Taking the Hop On/Hop Off tour in Barcelona Part 1

Since I was going to be going around Barcelona alone, I had to figure out what kind of places I wanted to take. I was asking an office mate for some tips and she suggested that I take the hop on/hop off tour. It was the first time I've encountered this concept being a hick from the third world so I did my research.

Apparently, I could book this tour through Viator and print out the voucher for it to present to the tour bus operator. I took the East to West tour since it sounded more interesting that the North to South route. You present the voucher to the tour guide and she hands you a receipt which you must show to every bus operator whenever you hop on a bus. In case this wasn't clear, there are several buses that ply the route throughout the day. You get to stay at one stop for as long as you want and when you want to go to the next stop, you just wait for the next bus to stop on by. Unlike Manila, the buses only allow passengers on and off at the bus stops.

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Ready for my tour!

 The tour starts at the Plaza Cataluna which is quite a ways from my hotel via foot. However the beauty of the hop on/hop off tour is that you can get on it from any stop. Which means all I did was join the bus at the La Pedrera stop.

I was able to appreciate Plaza Cataluna in the quiet of the morning. It was 9AM and the only other tourists I could see was a pair of Koreans/Japanese.


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Quite lonely at 9AM

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Not sure what this statue is for
 
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Maybe this is dedicated to someone?

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Luckily the bus operator was kind enough to take my picture.

I wasn't that impressed with the Plaza because I only stayed in the Plaza itself. I didn't go around yet on that day because I wanted to see the other sights and not just go shopping (yet). So off I went to the next stop which was the Bario Gotic.

I got off the Bario Gotic stop and decided to follow this couple who seemed to know where they were going. I turned the corner and froze when I saw this.

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The Gothic Cathedral

I was stunned.  Of course in the Philippines we have our own cathedrals but there was just something about this one that made my heart skip a beat. I felt like I was in the presence of something old with history and amazing.



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Gothic Cathedral front view


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Gothic Cathedral entrance


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Gothic Cathedral interior

  The interior was absolutely incredible. I think this is the official cathedral of Barcelona since Sagrada Familia is not finished yet. I think during the tour it was also mentioned that this is a basilica to rival that of St. Peter's in Italy. One of the great basilicas in Europe in fact.Wandering around it, I could really feel the Catholic in me crying with joy. I knelt down at a pew and prayed a little, thankful that I had the opportunity to see this place.

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One of the sides of the cathedral


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The altar

My only regret is that I was unable to show this place to hubby. Anyway, I proceeded with the next stop on my tour which was Port Vell. It wasn't that exciting. It's just a stop to get to other places since the infamous Las Ramblas ends a few streets away. There's also the Columbus monument for sightseeing purposes.

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Columbus monument

The next stop was the Museu d’Història de Catalunya which I had previously purchased a ticket to. As I was entering the museum I saw that apparently I was going at the same time as a bunch of grade schoolers who are probably there for class. However I didn't see them at all and usually had the exhibits to myself.

This museum is about the history of Catalonia which is the region Barcelona is in before it became a part of Spain. It was really cool since I got to see stuff which I would normally just read about in history books or see in the Discovery channel.

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Pottery from olden times

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what Catalonia used to be

So Catalonia used to be a walled city with its own harbor. There were a lot of wars with its neighboring city states so along with agricultural artifacts there were also examples of weapons of war.

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Ballista!


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Knight

How awesome was it that I got to see an actual ballista? Plus they had some examples of knights on horses and wow their horses are huge! There was also some armor that you could put on but it smelled stinky so I decided to pass. I didn't hesitate though to take my picture with the mirror.

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Selfie!

My day wasn't done yet but I think this post is a bit too long already. I'll continue this with a Part II.

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