If you can’t beat them, join them!

And so today we wandered La Ramblas with all the other tourists!

I loved the flowers – roses, orchids etc and herbs as well. We were surprised to see a couple of Australian native plants. Can you spot them?

Many people wander the streets trying to sell items to tourists but they don’t appear to have much success. You see a variety of people dressed as characters and posing for photos with the crowd, hoping for donations and these seem to be more successful. Standing still all day in the costume and war paint must be difficult.

There were two demonstrations in the street. One around the statue of Columbus appeared to be part of the feminist movement and the other was something to do with Russia. Not being able to read Spanish particularly well, we weren’t really sure.

Here we are doing the ultimate tourist activity – lunching in La Ramblas with a huge glass of sangria and watching the passing parade.

Our last full day in Europe! We’ve had a wonderful time and we feel very lucky to have been here. Will we return? If so, when will that be? Who knows? But we have loved being here.

Tomorrow we begin that long flight home.

La Rambla overrun with tourists

I can see why the people of Barcelona are protesting about the number of tourists taking over their city. This morning about 8am we went to La Boqueria, the market thinking we’d have breakfast there. We noticed some locals obviously having their Saturday morning breakfast before they did their shopping but honestly we could hardly move for tourists. We gave up and went back out to the street to find a cafe.

I’m glad we came here in 2014 for a week and thoroughly enjoyed the city. Now I feel that we are just adding to the problem by being two more tourists. There is an interesting article in The Australian this weekend about the plight of places that can’t cope with the number of visitors; especially those that come for a day and don’t spend any money – as those of us on cruise ships are won’t to do. Five percent of the world’s jobs are in tourism though, so it’s a bit of a dilemma. Tourism creates jobs but tourists create problems. Venice is certainly a case in point.

Anyway, after breakfast we hopped on the Hop-on Hop-off bus and did a two hour tour of the city. We were surprised to see that the Marina is still in port. It’s sunny today but quite cool and we needed our coats. The Sagrada Familia is still not finished. Barcelona has five kilometres of lovely sandy beaches, all easily accessible by tram and bus. The people were out early today soaking up the sunshine.

Here’s a view of the city from up high at the Jardins del Doctor Pia:

I was on the wrong side of the bus to get a good photo of the people on the beaches. This is the best I could do:

And here is the Sagrada Familia: It’s much to elaborate for my tastes but I can appreciate the amount of work in it.

When we were in Lima, Peru in 2010 we were amazed at the enclosed wooden balconies which many buildings have. They can do this because the climate there is so dry and the timber doesn’t rot. The average annual rainfall is 16mm per year – that’s right 1.6cm.

Today we saw a balcony which reminded us of Lima. Barcelona’s average rainfall is 64cm.

Tonight we are on a quest to find a restaurant where the locals eat. Wish us luck!