Easter Vacation 2003
It happened again, for this year Easter Barcelona was selected as a goal, not from me, Tanja was visited the travel agency and came back with this.
When she showed me the booking, I was surprised, the airline, with which we fly, is the Austrian Airlines and chaos airline Lauda Air, a subsidiary of Austrian Airlines, with which we made "outstanding" experiences already in such a bad way, because of delays with AUA and its daughters I have already spent days of my life on airports.
Shit happens, now is too late it, however nearly all holidays fliers from Vienna belong to AUA. One has nearly no chance to bypass AUA.
Good Friday in the morning at about half past three we started. The large traveling bag is packed already, camera and video camera are also ready. Only toothbrush and razor into the bag, everything in the car and we start. Two hours before takeoff we should be at the airport, I think 90 minutes are also enough.
At half past four we are in the departure building and add ourselves to one of the two queues. It precedes only in the snail speed. Apparent the girls at the Counter still sleep. We have only 10 meters of queue in front of us, I was in the meantime already out again for a cigarette, but the queue has hardly shortened. There emerges an elderly man dressed with a jacket in Austrian style and a funny hat, it is our guide Alfredo, and explains that the plane would fly off with 45 minutes of delay, thus instead of 6:05 around 6:50. That starts already well, but I expected this.
We receive sometime finally our tickets and make ourselves on the way to the gate. Before we still "enjoy" another Baguette and a coffee in an airport baker's shop. About the price I do not want to talk.
The flight started finally. To the breakfast there is the "Lauda air standard scrambled egg". Alfredo explains, that this is a Spanish breakfast, special prepared for us, poor idi
ZAt least the pilot hurried up, he cutted something from the delay and at 9:00 o'clock we landed in Barcelona.
Out of the flier and to the luggage. But why the hurry? We waited nearly one hour for our luggage. Since it is improbable the fact that the luggage trolley driver on the airport lost his way it was probably again a technical breakdown, the loading hatch wedged or the pilot could not find the key for it * grind *
Alfredo strives to correspond to the first impression from him. He stands only stupidly and worries about nothing. Also on the airport apparent nobody is responsible, I was sent from one counter to the next.
Finally, after nearly one hour our luggage comes. Like the sheeps we follow Alfredo to the bus, hopefully he will find that at least. But he gets assistance of a Spanish travel chief.
Now the share out into the 2 busses starts, a part of the travelers booked a city tour, the others are directly brought into the hotels. The starts chaos and Alfredo strives to increase this. Times the one, times the others are into the first bus are called it sometime then, which should be in the first bus the city tour and the people for the hotel Atenas. Since we booked the hotel, we are then also enter the bus. In the bus we determine then that none of the city tour is in the first bus, those ones the Spanish guide sent into the second bus. Now Alfredo is completely disoriented. Again inquire with the Spanish guide. Decision, everybody remains in the busses, we start.
Before we start finally, Alfredo explains to us that the Atenas is over-booked and that we are brought into another, still better hotel. Large disquietness and searching in various travel guides starts, in order to get information about the hotel, which is muuuuch more expensive muuuuuch better. We will see!
The travel from the airport to the hotel takes only approximately 20 minutes. The hotel "Duques de Bergara" is naturally not so modern, has a not a pool with Sauna within the upper range with panorama view over Barcelona, only a pool in the garden, but otherwise completely OK. On the other hand side it has an advantage: It is located in a side street, only 100 meters far away from the Placa de Catalunya.
Thus fast the room entered, unpacked and letīs go, by the delay and the chaos with the bus we lost already 2 hours. Tanja through-planned the 4 days already in full.
Over the Placa de Catalunya with the thousands of pigeons, which are fed here by the tourists, we take the Passeig de Gracia toward the 1. Point of inspection, the Casa Batlló constructed by Gaudi. On the way naturally already the first photos made. The weather is wonderful, the sun laughs, exactly the same, as it my preferential weatherforcast promised. The forecast is the trend for the next 6 days is amazingly rather reliable even exact.
At the Casa Batlló we make then the experience, which we faced during our whole Barcelona vacation, one stand for queue. So also here. In front of the entrance a long queue, which hardly becomes shorter. That starts well. No, there we will not queue and we moved ourselves to direction Casa Milà.
Here the same. A queue in front of the entrance. Here the organization has made a big progress already. A sign refers to the approximate waiting period of 30 minutes.
Short considering and the decision is made, tomorrow very early a new attempt, so letīs move to the Sagrada Familia.
On the last day before our departure a colleague of mine has given me a very good hint, here again thanks to Katarina, which is really worth gold. In Barcelona there are Touristic busses, that drive to all objects of interest, one can step out and with the next bus drive on. So approximately every 10 minutes a buss comes. The routes are divided on 2 lines, the red line, it drive off the north and the blue line, which covers the south. The ticket for 2 days costs 19 Euro per person and applies on both lines. The ticket contains likewise a booklet with coupons, which reduce the entrance price in nearly all objects of interest.
At the stop Casa Milà is one of points of transfer between the two lines.
Thus not for a long time discussed and a ticket acquired and into the red line entered and naturally upwards. There the cape hood is missing and one has a marvelous view on the environment with the double-decker bus.
The next station is already Sagrada Familia, the masterpiece of Gaudi. The extents are hardly to be seized with the camera and, what shall I say, naturally perfectly overcrowded and the longest queue until now. Thus photos from the outside made and the attendance on later shifted.
Meanwhile already our stomachs become apparent. Since "opulent" breakfast in the plane we ate nothing. Fortunately there are feeding places of all well-known chains approximately around the Sagrada Familia. We decide for KFC.
To a few Chicken parts goes it then by foot far to the historic hospital Hospital de la Santa Creu, which is located in the proximity and is not sufficient appreciated in tourist guides actually. Here naturally again plentifully one photographs and is also astonished, because the hospital is still in operation.
From here we walk back again back to the bus stop at the Sagrada Familia.
© Ulrich Hoffmann 2003