A calm and lovely blue collar Riviera

I have been in Badalona, just north of Barcelona, for two days now. Late this morning I moved out of a Booking.com apartment several blocks away from the main beach, to the Hotel Miramar, smack dab on the beach.

I’m very happy to be at my new lodging, especially with the cost, which isn’t much more than a Motel 6. But with a far better view.

One of the goals of this trip has been to see what’s good and what’s not so good on the ground here in Spain and Portugal.

Barcelona and Badalona, are good. Some of it very good.

Not feeling particularly expressive tonight (it’s past 10 p.m.) so I’ll just post a couple photos and a video from my wanderings about town today.

I really wish and hope you all can see this someday. More proof that the world is a beautiful place, and America doesn’t hold a monopoly on greatness.

The Hotel Miramar from the beach

Tomorrow I take the Renfe train that passes between my hotel and the ocean, up north to several old and beautiful seaside towns that people in Barcelona know about, but are largely unrenowned outside of Spain. They include, but are not limited to, Caldes d’Estrac, Arenys de Mar, and Sant Pol de Mar.

Looking west and up the street from the corner of the Hotel Miramar in Badalona.

They are quick and easy and incredibly cheap – as in two to five euros- to get to. And the train runs right along the coast, just two or three hundred feet from the ocean.

View from my open hotel window at the Miramar.

Life has its challenges, but there’s also a lot of peace in this world if you’re open to. Like below.

The Killer Bees go trick or treating in Barcelona

All of last week little kids and teenagers were running around Barcelona in all sorts of costumes, many with a “Day of the Dead” look.

Saturday afternoon the old folks got to the party. Photo taken two or three blocks from the Hotel Alba.

I think I spotted a couple of old SNL casts members in the group, but I can’t be certain.

Scouting my next stop

Woke up and opened my curtains to this site this morning.

A quite delightful way to wake to your day. After breakfast I headed out to Badalona on the excellent public transit system.

The small sea side city of Badalona is about three or four miles north of the Barcelona city limits, around 10 or 12 minutes away by the T4 tram line and a transfer to the R1 Renfe train.

I’m headed there tomorrow afternoon, but this morning I decided to scout it out to see if the reality on the ground matched the maps. As usual, there were a few differences.

That isn’t a problem when I’m wandering about in shorts and a pull over. But tomorrow I’ll be lugging two pieces of heavy luggage, and the difference between “a short walk away” and the actual 10 minutes and six blocks can be a bitch to deal with.

In any event, there’ll be no surprises tomorrow. So I can just look forward to the next five days. And this.

Badalona has a very laid back beach town ambiance mixed with a working class feel. Nice mix. And more affordable than Barcelona.

Beginning of the main drag along the beach, about a block from the train station. The train continues along the beachfront (to the right). There are numerous underpasses to the beach.
The Hotel Miramar, where I’ll stay days three through five in Badalona.
Gotta love Booking.com. Good deals, and 4 x AA miles per dollar to boot.

I don’t feel so bad posting this for folks back home, as I hear it’s going to hit 60 degrees in the next day or two. Enjoy it. You’ve paid your dues for this winter.

After a high floor view, it’s back to earth for five days

After wandering near and far through the streets (excuse me, the “carrers”) of Barcelona for three days, I looked forward to kicking back for 26 hours in a nicely appointed room purchased with rewards points in the Hilton Diagonal Del Mar.

While you can’t get to know a city like Barcelona without walking it at ground level and using it’s outstanding metro and tram system, it’s also nice to settle back on the executive lounge’s 15th floor sky deck and look down at the endless movement and bustle of a world class city.

I mean, below is the view out the window by the 15th floor elevators.

And it’s not bad waking up to the view from my 21st floor sea view room, either.

But there are a lot more days in this trip than there are hotel rewards points to use, so it was back to a cheaper hotel for five days, albeit one just two blocks from one of the great attractions in Barcelona, Las Ramblas, a boulevard with a wide pedestrian mall between the two one way streets, and a plethora of shops and museums and bars and balconied apartment buildings and what not on either side for block after block.

Below is the more modest view from one of the front balconies of the Abla Hotel on Carrer de l’Hospital, two blocks from Las Ramblas.

After exiting the Liceu metro station early Tuesday afternoon, I was greeted by the imposing and beautiful facade of the Lideu Theater. I wasn’t looking down, what with being worried about being run over by bikes, cars or other people, but I’m told there’s a mural by Joan Miro on the ground right there. I’ll have to go back tomorrow and look for it and Miro’s signature on one of the tiles.

A block up from the theater is La Boqueria, a block square food market that, while not quite the scale of the Pike Place Market in Seattle, is easily its superior in the quality of food and drink offered. The place is to be smelled and tasted as much as seen.

Then again, you can just walk down my home street for the moment and find just about anything you may want there as well, and for lower prices.

OK. That’s all. Tired. Time to stare at MSNBC Livestream for a while. More tomorrow. I miss you all.