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Published: October 23rd 2007
The Barcellona Metro
Our second mode of transportation for the day.
Buenos Dias! We are in Spain! Barcelona to be more precise. We woke up this morning as the ship was pulling into the docks in Barcelona. And although the city is known for its architecture, food, history and food (did I already mention that?) - we decided that once again we would venture down our own path and leave the city. Gasp!
We hopped on a bus (more on the incredible rudeness of Europeans later), then a metro, then a train, then a tram (cremallera) and finally arrived at our destination - Montserrat! Montserrat is about an hour northwest of Barcelona in the Catalonian mountains. It is still used today as a Benedictine monk retreat.
We took the funicular up to the Sant Joan church which is high on the other side of the mountain. Such fresh air! You felt like you were on top of the world. Since most Europeans are heavy (and I mean HEAVY) smokers, they are not so much into the hiking and Gus and I had the mountains to ourselves. The views were endless and the mountains themselves have very interesting shapes. They aren't jagged like the limestone mountains we were used to seeing,
Our fourth mode of transportation of the day!
they were very soft at the top and heavily eroded. It was breezy and brisk up in the thin air and we LOVED it! It felt a little like Colorado, but the views are distinctly different. There are all these villages and cities that dot the landscape far below and some of them date back thousands of years.
As you hike in the mountains you find these structures, churches or dwellings built on the most impossible cliffsides. It boggles the mind to think they were built a thousand years ago with NO trains, NO trams, and NO funiculars! Gus hiked up ahead and found an ancient and eroded set of stairs. Man, those monks must have REALLY wanted to live here. No way would I volunteer to carry thousands of tons of stones up across these passes to build my house! The views are great - but come on - that seems like an awful lot of work. 😊
We hiked around for hours and our stomachs finally decided when we would have to return back down to the main square for lunch. Mmmmmmm....the Spanish sure know how to roast a piece of meat! I had half a
roast chicken with these roasted potatoes covered in some heavenly sauce made from tomatoes and herbs. The highlight of Gus's meal was the beer, or as he puts it "extremely alcoholic beer." After spending a month in Italy where they are not so much known for their beer skills, Gus was happy to find some fantastic Spanish beer. He was a very happy camper. That is until about an hour later when we were getting ready to board the train and he announces, "I gotta go." Fair enough...drinking water all day hiking compounded with a gigantic beer...yeah, that'll make you have to go. He finds the bathroom...out of order. Now, we can't go anywhere because our train is about to leave in 15 minutes and the plaza is far away and we've already validated our tickets for the train, so he can't go out and come back in. He starts to get that panicked look on his face and all I can do is laugh my ass off. He starts saying "Oh man, oh man!" And again, all I can do is laugh. I laugh so hard that I nearly fall over. I had to sit down and continue cracking
up. Now Gus is laughing because I am laughing, which is not helping his situation. I bring up the idea of peeing into a cup we salvaged from lunch. I mean, he's a guy, it's easy for them, right?!?!? At first, he resists, but seeing no other viable options, begins to think about it. I suggest he could duck into a corner, with me keeping watch, and take care o' business. And tick-tock, the train will be here any minute. Gus resigns that it is his one and only option. He ducks into a corner, takes a second to psyche himself up, starts to unzip when a FLOOD of people start coming down the previously vacant escalator - obviously - because the train is about to depart. I say "No go!" and he turns around and looks at me with renewed panic. He had finally talked himself into it, was ready to go and then I pull the plug at the last minute. Now that's just mean! The desperation on his face is hysterical! He sucks it up and says "I can't do it. Let's go." The train arrives about 2 minutes later and Gus has a VERY long tram,
Now Build This!
Can you IMAGINE schlepping the rocks around to build this?!?!
train, metro and bus ride back to the ship. But he made it. What a victory!
And THAT is the end of our Barcelona experience!
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