Oh, Barcelona // Barcelona, Spain
Oh Barcelona. I love this city. It’s huge, overwhelming, busy and wonderfully full of life. The first day was a story, and it wasn’t love at first sight. Meghan and I arrived in the afternoon after a knees-to-your-chest flight with Ryanair and took the metro to our little apartment in sight of the Sagrada Familia cathedral. After depositing our luggage we hit the streets; Meghan only had until the next morning in Spain and hadn’t even tried a Paella yet.
After some wandering we stopped at a little cafe to get Meghan a paella and me a guava smoothie.
I’m sorry, but you can’t compare to the Paellas that I had in Alcoy. Or Granada. Homemade is the best, hands down.
In one of Barcelona’s many parks.
These guys were hanging out practicing their moves with this long silk fabric in the tree. It was pretty sweet to watch.
Frozen Cappuccino. Caffeine was desperately needed at this point.
The Barcelona Cathedral.
At the mall in the harbor. Yes, we did go shopping. ;)
After walking our legs off (and my feet were about to fall off at this point, the sea urchin spines I stepped on were still deeply imbedded in my feet.) we headed back to our little apartment to regroup and recharge before heading out for the night. Meghan had seen an ad on Couch Surfing for a free flamenco concert so while she took a nap I looked up the location and got directions. It was a quick walk, a short metro ride and shouldn’t have taken very long. I soaked my feet in hot soapy water and tried to dig out a few more little spines to no avail. I slipped into my other sandals and a black dress and we headed out in search of this concert. We walked to the metro and patiently waited for our stop. Two stops before ours the driver (conductor? I don’t know. Person driving metro?) came running down the center aisle shouting in Spanish that the metro was now heading the opposite directions. Confused we jumped off at this stop and I hobbled up the stairs to a dimly lit square in middle-of-nowhere Barcelona. Out of my 3 maps none of them marked the street we were on, so we headed to a little cafe/bar across the street to ask for directions. The bartender helped clear things up a bit but had no idea where the center we were looking for was, he had never heard of it! We headed back underground to catch the metro and try to figure this mess out. It was now about 10:30, and the concert was already underway. We were both tired, and decided to find the nearest beach and restaurant just to sit down and unwind. As we rode the red line, packed full of sweaty people with no air conditioning (after this I avoided the red line at all costs.) I reviewed the directions google had given me…. In a little subscript to the metro stop was the stop we SHOULD have taken that I missed earlier. I was kicking myself the whole time and still feel bad about our little adventure spending half the night in a stuffy metro on our first night in Barcelona. Oh the stories from the newbie traveller! =}
Meghan and I finally found our beachside restaurant and chatted over a couple glasses of Sangria. The beachfront sure brought out another side of Barcelona. We saw backpackers trying to sleep on the beach underneath the light post. (really, only 50 meters down is the quieter, darker section of beach!) And although we missed the Flamenco show we got our own little show on the beach: some confident (or crazy?) swimmers decided to bare all and go skinny dipping right in front of where we were sitting. No, I really didn’t want to see your white butt. Our waiter at the restaurant wasted no time getting our order and bringing our bill to us, I think he wanted to go home. By the time we left the metro and day buses weren’t running, so we had adventure #2 hunting down a night bus. Needless to say day number one in Barcelona was a little rough. I went to bed with aching feet and a tired body, alarm set for early so I could have breakfast with Meghan before she headed back to Austria.
We got up early and I made some hearty cheese and veg omelets for breakfast. After Meghan left I went back to bed until 11, then stumbled around the apartment organizing myself and catching up on some emailing and blogging. A little later I headed out to find the closet pharmacy and get some help for my aching feet. I told the pharmacist what happened and she gave me a cream to help prevent infection. After cleaning my feet well and applying the cream I strapped my Chacos back on and hobbled my way down the stairs, map in hand, with some sights to see and a pedicure to be had!