Well I’ve tried several times to upload photos and my computer simply won’t let me, so for now you will have to suffice without pictures. Just use your creativity, or better yet…google images, then you will feel like you traveled to Barcelona with me!
Being in Barcelona was really relaxing. Once again, getting out of the city can be a great break. Even better when you go someplace warm where you can wear shorts! When I got to Barcelona I felt my shoulders relax, I hadn’t even realized how much tension I had in my shoulders. I absolutely love Paris, but it can be tiring living here because I’m so hyper-conscious and aware all the time. Conscious of what I’m wearing, my speaking volume, my social etiquette, trying to pronounce everything correctly, consciously not smiling (that one is a toughie). However in Barcelona, I could say f-that! I wore whatever I damn well pleased (Barcelona is clearly not the fashion capitol like Paris, I think I saw more fashion uh-oh moments then I know what to do with). I could speak English freely, volume not being an issue. And better yet, I could laugh really loudly!
Even better? MORE RESTROOMS (or at least an improvement on Paris). Sweet petunia, my bladder was overjoyed, I can’t even tell you. Public restrooms EXIST. I think I almost shed a tear, I was so damn happy.
Wake up at 430 am. bleh.
Get to airport.
Am told my suitcase doesn’t meet the requirements and will have to pay to check it. say whaaa?!
Get on flight. fly. Get to Barcelona.
Besides that little suitcase snafu, we made it to Barcelona very easily and quickly, it still is mind blowing how traveling to another country can be so quick, traveling in Europe rocks. The metro was really simple to handle (they have like 8 lines I think and Paris’ metro is a lot more to handle I think). And then we make it to our hostel! Now this is the part where I’m sad that my photos aren’t uploading because this hostel was LEGIT. It didn’t even feel like a hostel, it was a cross between a mansion/hotel, but filled with college kids. There’s a movie room with all these bean bags and low tables to eat and chill. A huge bank of computers with free wifi. A ginormous kitchen with a fridge, freezer, microwave, oven, stove, every utensil you could need, dishware, spices, towels, and lots of space. And there were some long tables to chill, hang and eat. The rooms were SO CLEAN, we each had lockers, the bathrooms were really nice, and best part…the bed. I think I’m going to start traveling more often to continue to sleep in beds better than my lousy dorm bed. When my parents were here my mom tried to convince me that “it wasn’t that bad.” But she ended up sleeping on the couch in their rental apartment because her bed was “too hard” (I thought it was heavenly compared to mine). Clearly that princess doesn’t realize that she travels with a pea.
Before going to Barcelona, I had contacted a friend of mine, Sergi, who was an exchange student, studying at Santa Cruz, but from Barcelona. Ironically enough, we met in French class. We met up with him on Friday, after Diana and I had walked around where our hostel was; we were right down the street from the Sagrada Familia, which is this HUGE church being built from Gaudi’s sketches. I personally think it looks like a large sand castle, but to each his own. It really is large and is scheduled to be finished in 30 years. Can you imagine working on something for that long? Or seeing something built in your town take that long? I mean sheesh, to know you have to sleep next to a construction site for a guaranteed 30 years does not sound appealing to me whatsoever. Anyways, Sergi met up with us and we went to Parc Gruell (another one of Gaudi’s designs), the Picasso Museum, and saw more of the city in general. It was really helpful to see a city with someone who knows it. Also, since he works as a reporter and studies politics, he was able to explain to us a lot of Barcelona’s history and about Catalonia in general. For those of you who don’t know, Catalonia describes a region in Spain, where they speak Catalon, have a different government and have always had some conflict with Spain, they basically want to be their own country (much like Taiwan and China- I learned this from my roommate).
I don’t think I had realized that the people in Barcelona speak Catalon. Therefore I was screwed from the get go. I think I accidently/inadvertently used French a lot, my 3 years of Spanish (and having lived in CA for 14 some odd years) decided to evaporate from my brain. I couldn’t even remember how to say “I’m sorry” in case I bumped into people. And trying to read Catalon was like trying to decipher a code, I had NO IDEA how to pronounce anything. I also (rather stupidly) had thought that since Barcelona was a popular city, especially for tourists, there would be people who spoke english. WRONG. Here in Paris, they might pretend not to understand you, but they do. Pretty much everyone speaks english. However, this is not the case in Barcelona. We did a lot of finger pointing, broken french/spanish (Catalon has similar roots in the french language, so they could sometimes understand us), and a lot of hand motions. But on Friday night, we used something even better.
We decided that Friday night would be the night to go out to a Tapas place. Keep in mind that Barcelonians don’t eat until like 10 (Sergi said he usually doesn’t eat until 11- um excuse me, I need to be rem cycling at that time sir). So by the time we make it to the tapas place, I am very hungry, but staving off the hangriness for the time being. We look at the menu and again realize we have no clue what anything is or how to ask for it (at most places they have pictures on the tapas/regular menu, which is how we got lunch). THANKFULLY, the family who runs the tapas place spoke mandarin and wouldn’t ya know it- so does my roommate! So yes, we had tapas, in Barcelona, while speaking mandarin (my roommate, not me, I just sat there, salivated and pointed to everything I wanted to eat). And the food was soooo good! Yummy sausages, chorizo, anchovies, squid, olives, and some other numiness.
For the sake of you getting bored and the post dragging on too much (in reality we all know I could continue talking/writing/monologuing for several more pages), I’m going to break my trip into two posts.