So the last time I updated this was at the end of my first night in Barcelona. It is now the start of my 4th night. It has been quite a few interesting days. So on my first full day in Barcelona I had one goal and one goal only. I needed to get cash. I was down to 50€ and could not get my ATM card to work on any of the machines I was finding. So I headed out when I had to get up at 10 AM (Had to be out by ten to switch rooms.) in search of any ATM Machine that would take my card. So I headed out towards the main Placa de Catalunya figuring I would find something there. Along the way I heard some other Americans and I asked them if they knew of any ATMs that would work with our cards and they told me to head towards Las Rambles(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Rambla,_Barcelona). So I headed across Placa de Catalunya and on to Las Ramblas where there are supposedly tons of pick pockets. I couldn´t find any ATMs but I did find a Currency Exchange. Turns out I could have them take money against my credit card instead of hard cash. So that was a life saver, except for the fact that it was a 10% fee.
After that it turned into a wandering couple of hours going up and down Las Rambles in a slight drizzle soaking in Spain for the first time. After not eating anything for quite awhile and seeing something I recognized it was time to get some food. That thing I recognized was a McDonalds. It was the first time I had eaten in a McDonalds in probably 5 years. Needless to say I am happy that I had Pepto Bismol and Imodium in my day bag. As the rain started to fall slightly heavier I figured it would be a good time to head back to the hostel for the afternoon. Although on the way back the rain abated and I noticed a whole bunch of tourist buses.
So I decided to say hey fuck it, time to be a super tourist. That was probably the best idea of the first day. So I think it was 24€ for the one day ticket. The bus went around to all of the popular locations in the city. It consisted of 3 lines and 44 stops(http://www.barcelonabusturistic.cat/web/guest/rutes). It was cool because you could get on and off the stops and check everything out and there would be another bus coming by every 15 minutes that you could get back on. So the first place I stopped at was Parc Geul(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Park_G%C3%BCell). It offered amazing views of the city and had lots of intricate tile work on the couple of structures that were there. It seems like it would take absolutely forever to finish the tile work alone. Other than the tile work and the view the park actually seemed quite disheveled. The hike to the top was well worth it for the view though. Not may people went all the way to the top, preferring to stop halfway at one of the larger viewing points. Then it was back onto the bus to take it all in. At this point I was pretty tired and just trying to stay awake. After long travelling and little sleep sitting on the top of an double decker open air bus in 60 degree weather wasn’t as fun. But I switched lines and saw the rest of the city. It was interesting listening to everything that they had to say about the locations. There would be absolutely no way that I would have seen all of those locations without getting on that bus. So for a short stay, the tourism bus is a must have.
After the bus tour I hiked it back to the hostel and took my first siesta of the trip at about 7. So then it was up and at them to experience my first night out in Barcelona. I went downstairs to the hostel bar and ended up meeting up with a small group that I happened to spend quite a bit of time with on my trip. They were as follows John(British Accountant), Run´Key(British pro traveller), Brittney(American teaching english in Spain), and TohYung(Korean exchange student studying english in Britian). So after a couple of hours down in the basement bar it was finally time to head out to the bar at around 1:30 AM. So we headed out to this placed called RazzMaTazz(http://www.salarazzmatazz.com/) which was quite good fun. It was only about a 15 minute walk with like two turns so no one got lost and we all made it there and back. It was like 12€ to get in but that also got you a free drink(seems to be common here). Drinks were 8€ and it was good fun. Lots of people there but not packed at that time of night(morning). There was lots of awkward dancing between a group of people who just met and were not completely drunk.(Brief programming note, remembering all of this multiple days later kind of sucks, but I will attempt to soldier on.) So we ened up leaving the club at like 4 in the morning and made it home safe. I was welcomed to an unexpected situation, at 4:30 in the morning I was the first one back to our room, nuts.
So on my second full day of the city I had to wake up once again at 10 to switch rooms. Which was way more painful after only having about 5 hours of sleep. Needless to say I was exhausted. So I stored my gear in the locked room they offer and headed off to make something of the morning. I had decided that for the day I would try and find the Pablo Picasso museum and see what it is all about. First stop was a kebab shop that I noticed the night before on the walk home from the club which had just opened, or so I thought. The owner told me five more minutes, so I went off for a walk. This kebab shop was right near the Arc de Triomf(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arc_de_Triomf), so I took a stroll past that and down its long Boulevard. It was quite nice and very enjoyable. I made a small video update to my youtube channel but dont know if it actually was uploaded. Then it was back to the kebabs shop for some lunch. It was very comforting to see the owner spoke a little english and the menu was mostly just pictures. So after the kebab shop it was on to the Picasso museum. It was 12€ to get in and that included an audio guide. If it was not for the audio guide it would have been pointless for me. Not knowing much about art, or how to critique it so it was nice to have the guide to describe everything to me.
The museum was rather small and focused on the works that Picasso created while he was living in Barcelona and still connected to the city. So it was mostly student sketches and works from his “Blue” period. There were only 4 or so works of his abstract art that you would usually associate with Picasso so that was a little disappointing. After the Picasso museum it was back to the hostel to drop off my bag and then on to the George Payne Irish pub to catch the Liverpool Match. It was a nice comfort to have something that you are familiar with when in a foreign country. So it was a couple pints of Guinness and some football. Liverpool had another disappointing draw and look to have their worst season in recent memory. After that match it was back to the hostel for a siesta.
I was awoken by the noise from the large kitchen(which I am now sleeping next to). It was a good thing that I did wake up then though as the crew I mentioned previously was heading out to watch a fountain show and get some dinner. So we went to Placa de Espanya where there is a giant fountain that they had dancing with choreographed music and lights. It was about 15 minutes long and quite entertaining. So after that we headed for some food but we had to make a stop along the way. That stop was for a pair of street performers getting ready to do their show. There was a magician and then a Micheal Jackson impersonator. Turns out the magician started shaky but had a pretty good performance. One highlight was when he tucked a pair of handkerchiefs into a small boys pants and then later pulled them out to revel that a pair of underwear was tied in between them. Then Micheal came on and the first sign that something was arye was that he was asking for donations before he did the dance. So once he finally started his dance you could see why. He was complete shit and so was his moon walk.
So after that small detour we jumped on the Metro(rather nice) and headed back towards Placa de Catalunya to look for some food. We ended up at a place called TapaTapa. It was my first time at a tapas restraunt and it was rather nice. I had 4 dishes which consisted of some local sausages, some risotto, shrimp and some sort of fried cheese and ham fritter thing. I was brave trying the shrimp as usally its hit or miss with me and these were ok. If there was one more on the plate I would not have been able to eat it, but the amount they gave was good. All of the other food was great and the Sangria was equally delicious. We even ate at a time like regular Spainards. By the time we sat down to eat it was about 10pm and by the time we finished and got back it was around midnight. All in all a good time. Very glad I didnt sleep for five more minutes and miss it.
So after that it was back to the hostel for more boozing in the hostel bar basement which was then followed by an organized night out by the hostel staff to an Ar-gentian party at a bar. Turns out most of the male staff here are all from Argentina. The party was fun although the music wasn´t really for me. So that meant not much dancing. Until some older lady came up and it turns out she spoke english. So she introduced me to her younger friend who spoke no english and then it was interesting. I was speaking with the one who spoke English and then that lead to dancing with the one who spoke very little english. It was rather comical and the two of us kept laughing because all we could say was that we were good dancers and that I didn´t understand anything. After that it was time to leave the bar at 6 or so in the morning. The hostel staff had abandoned us to fight for ourselves so it was time to search for a taxi. Turns out we were super far away and that part of town was completely dead. It was kind of cool as four of us walked down the middle of a main street on a giant hill through the dead of night. It was absolutely quiet and not a taxi was too be seen. Took awhile but we found a taxi back to the hostel. At that point it was time to go for a late night snack. The desk staff informed us of a 24/7 sandwich shop which was nearby. It was super easy to order because they just had stacks of these french bread pizza like sandwiches. All you had to do was point at what you wanted. So after that little snack some plans were laid for what to do the next day and it was off to bed at about 7 am or so.
Holy crap this is long and I am getting really tired of writing it. I hope I actually read this thing at some point in the future or else it will have been a complete waste of time.
So the next day was Easter Sunday. Being that I am an atheist I could really care less about missing regular activities although it would have been nice to see the family as that doesn´t happen often. So we meet at noon to head out for the day. The plan was to go to the beach and just lounge around for the day. The crew was myself, Run´Key, and Joe(Finance guy from New York. Loves to party hard, University of Michigan Alumni) and a new guy from Brazil whose name is Danielle I think. We set off all rather tired but ready for a nice relaxing day. First order of business was to get some food as some of the party had been hitting the booze pretty hard the night before. So we ate at a nice outdoor cafe down the street from the Arc De Triomf. It was pleasant as all I had was an espresso. There was great people watching. After that we made our way down the boulevard again and towards the sea. After a brief detour we found our way to the beach. It was absolutely amazing. It was fully developed with services and restaurants all along the perimeter. There were people everywhere even though it was Easter Sunday. So we just lounged on the beach for a couple of hours having random conversation and observing the people and taking in the sun. I took my shirt off which of course meant that latter I realized it was a bad decision(Sunburn!!!!). There were people wandering all over the beach selling beers, cokes, empanyas and even massages. There was a group of about 15 different asian ladies selling the massages and they were super annoying. They would come by every 10 minutes and got to be rather annoying. Made you just want to scream at them to leave you alone. So on the way back to the hostel Joe recommended we go back a different way that had a series of street vendors. It was a great idea as the food we ate there was excellent. I got a crepe with cheese and bacon and loved it. It was only 4.50€ and was delicious. At the next stall I made a mistake in ordering and instead of getting like one peice of churro I got an entire bag of churro. It was delicious but there was no way I would be eating an entire bag. So then we walked back through the Gothic Village which had rather nice scenery.
That then lead to another well deserved siesta. Before my nap I met one of my new roomates named Allison. She is an American studying in Italy for the semester who was just in Barcelona for the holiday. So after my little nap it lead me to some good old internet time. And the writing of this insanely long blog post. It has literally taken me several hours to remember all of the things that we did and I think I may have even missed some stuff. So it is now midnight and there seems to be a good crowd building in the Kitchen/bar area. I do not know if I have the energy to go out tonight, but I now sleep next to the main party area so I may have no choice. And now I am going to attempt to post this and hope it all doesn´t get erased.
I have no clue what to do with the next two full days. I know what I will do on Wednesday. That is when I check out of the hostel, so I am going to sleep as long as possible, then have some espresso at a cafe and then lounge at Placa de Catalunya until I can check into the airport hotel. At which point I will commence to love having my own quiet room with a private shower and some tv to watch. Should be a good time.
Perhaps tomorrow I will try and go to the contemporary art museum. John said it was rather nice. After that I may go back to the Tapas place for lunch and then just lounge around all day. I do not know how many more nights of partying I have left in me.