I Ate Black Paella in Barcelona
In Barcelona, I learned to spend money. Boy, did I learn to spend money. On food...on paella. Tyler and I managed to eat every paella in sight, as well as buy a lot of beers.
In Barcelona I also remembered that I can speak Spanish. Stepping off the plane in Girona (Thanks RyanAir, for dropping me off in an airport an hour away from Barcelona...) it became immediately necessary to gear up for something different. I needed my language skills to buy a 12 euro bus ticket to the city.
Arriving at my first hostel was incredible. First, it was probably about 90 degrees, and humid. I walked about 6 blocks and navigated two subway lines to get to downtown. But the hostel was in the middle of everything. From the roof you could see nearly everything of tourist importance. From inside, things were a bit chaotic. 6 floors of partying foreigners. In my room was a sterile mix of men and women, including an incredibly benign and hard to shake-off Kiwi named...Jamie...yes, that was it. To ask any questions at the front desk was impossible, because there were just so many people, so Tyler and I just took to walking. I embraced it because I knew I couldn't quite do the wandering-until-lost thing by myself as confidently. We saw the crazy street performers on La Rambla, bar crawled, went to a great underground museum, etc. etc. And of course we ate. We swapped hostels on the third night to a down-to-earth hostel/apartment in a residential neighborhood - still one of my best decisions on this trip.
We took the bus to Parque Guell. Do you ever have moments when you don't think about anything except how happy you are? That was Parque Guell. (Of course, this was after I waited to use a park bathroom for 20 minutes. It was in a cave.) From the top of the park you could see the entire city, and the Mediterranean. You could appreciate the uncreative city planning that made completely straight streets in all directions, cutting the city with knives like urban butter. This is the park that is famous for Gaudi's mosaic lizards. But better than the mosaic lizards was sitting on the stone sidewalk listening to a busker play guitar in a cave for over an hour. And that was when everything was just perfect.
My last day in Barcelona (I spent 5-6) I was on my own. This gave me an opportunity to catch up on my journal writing. It was a bit pathetic though, being as I tried to go to the beach,got to the beach, realized I couldn't leave my backpack on the sand, sat on the hot sand, knew I would get burnt, couldn't find shade, and eventually ended up eating crusty bread in a planter box (not on, in), which was under a tiny tree giving the only free shade I could find. Crazy tourist...
I took a night train to get out of Barcelona. I arrived at the station an hour and a half early, like for a flight but of course this was unnecessary. Here I gained the ability to sit for incredibly long periods of time doing absolutely nothing, including looking at the clock. Boarding the train was laughable. My backpack didn't fit through the aisles (I'm guessing obese people don't either) so I had to plow through, dragging on either side. The cabins weren't numbered well, so this created international chaos - to add to this, hardly anyone spoke the same language.
My room was me, an Australian, a Japanese, and an old Spanish woman. It was incredible. I felt like I was in a bad smelling movie. From my top bunk I could almost touch the other wall (across the other bunk). The Spanish woman liked me because I could speak Spanish and therefore was her only company (she spoke no English), so she gave me half her sandwich (which was delicious) and a nectarine, which I somehow lost.
** Yes, this was written in the same day as before. I'm catching up for three weeks of neglect.