August 30, 2015:
The flight was just over 90 minutes. After awhile, we were flying over Barcelona. We made a few turns before we landed. As we landed, I filmed the landing.
We had arrived on time. I got off and photographed the plane.
I went to the baggage claim to get my suitcase. It took several minutes for my suitcase to appear, but it eventually did.
I then left the baggage claim and headed over and took a taxi to my hotel which I had booked on hotwire.com. I checked in and went straight up to my room. I noticed that like the hotels I stayed at in Doncaster and Dublin last year, I had to put my room key in a slot for the lights to work. I soon called it a night.
I got up and got dressed. I went downstairs for breakfast. Breakfast was not included in the hotel and I ended up paying 14 Euros for breakfast which was pretty expensive. I went back up to my room and got my stuff together. I would be exploring Barcelona today.
I asked the staff at the lobby where I could get to the Metro. They gave me directions. It took a few minutes, but I soon found the Metro. Before I got there, I saw a bus with two articulation joints but I was unable to photograph it. I had trouble figuring out how to buy a day pass, but some people helped me figure it out. I then went to the Metro and photographed a train going the opposite way I was going.
My train soon came in and I filmed it pulling in. I noticed that on this line, there is a retracting step that allows people to board. It reminds me of the step on Peter Witt streetcars from Toronto. I rode the train one stop to Gomal and filmed it pulling out.
I was heading to Sants station because that is where I would be taking my train out tomorrow. The line I thought would be another subway line turned out to be a commuter rail line. However, my day pass worked for that line as well. I also photographed and filmed some trains passing before my train arrived.
My train arrived and I rode to Sants station. When we got there, I saw a bi level TGV in the station just like I rode last year. However, I was unable to photograph it.
I went upstairs and looked around. I bought lunch at a McDonald's in the station. I went around back and saw a carnival being set up. It wasn't open yet. I eventually got on the L5 metro line and rode to Verdaguer station and transferred to the L4 line and rode to Barceloneta station. I noticed the cars on the L4 line were older. The trains were all interconnected like the Toronto Rocket subway trains in Toronto.
I then walked to the beach. I spent the next few hours in and around the beach.
I eventually left the beach. I rode an articulated bus to the Llacuna station and caught a Metro train back to Verdaguer. I then took an R5 train back to Sants station. I photographed the train after I got off.
I looked around some more. I saw the carnival was open but I declined to go on any rides. I did buy a peanut butter crepe for dinner and it was really good! I boarded a train on the L3 line and rode two stops to the Espanya station and transferred to the S33 line and rode back to Europa Fira station; near where my hotel is. I then walked back to my hotel and made a detour to a nearby gas station and bought some milk. I returned to my hotel. I asked if there were any cheaper alternatives for breakfast tomorrow. There were none in the area that satisfied me.
I went back to my room and worked on this report some more. I packed and set the alarm on my phone for 7:00 am and called it a night.
August 31, 2015:
I got up and got dressed. I finished packing and checked out of the hotel. I took the Metro to Sants station though I had to change trains at Espanya and had to pay another fare. I photographed the trains there.
I then had breakfast at a cafe in the station. After breakfast, I looked around for a few minutes before I went to wait for my 9:40 am train. I had to put my bags through an X-ray machine which didn't take too long. I still had plenty of time.
Boarding began after 9:20 am. I was seated in an AVE high speed train operated by Renfe. My train was running combined with another train.
There was someone sitting in my assigned seat, but they told me I could sit in their seat. I now had a window seat on the left hand side of the train. From my seat, I saw another bi-level TGV train depart, but I was unable to film it due to the window glare.
I saw there were outlets by my seat. However, I learned they weren't working. The train departed on time.
The train travelled through a tunnel for a fair distance before coming out into daylight. At first, it was stuffy in the train, but the crew soon turned on the air.
There was a display showing the time and the train's speed as well as the next station. During the trip, the train reached a speed of 299 km per hour.
The train made stops at Camp Tarragona and Zaragoza-Delicias. A little while later, I went to the cafe car for lunch. I saw that someone had brought their cat on board. I took my lunch to my seat.
The train stopped at Cardoba. At Cardoba, the train was separated from the train in front. We soon departed Cardoba.
The train stopped at Puente Genil-Herrera. We were soon approaching Antequere-St. Ana station. This is where I would get off to change to Granada. The train arrived on time. I got off and photographed the train.
I then filmed the train departing. I went downstairs. Due to track work, I was being “bustituted” to Granada. My connecting train was scheduled around 5:00 pm. I saw there was a bus leaving in about 15 minutes. I asked if I could take it to Granada instead and was told I could. I would be getting to Granada over two hours sooner. I noticed the bus did not have a bathroom. The bus soon departed.
The bus wound its way through some hills. The ride was just over an hour. We were soon in Granada. From the bus, I saw what looked like a light rail line as well as some buses. We were soon at the station. I got off and photographed the bus.
I then took a taxi to where I would be staying until Sunday; an apartment my cousin Heather was renting through airbnb.com. (I would be staying until the Monday after and booked a room in a hotel for my last night in Granada). The apartment cost me $150 for six nights which is good all things considered.
I wasn't sure which apartment would be the one I'm staying at. Plus Heather didn't know I was over two hours early. I looked around and wandered into a store and used the Wi-Fi and sent Heather a message before I left the store. I wandered back to where the taxi dropped me off.
Eventually, Heather came out. She was a little surprised to see me this early. She took me to the apartment which was on the fourth floor and there was no elevator. The apartment was pretty big and I would have my own room. I got settled for awhile. I went online and worked on this report some more.
After awhile, I decided to go out for dinner. I looked around many places before I found somewhere. I took my dinner back to the apartment. After dinner, I worked on this report and continued to go online. I eventually called it a night.
September 1, 2015:
I got up and got dressed. I went to the store where I used the Wi-Fi the day before for breakfast. I returned to the apartment. My cousin Heather told me that there was a grocery store nearby so I decided to check it out before I headed out on transit.
I looked in the grocery store. Even though part had really good air conditioning, it didn't suit me. I then headed out to the bus stop.
The day before, I saw a route known as “LAC” which uses four axle articulated buses in a completely different livery from the regular buses in Granada. I determined that the LAC route was the Granada version on VIVA back home. At a LAC stop, I bought a ticket from a machine. When the next bus came, I photographed it.
I rode a few stops until we were running beside the tracks for the light rail. I got off the bus and photographed it.
I filmed the bus pulling away and photographed some more buses.
I made some observations on the tracks for the light rail and determined that the line wasn't finished yet. The line ended just before the train station and there were portions without overhead wire. Some stations were finished though and I took some photos.
I soon found a really good grocery store near the train station. I then wandered around the area and photographed a bus.
I then found myself on an overpass near the train station. Granada is a stub end station. However, I could see a train there. Not all trains to Granada were being bustituted. I photographed the train from the bridge.
I walked to the train station and photographed some buses in the lot.
I soon returned to the apartment and went online. A few hours later, I went out again. I was in search of the hotel I'd be staying at the following Sunday. I did not find it, but I photographed an articulated bus on the route U3.
After awhile, I returned to the grocery store and picked up a few items. I then caught a bus back to my apartment. As I walked by the future light rail line, I saw some abandoned rails next to it which I photographed.
I then caught a LAC bus back to the apartment. Before I got there, I photographed a cutaway bus.
I went up to the apartment and worked on this report some more. I met up with Heather who told me my sister and her boyfriend who was supposed to arrive at 6:30 was late due to their plane being an hour late. Heather went out to meet her parents (my uncle who I stayed at in London during my VIA rare mileage trip in late 2013).
My sister and her boyfriend arrived a little while later. I let them into the apartment and I eventually cooked myself a grilled cheese sandwich.
Heather returned and the four of us were talking. My sister and her boyfriend were going to try to go the Alhambra tomorrow; which is Granada's big tourist attraction. However, we had to get up early. I set my alarm and called it a night.
September 2, 2015:
I got up at 6:30 and had breakfast. I got dressed. We had to leave early for the Alhambra because only a limited number of tickets are sold per day. My sister and her boyfriend got up a little while later.
We headed out around 7:20 am. We walked to the Alhambra which was short walk, but it was up a VERY STEEP hill. I was out of breath part way up. I am not convinced to NEVER do the CN Tower stair climb!
We did make it to the top of the hill and lined up. When the ticket office opened up, we were all able to get tickets. While I was in line, I took a picture in case we were unable to get tickets.
We went to a little cafe. I bought a chocolate bar and a Pepsi. We then headed in. The Alhambra was built in the 1100's as a fort.
We first headed to the Palace. I took a few photos.
I then photographed the view from the Alhambra.
I took some more photos.
We then came across a reflecting pool. I photographed it.
I then took some more photos.
We were told not to touch the walls. However, there was a place where we could touch tiles. I photographed that exhibit.
This is actually the ceiling above the place you could touch.
I then photographed the restoration of the bathhouse roof at the Alhambra.
We then left the palace. I photographed various things I saw.
I photographed what used to be the dungeons.
I took some more pictures in what looked like the courtyard.
We then climbed up a tower to get a view of Granada from above.
We then climbed to the highest point of the Alhambra which was a bell tower. From there, I was able to see the train station. I photographed it and other things in the bell tower.
I then decided to leave. I stopped at a gift shop and bought a postcard of the Alhambra. It didn't depict the destruction of the Alhambra like the postcard I bought from the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
I then walked back to the apartment. On the way, I photographed a few more things at the Alhambra.
I soon got back to the apartment I went online for a little while. I decided to head out on the LAC bus in the opposite direction. I bought a ticket and boarded a bus. After three stops, the bus was laying over. I got off and photographed the bus.
I saw a helicopter on display in a nearby roundabout. I photographed it.
I then walked along the street. I could see what an entrance to a subway station that was under construction. It appears the new light rail line will be partially underground. Needless to say, I photographed it. I also looked for the hotel I would stay at Sunday, but I didn't find it.
I eventually caught a bus to near the train station. I then walked to the station and tried to change my ticket to Madrid the following Monday to an earlier departure. Unfortunately, the station employees did not speak English and I gave up, but resolved to try again some point later.
I then caught a LAC bus back to my apartment. I then had an idea where my hotel would be found which was close to the apartment. I eventually found it not too far from where I bought dinner at my first night in Granada. I then made my way back to the apartment. By now, my uncle Paul and my cousin Katie were here. My uncle Paul was spending one night at the apartment before he would go to a hotel while Katie would be spending the rest of the time at the apartment.
I showed Katie my photos of Freestyle at Cavallino Matto. She thought it was interesting. Like me, she found the sign advising people wait 50 minutes before going on again ridiculous
After awhile, we headed out to a nearby restaurant to meet Emma, Alberto, and others who would be at the wedding. We socialized for awhile. I eventually paid for my part of the dinner and walked back to the apartment. I went online and worked on this report some more. I eventually called it a night.
September 3, 2015:
I got up and had breakfast. I got dressed and went online for awhile. I used Google Translate to translate my request to the railway employees in an attempt to get on an earlier departure on Monday to Madrid.
I headed out and walked to the station. On the way, I photographed a mural.
I soon made it to the station. I was eventually able to get an answer from the station employees about changing my ticket. However, they said no. Despite this, I figured that on Monday, I could go to the station in the morning to try one more time. The worst that can happen is that they say no.
I walked to the LAC bus stop and boarded a bus. It turned out the stop I had gotten off the day before was the second last stop as after the bus left, we made one more stop before we headed back in the opposite direction. I got off and walked around. I also bought something to drink. I then went to the LAC stop after the one I got off and bought a ticket. When I was waiting for my bus, I saw a Burger King; the first one I had seen in Granada since I arrived. I decided to go there in the next few days.
I caught a bus back to the apartment and went online. By now, Katie's sister Ellen had arrived. The six of head headed to the restaurant we went to the night before to meet with Emma, Alberto, and others who would be at the wedding. Our Uncle Steve who lives on Vancouver Island out west was also in Spain for the wedding. I took a picture of the crowd.
My sister, her boyfriend, Katie, and Ellen decided to go to another restaurant for dinner. I opted to join them.
The other restaurant was nearby and we had a pretty good meal. After we paid, we went back to the first restaurant for a little while. I eventually walked back to the apartment where I worked on this report some more. I eventually called it a night.
Wedding Day's tomorrow. Click to read what happened on that day and the next few days: Wedding Day