Part 12: Tibidabo and Castell D'Emporda


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The Trip

This was our last day in Barcelona and we had to be out of the hotel by 1200.  We loaded our junk into the rental car and then had a very white-knuckle drive through the crowded streets of Barcelona and up the hillside to the cathedral at Tibidabo on the mountain to the west of Barcelona.  After seeing Tibidabo, we descended the mountain and took the highway north to La Bisbal.  Along the way we stopped at a Basque restaurant for lunch before heading to our final destination for the day which was the Castell D'Emporda.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

Our final view of Plaza Catalunya.  Note all the scooters parked on the street.

This morning, like every morning, there were teams of city workers power washing the plaza to rid them of the pigeon droppings.

We wound our way through the narrow and crowded city streets to the path up the mountain to Tibidabo.  At the top, we found this nice hotel with an awesome view of the valley.

To the northwest we could see other cities in the distance.

To the east, we could see the harbor at Barcelona.

We could see the ships in the harbor as well as a big chunk of downtown.

Barcelona is a sprawling city and extends far to the north and south along the coast.

Through the trees we could see Sagrada Familia as well as the other major landmark which we referred to as "the suppository".

Only after I uploaded and inspected photos did I notice these odd structures.  I am guessing that they are a power plant.

This is a rather large panorama of the Barcelona coastline as seen from Tibidabo.  The image is about 56mb, so it will likely take awhile to load.  To see the full-size panorama, click on the image.  When the image loads, you can click on the image again to be able to zoom and pan within the full size image.  When done, use the "back" button in the browser to return to this page.

From the window of our hotel, we could see that there was a large church on Tibidabo.  It is bigger than it seemed.

We were somewhat pressed for time so we did not go inside, so we never got the full story on the cathedral.

The stonework seems new and the style is neo-gothic.

Oddly, right next to the cathedral is an amusement park with various rides.

Both Steve and I thought about the oddity of juxtaposing a church with merry go round.

To the north was another structure, but it did not appear to be associated with either the church or the amusement park.  We discovered that there were also private residences on Tibidabo.

To the south of the church is this huge communication tower that was built to support the Olympics held in Barcelona in 2009.

We left Tibidabo and drove north toward the French border to get to our hotel in La Bisbal.  Kathleen found a castle that we could stay in and it was nicer than I could have imagined.  We had the "tower room" and the photo above shows the view from our window looking to the northwest.  The snow-capped Pyrenees Mountains are in the distance. I found out the history of the place based on material provided by the hotel as follows:

The castle and grounds had been part of the Margarit family for more than 500 years.  "According to the legend, Duke Bernat Margarit of Emporda was called by Richard the Lionheart for the Third Crusade in 1180.  After the conquest of Akka, Bernat returned to Castell d'Emporda in 1191.  It was here where his "best friend", marquis Jaume Farrer, told him about his wife's affair.  At that time, there were two punishments for such acts:  being bricked with an air hole or bricked without an air hole.  Bernat chose the latter punishment for his wife's infidelity.  Years later, he found out that Jaume himself had been the one who had tried to seduce Beatrice, but that she had rejected him.  Bernat carved 'God Forgive Me' on a wall and died soon thereafter.  Farrer was locked in a barrel and thrown into the Aro river."

Below our window was the pool and terrace bar.

To the west was a small stream and more fields.

To the south we could see the castle's olive garden and the dining terrace. 

I had to re-park the car after checking in, so I took the camera.  This is the dining terrace.

On the east side is the entrance to the castle.

Very nice rustic stone work surrounds the glass entry way.

From the olive grove I could see a bit more of the facility.

Steve's room was the top window in the tower.  Ours was the next window down.  The room had arrow slots for shooting from upon high.

The novelty of the tower room was dimmed by the large number of narrow steps required to get there, particularly with the luggage.

From the terrace, we could see the fields and the pool areas.

The pool, deck and adjacent structures are new.

This is a U.S. Navy diving helmet.  I have no clue as to why it was at the pool.

The pool area had nice loungers, so we got some wine and sat for a few hours and waited for sunset.

The sunset was nice, but lacking structure.  Usually, some form of dust is needed for a really nice sunset and the winds had thankfully been calm.  Later we ate in the house restaurant called "Drac" and it was excellent.

Tibidabo was interesting, but the passage through the narrow, crowded streets filled with motor scooters and aggressive cab drivers was tense.  Once we got onto the motorway, the drive was normal.  Normal, that is, for a country where every sign is in 4 languages and every intersection is a rotary.

Both Steve and I have had annoying colds for the past week, so our plan was to chill for a day and catch up on some sleep.

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