We had a rough start to our Barcelona trip…
Our flight was delayed and the abnormally loud noise coming from the airplane during take off was a little disconcerting. I made sure to read the emergency card from the seat pocket in front of me.
The taxi driver ripped us off by about $20; he claimed “no habla ingles” when it came time to pay the bill. How convenient.
The tapas restaurant recommended to us by the hotel charged us $10 PER scallop. I’m thinking there are some kick backs going on — send over the dumb Americans who can’t argue what the menu says (sorry Senora, my Spanish failed me) and we will give you 10%. They weren’t even that good.
On the upside, the trip did get better. Barcelona is beautiful and surprisingly clean (cleaner than Reading), considering their steep unemployment rates. No worries, I won’t get political on you. No one wants to talk about the Eurozone crisis or the fiscal cliff or global warming on this blog.
We started our Saturday off by finding a small bakery for breakfast. This, of course, came after a 10 minute debate and four menu checks; I really just wanted oatmeal, but I had to settle for white bread, ham and cheese. I know, I know… the poor girl traipsing all over Europe is complaining… But seriously, you don’t understand, it took me a week to get right (if you know what I mean) after France. No one wants that. On a side note, I’m convinced the only reason Europeans actually stay fairly slim is because they have to walk EVERYWHERE (because they definitely don’t eat healthy). Besides the fact that cars tend to just be a hassle in the city, have you seen how people drive here? Walking is safer.
After our meal we walked to La Sagrada Familia, but just as the tourist books had said, the line was unbearably long. We just weren’t motivated enough to get up early to beat the crowd. Our bad.
Instead of wasting half our day in line, we walked through the park next to the church; apparently it’s the place to be on Saturday mornings for anyone over 60. The old men were so cute, I just had to take some pictures. This first game looked like a combination of horseshoes and bowling, but they also had some mean games of bocce ball going on as well.
We wandered down to the water after that. Jay loves the ocean. Personally, I don’t like any bodies of water in which I can’t see the bottom. It’s partly a texture thing; I’ve never been fond of stepping on slimy things. It’s also a shark thing (for oceans anyway). I blame this (somewhat irrational) fear on a memory I have from visiting my great-grandparents in Florida. I was out on the beach playing at dusk and someone said, “Don’t go into the water, the sharks come out now.” That may not sound like such a bad thing to say, but it was terrifying for my four-year old self. This fear is constantly reinforced when I hear of people getting their arms bitten off, or worse, DYING from shark attacks. I don’t care what the chances are. Yes, I know lighting kills more people. But have you seen shark teeth?
Speaking of fish, we stumbled upon a very cool (but smelly) fish and fresh food market.
I should have taken a picture of all the fruit. That was my favorite — the mango was a-mazing! Once we had our fill we walked back to the hotel to take a load off and shower before dinner… turns out Barcelona is kind of big… and we got a little lost… and European maps suck (because there are no grid structures, just a lot of stupid round abouts).
That evening we were ready to leave for dinner at 6:30 in hopes that we could eat in an hour and then catch the fountain show. Plans had to be altered when we walked to the restuarant and realized nothing even opens before 7-8 o’clock because no one in Spain eats that early. Damn. I was hungry and the old guys were laughing at us. After a snack at the hotel bar we decided to reverse our plans, fountains then food. Even though Jay complained the whole way down to the fountains, and I had a headache, they were definitely one of the coolest things we saw in Barcelona. Our pictures will not do it justice, but the smaller fountains line the road leading up the big fountain at the end (you can see it’s pink in this photo). Behind the large fountain there are three different sets of stairs leading up to the art museum, a wonderfully old building that looks quite grand at the top of the hill.