Wednesday 28 June 2006
Highlights: The Palace of the Popes (Avignon), bustling Las Ramas (Barcelona)
Travelling from Nice to Barcelona we stopped off at Avignon, France for a short period. Avignon was the home of the Popes during the 14th century after Rome become too risky. The Palace of the Popes is magnificent however it’s design shows that the Popes of that day were very worried about being attacked. Avignon also has a bridge dating from 1177 (Pont St Benezet) that is now only half standing after falling down about 8 times they decided to stop rebuilding.
The bus then entered Spain, the last new country on this particular leg of my world trip. You can quickly tell the difference from the rest of Europe, which is mostly the intense heat. Barcelona is my home for the next few days and the residents actually consider themselves not part of Spain but instead Catalan, you see slogans saying this everywhere.
Given I only got into town late (7.30 pm) I only had time to head down to the famous Las Rambas. Walking down this street I saw basically everything you can imagine, busters, hustlers, painters, pickpockets (they were targeting Americans tourist) and sex workers. The sex workers actually grab you and try to get you to follow them, very pushy women actually, it seems ‘no’ doesn’t mean ‘no’ to them.
I also walked past a McDonalds which does sell beer with the Big Mac so Pulp Fiction was right and I just had to order a Maccas meal and beer :). The hostel is actually very good but the air conditioning doesn’t work. It will be a long hot night.