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Paul Klein

Barcelona, by Russ Wagenaar

So this past weekend I was back on the AA 788 flight from ORD to BCN with the great flight crew that the previous purser from NRT to ORD had told me would be working this flight.  They did not disappoint.  Having snagged the last Business class seat at time of boarding was lucky for me, one time that Executive Platinum status actually had some weight behind it.   Uneventful and on time flight which departs rather late at 10:05pm, arriving BCN between 1:30pm and 2:00pm depending on the winds. 

On arrival I decided to take the train into the city rather than a taxi.  One way taxi cost is approximately €40 plus gratuity, one way rail is €4.10.  It was a bit of a schlep from the arrival terminal 1, to walk to the shuttle bus to terminal 2 (which took about 10 minutes drive) then hop on the train which takes about 30 minutes to get to the stop I chose which is Passeig de Gràcia.

It was such a beautiful afternoon so I walked up the street which is lined with Gaudi designed buildings, major upscale shops, some restaurants and a couple of hotels ( Mandarin Oriental is along here ).  After about 20 minutes I arrived at The Hotel Casa Fuster.

With 105 rooms all decorated in an easy modernist décor, the hotel sits at the base of the Passeig de Gràcia, a perfect stepping off point to enjoy a stroll down this wide busy thoroughfare in the city.  A member of Leading Hotels of the World, they do honor Virtuoso amenities of upgrade on arrival STA, breakfast dailiy, €50 F&B credit and a nice welcome amenity of local snack.

I stayed in a Deluxe king room with step-out balcony.  Very comfy bed, large soaking jacuzzi tub and separate walk-in shower and Chopard bath amenities.

 

I had a little bit of time before heading to dinner and then opera so I went up to the wonderful rooftop Mirador Blue Terrace offering beautiful views over the city and the length of the Passeig de Gràcia.

There is also a small (about 8 person) jaccuzi on the other side of this terrace but no pool.

After a wonderful seafood dinner at the classic restaurant Botafumeiro (approximate 10 minute walk from the Casa Fuster) it was off to the Gran Teatre del Liceu Opera House for the show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Located directly on the busy, crowded, noisy pedestrian only La Rambla, the interior of this beautiful classic European style opera house is a world away from the outdoors !

Traditional horseshoe design with 6 floors.  Opened in 1847 seating 4000 people.  In 1861 a disastrous fire destroyed the auditorium and stage which were rebuilt in a year, then again in 1994 another fire swept through the building and it was uncertain if it could be reopened.  Public funding however made it possible to rebuild the house to its current almost 2300 seating capacity and many original artifacts are now in place.  It reopened in 1999. 

Sunday morning I took a short stroll down the Passeig de Gràcia and then headed back to the airport …. on the train again, only because there was a somewhat major mini-marathon taking place late morning and a number of streets were closed and traffic was being rerouted all over the city.

No luck on the upgrade coming back but it was the same flight crew I was with flying over on Friday night and they were very accommodating, even in Economy!

 

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