Published: June 16th 2012June 16th 2012
Arrival in Barcelona
We arrived 30 minutes early into Barcelona. The weather is beautiful a warm 68 degrees at 8:15 AM and sunny. The airport is very large and beautiful and somewhat crowded. We passed through passport control in a few minutes, not much security coming into Spain!
We headed to the baggage carousel, number 14, and waited for our luggage. And waited. And waited. It seems for awhile we were the victims of “lost baggage hell,” but fortunately as we were getting ready to give up out came our two bags and we headed off to carousel 16 to wait 30 minutes for Rick and Alla to arrive and get their luggage. They arrived from Newark right on time and their luggage was ready within 10 minutes. We headed out the door to meet the tour guide. That’s where things went a little haywire.
We looked here, there and back here and over there again for the Tour Guide. Normally they are right in front of you calling out TRAFALGAR…TRAFALGAR. But not today. We saw all the cruise tour guides and we saw all the local tour guides but not the guide from Trafalgar. Rick and I split up and went looking for the guide, with no success. We spent nearly 45 minutes to an hour looking for the guide and FINALLY we found him sitting on a bench looking at some papers.
Fortunately, Alla spotted the Trafalgar book in the guides lap, good eyes Alla, and we walked over to him to get on the bus.
After introductions he exclaimed “Oh I was looking for the Farina family all over. The bus just left. I called the tour guide, (he called him BOZO), and told him the Farina family was not here.”
“Not here! We were looking for you all over the place” I said not too politely. But I really did not want to waste 2 hours sitting at the airport.
Unfortunately there was no choice. We were tired, a little hot and hungry. So Rick said “Let’s eat and wait”
So we did. Cathy and I enjoyed a Jamone; which is a sandwich of fresh Iberia Ham and cheese. It was fresh and delicious. Rick and Alla shared a Jamone as well and Rick added a small pizza of ham and pineapple (with no sauce of course). So now it is 11:30 and in 15 minutes we can meet the bus and finally leave the airport and head to the city and our hotel and a shower!
We met our tour guide and indeed his name really is BOZO. Fortunately in Barcelona they speak Castilian, so the ‘Z’ is pronounced as ‘TH” so he name is pronounced as ‘BETHO’ not Bozo. Also Barcelona is pronounced as BARTHELONA.
Rick and Alla were too tired to leave the room after their showers. It seems like they had not slept for two straight days and they were bushed. Not the best way to start a vacation but unless they rested they would only get worse. Since this was a lazy day they would not miss much.
Cathy and I, though tired were a little more adventurous so we decided to explore the neighborhood around the hotel and so we went for a walk.
It turns out we are relatively far from city center and so are in a hilly neighborhood where it seems people with a few bucks live. The area is surrounded with pocket parks throughout very hilly terrain with turning narrow streets. The entire area is residential and is quite old but very well kept.
As we walked around we came to a notice which advised “not to pet the pigs or feed them garbage”. Pigs, really in the hills around Barcelona? Yes, it seems that although we are in the city we are surrounded by hills and wild zones. These wild zones apparently have wild boar which come out of the hills at night and raid the local garbage. They are dangerous and the notice advised us not to approach the pigs. Good to know, I am sure I will leave the pigs alone tonight!
As we walked around the corner and up and over some hills we happen to come across a little bar in the middle of the neighborhood.
The bar was called Barra de’Or. We think it means Golden Bar. It was essentially an open terraced driveway with three of four tables. Upstairs was a restaurant serving Tapas and other delights. Since it was 2 PM and we were hot, we decided to stop for a drink. So I went upstairs to order and was greeted by the owner who told me “not to worry, I will bring out another table for you”. That is just what he did.
There were two other tables occupied with locals. One of the tables was a group of 8 a few years younger than us. They seemed friendly, so I introduced myself, and asked if I could borrow their empty chair. The question resulted in some friendly chatter of the kind “where are you from, why are you here, are you enjoying Barcelona” etc. I noticed some of them had what looked like a very unusual drink. It was a light beer colored liquid in a tall beer glass. I enquired what it was and was told it was a mixture of beer and lemon aide. I was offered a taste. I did not think it was going to taste too good but I would never turn down a taste from new friends so I gave it a shot. It actually was refreshing. I was told it was called Claro (which means clear). I will have to try one for myself later during the trip.
I suggested a favorite drink of mine a BEER-RITA. I told them it was a mix of beer and margarita and was much like their Claro with a little more of a KICK. They never heard of such an idea. I told them it was a hit in the other Toledo, the one in Ohio. We all laughed and I left assured that they will indeed try it at home. If they like it and tell others I may have introduced a new drink to the Spaniards! Maybe I can get a royalty.
Cathy and I bid them adieu and settled at our table to enjoy some local Sangria, and few moments enjoying the scenery and the cool breeze. After lounging for half an hour I paid our bill (12 Euro or about 15 bucks) we continued our walk and soon returned to the hotel, exhausted.
We decided to take a nap and slept for 2 hours and awoke refreshed and prepared w=for what the evening will offer.