Our plan for today was a day-trip to Barcelona. We have visited Barcelona before, for a long weekend in 2012, and so we knew that it isn't possible to see anything but a fraction of the city in just one day, but we thought it would be fun to revisit some of the sights that we enjoyed most last time we were there. It's an easy journey from Mataró on the suburban train and so our only challenge was finding some breakfast before we left. Breakfast in our hotel was too expensive (about €11) so we hadn't paid for it, thinking that it would be easy to get something to eat in one of the many cafes in the town. What we hadn't taken into consideration was that after the Sant Joan celebrations of the night before, Mataró was getting off to a relaxed start on Friday morning and as we walked along the main streets at 9am, almost all the cafes and restaurants were still closed! Eventually we did manage to find a little place that was open, and with some relief managed to get a coffee, croissant and cake to tide us over until lunchtime.
It was around 11am when we arrived in a baking hot Barcelona. Our first stop was the beautiful Plaça d'Espanya.
A wonderful series of fountains lead up from the main road to the beautiful building of the national museum of Catalan art, which is situated at the top of the hill.
My favourite fountain is this one. When we were in Barcelona before, one evening we witnessed an amazing display where the fountains were illuminated in different colours and the water danced in time with the music. This one was one of the prettiest.
The biggest fountain of all is like a huge waterfall which cascades down from the art gallery.
You can see just how big it is in comparison to me!
We reached the top of the hill and walked along a road for a while until we came to a viewpoint with a wonderful view back across Barcelona.
There were also some attractive gardens.
We climbed down the hill from here and were back in the centre of Barcelona.
In the distance we could just see the top of the Colombus monument.
We walked around the corner and found the sea...
...and then had a better view of the monument.
It was time for lunch by this point and so we spent a while walking around, trying not to get trapped by high tourist prices. We eventually found a place with a menu of the day for €12, which was a bit more expensive than what we had paid elsewhere but still seemed reasonable. The service wasn't quite as good as elsewhere either, but the food was delicious which made up for it
After lunch we had a few more sights we wanted to see before heading back to Mataró.
We saw the cathedral...
...and the imposing church of Santa Maria del Mar.
We had a stroll in the lovely Parc de la Ciutadella...
...before finding Barcelona's very own Arc de Triomf.
This was built in 1888 as an access gate for the Barcelona World Fair which took place in that year.
We'd had a lovely time in Barcelona but the heat was becoming really wearing, so we decided it was time to call it a day and head back to Mataró.
Tomorrow we will be saying goodbye to Spain and Catalonia as we cross the border into France for the second part of of our holiday