drove from there, heading back onto the toll way to make as good time as possible across the border, into Spain and on to Barcelona. The GPS did a good job of guiding us into the centre of Barcelona except where the satellites were obscured by a partial covering of the road and at the very end where there was some confusion about the turn. We went around again and spotted our hotel but no nearby parking. We continued down the Ramblas until we saw a sign to a parking station, intending to park for long enough to check in at the hotel and sort out longer term arrangements later. Having completed a 23 point manouevre to park the car Majella was not keen to try again elsewhere so we decided to stick with that location and pay whatever was needed. We walked back to the hotel with just the minimum of bags, checked in, and then walked back for the remainder of our luggage.

We relaxed for a while in our room before going out to check the pool on the 6th floor and to walk around the local area. We went via the car park to collect the camera that Majella had left in a side pocket and then up La Rambla where Sam was fascinated by the stalls selling pets including tortoises, chameleons, and other exotic creatures. I had to register for the conference between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm so, shortly after 5:00 pm we headed across the road at the top of our street to the University of Barcelona. The queue looked long so Majella and Sam headed back to the hotel while I waited it out. Fortunately it did not take as long as I had feared because the organisers had arranged three queues by surname, A-F, G-M, and N-Z. I benefited by being on a shorter queue and was out of there quickly. I took a few minutes for a look around the luxuriant garden adjacent to the building and then headed back to the hotel.

About 7:30 pm we headed out to find dinner. Our plan was to find a restaurant in one of the quieter side streets. We checked a few without finding anything that really appealed to Sam but eventually found one which we all thought offered something we would be happy to eat. We sat down at an outside table and, when the waitress came over, asked for the menu. She informed us that dinner was not served until 9:00 pm, almost and hour away, but that we could have tapas instead or while we waited. We opted for tapas and drinks, ordering humus rojo, mozzarella sticks with salsa, and patatas bravas, which we were informed came with a spicy sauce. The waitress must have interpreted Majella’s response to the patatas bravas as a definite negative, because that dish never did appear. We enjoyed the others along with the accompanying bread and our drinks – white wine for Majella, juice for Sam and beer for me. The tapas dishes were substantial enough, on top of what we had eaten earlier in the day, for Majella and me. On the way back to the hotel Sam picked up the pizza cone (yes, it was like an ice cream cone) that he had been drawn to on our way out and enjoyed that.

Although it was only a little after 9:30 pm when we got back to our room, Majella and Sam were tired enough to go to sleep leaving me to catch up on the blog. Even then I was able only to catch up on our Monday travels and had to leave this page incomplete for another day.