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Unread 24 Jan 18, 11:28 AM  
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geoffa
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Hola! or Ohla! A Barcelona experience. Day 1

Hola! or Ohla! A Barcelona experience.

18/1/18 H10 is not a Harrow bus route!


As I write the weather here in the UK is grey, dull and wet. I wish I was back where I was last week.

As a late celebration for my birthday (which is early January) we had booked a BA holiday to Barcelona. I havent been there since 1967 (51 years ago) when I went to Sitges on a school trip and they took us on a day trip into the city. Somehow they also managed to get us to Montserrat. The motorway (AutoVia) wasnt built back then so how they got us there who knows?

My husband, Darrin, has never visited Barcelona although he has been to other parts of Spain. Truth to tell he was conceived 103 kilometres to the north in Tossa de Mar!

So at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday 18th January 2028 the alarm goes off. We are flying from Heathrow. Its 20 minutes for us on a good day. We have a taxi booked but this journey is some 40 minutes because believe it or not it is rush hour in London. We arrive at Terminal 3 at around 7:10a.m.



Its still dark as we drag our suitcases into the check in area. We are booked on BA Club and due to fly at 10:15a.m.



We are Fast Tracked through security belts and shoes off and then head to the BA Galleries Lounge. I have fruit and yoghurt and a couple of bacon rolls with brown sauce naturally!



Darrin had cereal and an egg and bacon McMuffin by combining two separate rolls. We know how to live.

The flight gets called and we are in row 2 D and F. Es seat is filled with a fixed tray.



The seats are black leather and there is nice room for my crazily long legs. There is no In Flight Entertainment on European fights. Still, its 1 hour 50 minutes. By the time you have flipped through the Duty Free magazine (there is no duty free in the EU !) and eaten your cold collation of meats and cheese you are there.



The view of the Pyrenees as we pass from France into Spain are breathtaking.



Now I must mention the crew. Some folk moan about BA staff. Well, we have never had any plane experience with them that we would remotely call bad. Karen was our crew member and she forced fed me wine. I was saying No more thanks but she just stood there until I gave in. We also shared some laughs. She was brilliant.

We touched down at Del Prat airport (What a terrific name). It only has two terminals but its land area is certainly bigger than Heathrow.



The bus from Terminal 1 to Terminal 2 for the railway takes a good twenty minutes. Then you have a ten minute hoof over a pedestrian bridge to get to the transport.

We have pre bought Hola! BCN tickets which cover rail, Metro, Bus and Tram rather like a London Transport Travelcard. These work out at about 9 a day so certainly cheaper than their UK equivalents. We have to scan the barcode on our receipt into a machine at the Metro but then head back up to the Rodalies train station.





Four stops and twenty minutes later we arrive at Passeig de Gracia. It brings us right out opposite Gaudi's Casa Batll:



More of that later.

Its a good 20 minute walk to our hotel, the H10 in the Plaza Urquinoana but we love getting our bearings. We will later discover than one stop on and we could have got the L1 Metro line straight to the front door of our hotel!
And what a hotel! It was sympathetically from a 19th century building into a modern exciting hotel.



The original doors of the building are inside the modern glass door entrance and have the most unusual door knockers:




The staff were exceptional welcoming, friendly and chatty when they had time. Two glasses of Cava were given to us at check in.



We decided to take an upgrade to a Superior room. These were at the rear of the hotel overlooking the various courtyards of the other buildings in our rectangle. It wasnt quite ready so we were given two more Cavas in the wonderful garden at the rear of the ground floor. It has those living walls and a wonderful old olive tree set down below the garden level.



The room consist of a football pitch sized bed and we have WiFi, TV etc. The is, unfortunately only one English speaking channel on the telly CNBC. BBC channels dont work! One strange thing though was that the wash basin is in the bedroom and not the toilet / shower area. We could live with that. We also had a private balcony with sofa and chairs and sun screening curtains. There was a Nespresso machine but they provided a kettle on request so we unpacked with two Earl Grey teas on the go.





On the hotel roof there is a bar, sun terrace and a plunge pool:



We decide to put our feet up for a while.

We had a dinner booking at the Ohla Hotel at 8p.m. which was a short walk down the Via Laetanna.

An alley runs off to the side of the hotel and there are various restaurants and shops so we go window shopping for ten minutes. In the window of the ceramic shop is this:



Whoever sculptured that knows West Highland Terriers even to the carrot tail. I wanted it so much but it was Euro 480 and it weighed some 12 kgs. No way could we get that back to the Uk. So Ive contented myself with the photo.

Back at the hotel we wanted to try their rooftop bar as it gives great views of the city. Darrin chose a Mojito but said it was more like a Caiprihinia. I went with a Margarita. The evening s slightly chilly after a day temperature of 18C but the heaters help to keep us cosy. Sunset was at 17:50 and its now around &;40p.m. so the city beneath us is a carpet of lights.



There is a flood lit building far away upon a hill.



We ask the barman was it is and he says its a kind of Disneyland called Tibidabo. When you look at photos of it, it certainly looks more religious than Cinderella Castle. Its an amusement park built in 1889 rides are very retro no white knuckle stuff here and if you seek a spiritual boost the castle is in fact the Temple de Sagrat Cor. Built in 1806 and renovated in 1902, it is a Neo-Gothic structure with a bronze statue of the Sacred Heart at the top. You can take a lift to the top of the church and check out the city at 575 meters above sea level.

Well, time to go to dinner. We are booked at 8:00p.m.The restaurant in the hotel here is the Caelis. (It means sculpture tool or chisel).





This one Michelin star has no more than about 30 places in the main restaurant and about another dozen at the chefs bar and thus is quite exclusive.




Our meal:
This restaurant is really into Amuse Bouches. We are offered bread souffl with tartar of squid and miso, Xavier Fraucas egg in its own nest and truffled sabayon, light potato waffle with tuna belly and soya crystals and bread with tomato and sardine.







Homemade bread and butter selection follows the butters are sage, tomato and olive.



We are both presented with a miso soup accompanied with Caviar, king crab and cauliflower emulsion.



Now we get to the mains!
Darrin chooses Trip around the prawns from Palams. Youll note the legs on the side. These have been deep fried and are perfectly edible!



I have surf and turf macaroni with lobster and artichoke.



Our wine choice which Darrin chooses from an ipad is an Allende 2001 white Rioja.



Desserts are a raspberry and passion fruit souffl in citrus jus for Darrin:



I have the "Ferrero "which I can only describe as an inside out Ferro Rocher with a sharp raspberry quenelle:



Coffee and petit fours follow one particular was an intense cherry flavour.



We stroll back to the H10 hotel and collapse into bed totally satiated.

===========================================

INDEX: https://DIBB.in/13036728
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Edited at 11:35 AM.
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Unread 24 Jan 18, 11:44 AM  
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letty
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ooh, looking forward to this! I was in Barcelona in November for the first time on a girls weekend. I absolutely loved it. We stayed in apartment 2 mins from Gaudi's Casa Batll

We had some lovely food but not as fabulous as I have just witnessed above.
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Unread 24 Jan 18, 11:55 AM  
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geoffa
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It's a great city with nice friendly people, superb restaurants - and fabulous tapas. We will certainly be back if only for 20C degrees in January!
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Unread 24 Jan 18, 11:58 AM  
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letty
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I would love to go back with my DH, can't beat a bit of sun in the winter. We had sunday lunch in the sun in November ,it was glorious
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Unread 24 Jan 18, 12:05 PM  
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Mr Tom Morrow
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Geoff. Been waiting for this!
Nice to get a break in January as if you are like me you find it a boring Month after the Xmas rush.

The BA cabin looks good. Never seen that system with the centre seat done as a table thing. I suppose thats so they can remove it and have it back as a seat.
Mmm, couldn't be doing those meats though. far too much fat for my liking. You know what my Wife is like and it would have been declined!
That was a good decision to get the travel pasport early. Nice financial saving on arrival and for the rest of your stay.
The Hotel. Very nice, your room looks lovely and I do like the rooftop with its views, loungers and pool. Very private as well.
So to your evening meal. What can you say! Outstanding variety of sihes that all pair so well. As usual I would go with Darrins choice - sorry!
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Unread 24 Jan 18, 12:41 PM  
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Gryff
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A fantastic day and some beautiful food which would suit us both
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Unread 24 Jan 18, 01:37 PM  
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DisneyDaffodil
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Thank you Geoff, I will be following this avidly. We are going to book our Barcelona trip on the weekend. I have short-listed a few hotels, just need to get the family together to decide which now 😊. An H10 is on our short-list too, not sure if it's the same one.

Interesting information about the travel pass, I will look into that. Is it a weekly ticket, as we are going for a week too?
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Unread 24 Jan 18, 01:49 PM  
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geoffa
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geoffa's Reviews
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Restaurant Reviews: 3

theDIBB Guidebook
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Guidebook Reviews: 1
They have several hotels in Barcelona. Another one was just diagonally across from ours on the Via Laietana.

With the BCN ticket you specify how many days you need it for.(Up to 5) We flogged ours to death and good that it includes the train from the airport.

Official site here:

tmb.cat/en/barcelona/far...-card-hola-bcn

They send you an email with a receipt bearing a barcode. All you need do is go to any Metro, scan the barcode and it prints out all your tickets. Note - you can't do this at a Rodalies station so at the airport you have to visit the Metro lobby before you go to the main train station. They are next to each other.
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Edited at 01:54 PM.
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