Hong Kong 3: For the LOVE of Avios! With Swiss and British Airways
A Free Tour of Barcelona
- Memo to Self: Stop looking at Booking Engines Late at Night
- Leaving Birmingham, Servisair Lounge, To Zürich with Swiss and OLT Express on LX425
- Zürich Night Stop – “Zürich Dayrooms”, Senator Lounge
- LX1952 Barcelona to Zurich
- A Free Tour of Barcelona (THIS SECTION)
- Back to El Prat, Lounge, BA0475 Barcelona – London
- British Airways T5 First Class Lounge
- BA027 London Heathrow – Hong Kong
- Holiday Inn Express Soho, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island
- One Time Exception: Macau with TurboJet
- GhettoIFE Special: Images of a Fragrant Harbour
- Lounging Around Hong Kong Airport
- BA026 Hong Kong to London Heathrow
- British Airways T5 First Class Lounge, BA484 London Heathrow – Barcelona El Prat
- Barcelona Switch, Lounge, LX1955 Barcelona – Zürich Airport
- Run like the wind, LX424 Zürich – Birmingham Airport, Homeward bound
- Avios? Oh Yes, Oh Yes, OH YEAH!
Since I’m not at Barcelona, I’d actually like to get out of the airport this time and explore….
One Time Exception: Barcelona! Barcelona! Oooohhh…
- Set 1 – http://www.photoblog.com/kevincm/2012/11/24/barcelona-free-tour-1.html
- Set 2 – http://www.photoblog.com/kevincm/2012/11/25/barcelona-free-tour-2.html
(Play the appropriate Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé song for added effect – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiB7Be0wNsg )
With an early arrival into Barcelona, and long layover, it was time to explore the city. However, I needed to get into the city first. And that seemly is a challenge at Barcelona airport – as the Swiss flight docks over in T1 – and the train station is at T2 – necessitating a bus transfer between terminals. Once you reach T2 (which is dark and dingy compared to T1), it’s up the escalator and across the long walkway (the travelators long removed) to the train station.
Joined up travel? Barcelona Airport has heard of the concept.
By the time I had hit town, I had wasted over an hour on travelling into town alone.
Still the train arrived soon enough, and begun heading into town, through Barcelona Sants to Passeig de Gràcia – where I needed to be. I walked towards town Place De Garcia and then to La Ramblas, and finally off a little side street – the TravelBar.
Now, Barcelona is one place where the concept of “Free Tours” has sprung up. The concept being where the tour guide isn’t paid and you pay for what you feel the tour was worth. Whilst there are plenty around, I did a quick read-up on Wikitravel, and looked at TravelBound’s tour which seemed to work best with the timings I had.
The tour took us deep into the Gothic and Roman parts of Barcelona, stopping off at various locations – Las Ramblas, El Call, the place of Santa Eulalia, Europe’s Oldest Synagogue, Plaza de Sant Felip Neri, Placa Nova, Barcelona Cathedral, bits of Roman ruins, Placa del Rei, Placa de San Jaume and a fair few other places. The guide was an Irish fellow, who had lived in the city for a few years, and had a good depth of the local area as opposed to some guides that are out there. The tour was carried out in English (even though there were a reasonable spread of visitors from other countries too).
But this is told better with pictures.
Through Las Ramblas
The place of Santa Eulalia
Europe’s Oldest Synagogue
Edge of the Roman City – note the bit of the Aquaduct left.
Placa del Rei
Placa de San Jaume – Home to the seats of local government.
Whilst it was a great tour, it was going a bit slower than I wanted it to, so sadly, I had to split towards the end of the tour. As a Tip, I dropped €10 in, as I had thought the tour was worth it – by a long way.
Splitting at speed, I headed back up Las Ramblas, and straight to Plaça Catalunya where an AeroExpress bus was waiting to go. Whilst I could had taken the train, with all the faffing around, there was going to be no chance of making my flight – especially if I wanted to check a bag.
Thankfully the Aeroport Express was that. Express, with a flat 30 minutes to the airport. For €5.75 – I wasn’t arguing. Whilst it was more expensive than the train, it removed the hassle of the train for a €1.85 extra. So this is a rare circumstance where I will recommend the bus over the train, which beats it on convenience and speed hands down.
Clearing Plaça Catalunya
Passing Plaça Espanya
It also gave me time to cool down and split my bags – allowing clothes and liquids to go into a different bag, and keeping the tech in my hand luggage. Whilst clothes don’t weigh a lot – it’s still a lesser weight to carry.