Kelly and I got up early and took the subway to the Montserrat train, which was about an hour out of the city. We had a bit of confusion on the “combined” ticket we had purchased back in town and which stop to get off, and what kind of ride we’d get up the last bit, but we eventually made our way up and down. I would like to be on top of the mountain when there are less people, as it was a bit crowded, but it was still beautiful. When we eventually made it back to town, I had to quickly rush off to the conference I’m here for! Kelly flies home in the morning while I need to stay in town and work a couple of days.
On the recommendation of my co-worker Larry, we booked a private tour through Runner Bean Tours. We ended up with the same tour guide he and his family had, Jessi, an ex-pat from Australia. She was fantastic and gave us a tremendous amount of history as we toured the old city concentrating on the Gothic the 1st half, and Gaudi the 2nd. Later in the day we were also able to meet our niece Jessi to hangout for a bit as well as have dinner. She’s in Bracelona this summer on a study-abroad opportunity.
We arrived on the red-eye (neither of us slept much if at all) and then at the hotel around 8:30 a.m. after an easy taxi ride. Unfortunately our room wasn’t ready, so instead of a nap, we headed out to breakfast and then over to the Picasso museum. After that we also walked in and around The Cathedral of Barcelona. We went back to the hotel around 12:30 but still no room, so we went back out. But now it was raining pretty hard, so we just grabbed a coffee/tea in a small shop to wait a bit longer. We finally got a call around 1:30 that the room was ready so we headed back over and got a couple of hours of sleep. Now we should be able to handle a 9 or 10 p.m. dinner like the locals! 🙂
After the nap we went out and had a snack, then explored the area on foot, before eating dinner at Los Caracoles, a place my boss Jon recommended…
We drove the hour plus from Flagstaff to the south rim Grand Canyon, which is similar to Zion in that it’s mostly a shuttle based park. Meaning it’s pretty crowded. We just explored the rim today, but if/when we come back, we’ll hike Bright Angel and/or Grandview, and rafting the river looks pretty amazing! And who knows, maybe even an R2R or R2R2R is in the future — just not at this time of year – way too hot!
We got back to Flagstaff around 8:30 and just had time to eat at Diablo Burgers, which we all agreed was pretty amazing! Granted, we were all very hungry, but I think it was outstanding and wouldn’t be opposed to going back today for lunch and/or dinner!
Today we left Sierra Vista, drove north a bit to Kartchner Caverns, then to Old Tuscon, and then the a friend of Grampy’s for dinner.
Kartchner Caverns was really impressive / maybe even moreso than Jewel Cave in SD which we did two years ago. No cameras were allowed, but I’ll grab one or two from the Internet to share below.
I thought “Old Tuscon” for lunch was just going to be an old part of town with shops and restaurants, but it turned out to be a Hollywood shooting growing, so there were acting and stunt man shows. The kids loved it! R2 surprised us all by volunteering at the stunt man show!
And we met there college/life-long friends of Grampy’s who then took us to their house for a wonderful evening of hospitality and food.
We crashed at a hotel late at night after a long day.