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Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona
September 2nd 2009
Published: September 30th 2017
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Nespresso - a high-end coffee retailer that I found a bit bizarre. I don't take coffee all that seriously, so it's a bit strange to see a shop that looks suited more to selling suits and ties, than coffee machines and fancy little foil cups of fancy coffee grounds.
Geo: 41.3888, 2.15899

So after saying all that stuff last night about sleeping well in Spain, and having beautiful dreams here ... I had the crappiest sleep! The A/C was WAY too cold ... this was despite Bridget asking the worker last night to turn the temperature up a couple of degrees from the previous evening. It must have been freezing!

There was a third Seattle girl in the room; though Bridget and Katie are from Bellevue, they find it easier just to say they're from Seattle. Breakfast - good coffee, but that was about the extent of what was good. Cereal with UHT milk, and some pretty blah pre-packaged toasts. Kind of weird, actually! There were some little magdalenas (pre-packaged muffins) that were quite dry.

Emma came down and joined us - luckily, I was able to reassemble my jaw after last night, so was able to have a conversation with her. Though I ended up blubbering some crap about not knowing whether to take a picture of ask for her autograph last night. Smooth ... real smooth ... Anyway, it turns out she's actually from a small town near Perth, but has spent the past 18 months or so living
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I wonder how much George Clooney was paid to advertise this?
and working in London, like many Aussies do (seems almost like a rite of passage). Perhaps that's where she picked up the proper British accent, because I never would have guessed she was from Australia, from the way she spoke. Ooh ... proper British accent ...

The hostel is putting on a night walk up to Montjuic, and though I signed up for it, was waffling on whether or not to go. I casually inquired with Emma if she would be doing the walk this evening; when she said she was, my "maybe" on the walk became a definite "yes" 😊

Off to Passeig de Gracia - I didn't really have anything planned today, just to walk around here, maybe head over to Sagrada Familia, then stroll along La Rambla and over to the Gothic Quarter. I don't remember Barcelona being so hot the last time I was here, but it was later in September so that probably made a difference. I felt like passing out (sick in Barcelona ... why?!?!??!???), so chilled on a bench, and had some water and a granola bar. I continued wandering Passeig de Gracia, until I reached La Pedrera and the block of dischord -
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The granola bar helped me feel a bit better, but I was still feeling drained and desperate for food, shortly after .
Barcelona is all about Gaudi's works, and some of his most famous works are here.

Time to make a decision - I wanted to head over to Sagrada Familia to see the outside again, but wasn't sure if I was going to go in. My first time here, I vowed to return one day to see the finished product - back then, they were predicting another 35-40 years until completion, but now that's down to 25 years. Anyway, long story short - it was a moot point, because I was feeling so ill that I searched for a little park with a small bench to pass out on.

I figured if I could sleep for an hour or so, I'd have enough energy to carry out the original plan of Sagrada Familia, La Rambla, Gothic quarter ... but that wasn't to be, as a security guard told me I couldn't sleep on the bench, after only spending a few minutes there. Instead, the plan became going back to the hostel for a nap. Katie and Bridget had left this morning, and a German girl from a small town near Mannheim took one of their bunks. I gotta say, there are
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The block of dischord - on the right is Gaudi's Casa Battlo. Some say that it's an interpretation of Sant Jordi (St. George), Barcelona's patron saint, slaying a dragon. The bony-looking balconies are supposed to be the skeletons of the dragon's victims.
some cuties in this hostel!

Feeling a bit better after the nap, I headed back to La Boqueria to pick up some dinner - another little container of assorted fruit, a small basket of grape tomatoes, but nothing else. The cheese and serrano seemed quite expensive there, though it was undoubtedly of good quality. I instead grabbed those things from a grocery store, including some yogurt, juice, and bread. On the way back to the hostel, I think a bird crapped on me. Luckily, it was pretty dry and not gooey and runny like it normally is, so it didn't stick to my arm or backpack.

I took the food back to the hostel and had a nice little meal, having first carefully inspecting it ensure there were no stray bird droppings on any of it. The meal was made even better when Emma returned from her day of sightseeing - being a gentleman, of course I offered her some of my food. I did go pretty overboard with the groceries for a single meal, but was that because my eyes were bigger than my stomach, or because I had some hope deep down that perhaps a beautiful girl would
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Gaudi's La Pedrera.
happen to come by and share a meal with me? Who knows ...

The $1 worth of food she ate was a very small price to pay to get a bit more of her story - quite well-traveled like many Aussies, having recently visited India, Romania, and other parts of Europe. I'm not sure I quite have this right, but I think she went to London and finished up either her final year of her program there, or did an extra year of schooling in London. It sounded like it was a joint degree involving literature and cinema, as she writes screenplays.

She worked in London at the Victoria and Albert museum, and most recently worked as a receptionist at a bowling alley. I guess I just have a thing for cute brunette receptionists, of all kinds! I asked if this bowling alley had a 1950's-style vibe to it, as I was trying to ascertain where this really cute 1950's look she had came from. Turns out it wasn't the bowling alley, so the style was all her own.

Apparently many celebrities go to the bowling alley, but none that I would know of, since I have no familiarity with any of
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I ended up having another Catalan-style baguette at this place.
the UK celebrity scene. I have to say, when a girl has got a cute accent, the most bizarre things can sound sexy, like "The Mighty Boosh". I guess it's her favourite show from the UK, and I'll have to look it up when I get home, just to see if it's as sexy as it sounds when Emma says it.

We were quite late departing for the walk up to Montjuic, as we were waiting for some tardies. Marta was also quite concerned about any of us bringing passports (guess there are pickpocketers up there), and this delayed things further as some people had to put their passports away. The Greek garden looked really beautiful, but it was getting dark by the time we got there, and it was closing up before we could finish walking through it. It was quite a tiring walk as it was very humid and still quite warm, and me being sick didn't make things any more pleasant. Good thing I brought a huge bottle of water.

This girl from Portland noticed I was wearing Chaco sandals, and told me "I love meeting people who wear Chacos!" Apparently she likes meeting people who
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With corn, bell peppers, ham, and cheese, it was better than yesterday night's, but was still only ok. Pricey - 7 euros for what amounted to be a small snack. The drink not as sweet as the cute little bugger on the box would suggest.
wear Chacos, but not talking to them, because she had a bit of an attitude! As we continued walking up towards Montjuic, we saw a bus drive by and I joked "What? We could've taken a bus up here?", to which she tersely replied "That would defeat the purpose of a night walk."

Moments later, noticing the gondolas taking people further up Montjuic, I made another similar joke, to test her limits - "Again, that defeats the purpose of a night walk." She confirmed what I suspected - Portland girl defeats the purpose of sarcasm, of trying to make a joke, and of having a fun conversation. I think I'll burn my Chacos when I get home, because if that's the type of person wearing them would encourage to talk to me, I'd prefer never to speak to someone like that, ever again!

We paused for a break near the top, all hot and sweaty. I felt sorry for Katsiaryna and Emma, because Katsiaryna was wearing jeans and a long shirt, and Emma was wearing kind of a knitted shirt. I asked Emma how she was feeling, and she replied "A little bit hot!" I chuckled inside, thinking "No, you're more
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I was disappointed in this store because with a name like Bassols, I expected to see ...
than just a little bit hot ..."

Up at the top, Marta joked "Patrick, you are very lucky tonight, being the only guy with all these girls. Have you ever been in such a romantic spot with 10 girls?" I responded "I've never been in ANY spot with 10 girls!" Apparently the ratio at the hostel is usually close to 50/50, but for some strange reason, this week it's been more like 80/20 - perhaps it's an early birthday gift from the Heavens! And I really shouldn't complain about a 10:1 girl/guy ratio tonight, but truthfully, I would have preferred if the ratio was 1:1 this evening ...

Back to the hostel, where Marta bought us all a beer, and we broke off into smaller groups, and chatted and chilled. There was a group of three girls from the states that were starting a university semester in Europe, and were doing a bit of traveling beforehand. I think they were all barely 18, and you could tell this was their first real experience overseas and away from home. They were incredibly excited to be here, and they had that look of wonder in their eyes, not jaded in any way, and seeing
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... the lovely Spanish actress Claudia Bassols! She's actually originally from Barcelona.
and experiencing certain things in life for the first time. One of the girls picked up a frozen entree from the grocery store for dinner, and she looked so incredibly happy to be eating crappy stewed chickpeas! It was quite amusing.

Honestly, it's great to see how excited these girls were, and actually made me feel envious. Though I never want to meet any other Chaco wearers, I'll always look forward to meeting people like this, because it almost lets me go back in time and live vicariously through them, even if for only the duration of a short conversation. Makes me wish I was young again!



Additional photos below
Photos: 17, Displayed: 17


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Usually transferring between metro lines is easy, but one of the stations was closed for construction, so the transfer involved going above ground and walking for several blocks.
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La Boqueria
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Dinner - the fruit was BAD, with mushy pineapple that was close to being rotten. Mushy and soggy watermelon and honeydew, sour orange, horrid strawberry, and a blah piece of coconut. The dragon fruit was probably the only thing that was ok. It was a bit of a scam - the top layer looked great, but there was all kinds of sketchy fruit below. I guess I shouldn't have been so cheap - I walked around and saw similar sized portions with similar-quality fruit for 2.5 to 3 euros, but only paid 1.5 for mine. I bet you that the 2.5 to 3 euro buckets had good-quality fruit throughout, and not just on top! One of the workers, Pablo, commented that I was having a very traditional Spanish meal - as much as I slag Spanish food, their serrano is some pretty good ham. The bread was decent, though it had a somewhat tough and dry crust. It was a pretty simple, but quite good meal, especially with the yummy little tomatoes.
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Near the top of Montjuic. Sitting on the right side in the black dress is Portland Chaco girl - booooo!!!
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The right idea - someone grabbed a beer near the top.
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I think this was the Castell Montjuic.
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View of the port - you can see an Italian cruise ship. I think I sailed on that cruise line on a night ferry from Sardinia to Rome.
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Another shot of the Castell.


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