ByeBye Barcelona!

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August 31st 2009
Published: August 31st 2009
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Day two in Barcelona, our last full day together, started around 10 when we woke up after a hot, uncomfortable night’s sleep on a shitty mattress. The plan was to hit up Corte Inglés for a) shampoo and soap, since I had left my stuff at Inés’ mistakenly, and b) get an outlet converter since Chris had left mine in Valencia. Well I had conveniently forgotten it was Sunday, when all the shops are closed all day long. Perfect. Our dreams of a cheap lunch from the supermarket were also crushed. Alas, instead we decided to soak up some Barcelona culture at the local McDonalds where we knew we could at least get free WiFi with ordering something. I got a cup of coffee and a donut for 1 euro, which gave us 30 minutes. We checked our money situation, I updated about the day prior, and we were on our way. We were pleased that all of the people surrounding us were NOT American, but rather Spanish, German, British, and a mix of Asians.

The first plan for the day was to hit up the Barri Gòtic, the old part of the city. The surroundings were gorgeous -old stone buildings, narrow passageways, and the massive Esglesia Catedral de la Santa Creu in the middle of everything. Other highlights included the Palau de la Musica Catalana, the city’s famous concert hall, and a number of regional government structures. Chris bought himself a very nice ceramic pitcher for Sangria that he plans to use when hosting a night of Spanish tapas, the first of our international dinner nights for which I won’t be present. At least he’s carrying on the torch…I also picked up some shampoo and soap - phew.

We continued moving southward toward the port, ending up back on La Rambla, the city’s main pedestrian thoroughfare lined with street performers, shops, and even vendors of birds, rabbits, fish, and reptiles. At its end is the large Monumenta a Colom, the Columbus monument that greets travelers from the port as they enter the city. A 6 euro boat tour throughout the Barcelona Port caught our eye once we hit the water, so we thought we’d give it a go. It wasn’t historical or anything, but we did get nice views of the city, cruise ships, and Montjuic, the mountain to the west of the city.

After disembarking we

Under construction of course
hit up the shopping mall Mare Nostrum, which thankfully was open despite it being Sunday. For 6 euro I got not only a new pair of sandals (which I desperately needed), but also the outlet converter. Starving, we headed back toward the mainland and found a supermarket that was open. Today’s lunch included an assortment of cured meats - salchichón, chorizo, and jamón serrano, havarti cheese, raspberry yogurt, a loaf of bread, and some Heineken to enjoy with it. Little did we know the little park we chose to eat in was also home to some fun drug action! First we noticed a sketchy homeless-type sitting at a bench nearby lacing his cigarette with something. Next a prostitute-type came and joined him, and the man, presumably f*cked up, began to growl as if possessed by a demon. When we saw him drop a joint of some type, a sketchy looking teen came and joined the fun! Needless to say it was time exit the scene.

On our way back to the hostel we walked through the beautiful Parc de la Ciutadella which had native parrots flying all over the place, and also walked through Barcelona’s own Arc de Triomf. Back at the hostel we finally showered and freshened up before heading back into town, first stop being Gaudí’s Parc Güell, an intended garden city for Barcelona’s elite that was, of course, never finished. Included at this park is the world’s largest bench - how exciting! It took us a bit to find it after hopping on a bus and quasi-following a group of Portuguese, but luckily after wandering around above the city for a while we stumbled upon the unmistakable park. On our way back I stopped to change the time of my ticket to Andorra. I had misread Chris’ ticket beforehand and booked a ticket to leave for 5pm, which gives me more or less 7 hours alone after he leaves. No thanks. Luckily this was no problem, and I was all set for a 10:30 am bus ride from the Barcelona-Nord station.

Once showered and changed, it was about 8pm and time to go get a drink. I had noticed a nice looking place close to our hostel called Cullera de Boix, and as luck would have it they had a 3 euro special consisting of a tinto (glass of red wine) and two montaditos (small pieces of bread with delicious things upon them). I chose one with tortilla (Spanish omelet), queso fresco (a white cheese), croqueta (a croquette I was unsure of, but delicious), and then jamón. It certainly hit the spot. Next it was time to wander through the old town in search of someplace for dinner.

We finally settled on a fun little place around 9:30 or 10 and started with a bottle of wine. Our meal consisted of mejillones en escabeche (mussels in a delicious sauce I’m unsure of), patatas bravas (fried potatoes in mayo and a savory red sauce), champiñones con bacon (mushrooms with bacon), langostinos cocidos (langostines, which are in the lobster family, boiled), and of course bread. Everything was going wonderfully until Chris pulled a move that honestly I’m surprised hadn’t happened earlier in the trip. He dumped his entire glass of red wine on his shorts, and of course it was that evening he decided to wear his white ones. After laughing off the tragedy and enjoying the rest of our meal we headed back toward the hostel, first stopping at the store for a bottle of bleach. Once back Chris began the bleaching process and I
Heading back toward the PortHeading back toward the PortHeading back toward the Port

The tall thing is the Columbus monument
started to pack my things for the next day’s journey to Andorra…

Additional photos below
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31st August 2009

Parc Guell looks a little like Dr. Seuss' "Whoville" or the decor at Cheesecake Factory.
1st September 2009

What's up with the food?
Hi Jeff. I enjoyed reading your travel stories. It reminds me of the ones I wrote on my travels with your mom to Disneyland. I too had to write about every minute detail. I can't imagine eating anything that you ate throughout your trip except for the donut and coffee at McDonald's. As you might have guessed, I am not a big gourmet. Remind me to tell you about Mike's experience with Paella. It was quite amusing. Have a great year in 'Angora'. I'll keep reading about your adventures.

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