Monday, June 20, 2011


We have loved the city of Barcelona. We've met lots of very fun people, and have gone to lots of very fun places. 

Someone told us before we got here that the city was so great because the public transportation was so easy. That made me happy because that also meant that the transportation would be cheap, and so upon our arrival, we bought a pass for 10 rides for 8,75 euros. Good deal! Only .70 euro for a ride!

Anyways, our first day, we wanted to visit the amazing La Sagrada Familia, so we asked a woman at the tourist info place to give us directions for the metro. She did, I wrote it on the map, and we headed that way. We got off the metro on the stop that we thought she told us, but we were in the middle of a neighborhood. We asked someone where to go, and she told us to walk down a road. 30 minutes later, we were in a tiny quickie shop in what looked like a very residential, somewhat rough neighborhood, trying to communicate with the men working there. 30 minutes later or maybe more, we were at the La Sagrada Familia by about 3 pm. That was our first experience with the easy public transportation.

We made it to the Parc Guell on a bus, which was a huge feat, and the park was amazing. Pictures to come.

That night we got home by about 9, and wanted dinner, so we got ready and decided that we would go to the beach area to eat a good Barcelona meal. We asked the hotel man how to get there, and he said, "It is an L, you go left, then you turn right on the first street and it leads you there." 

We thought that sounded easy enough. 20 minutes later, we saw water at a bay, but we couldn't find a beach or restaurants. We asked a big group of guys where the beach and a good restaurant was, and they laughed, and told us in very broken English to follow them. We followed about 20 feet behind them because they ignored us and didn't seem like they wanted to chat.

We found the beach and restaurants and stopped and the group of guys kept walking. Then a couple of them stopped when they didn't see us behind them, and they walked back and said, "No, no, this is not it. This is not good. It is up here. Follow us." And so we followed them. 

The rest of the group of 11 guys was already sitting down when we got to the outdoor restaurant, and they had already asked the waiter for 4 extra seats because we had to have reservations (first red flag). We thought it was very nice of them, and they were very prepared. We sat down and they started bringing us tons of food. Olives, bread, fried fruit of the sea, fried calamari, wine, sangria... Without us even asking (second red flag). We didn't eat at first because we thought that another person had ordered it, until we realized we were paying for this, and we ate every last bite because we knew that we wouldn't be able to afford to eat for a few days after this meal.

Anyways, when they poured the wine, they all toasted, "To Francisco!" And we wondered what was up with Francisco. Then one of them told us that this was his Bachelor party. 

We were like, "What! We shouldn't be crashing his party!" They assured us that it wasn't a problem, but we still felt bad. And so, for a couple of hours, the 4 of us girls ate at the very end of a table of 11 Italian men who were chanting songs about thinking long and hard about getting married before you do it. It was in Italian, but one guy translated it to us in broken English. We had many long, difficult conversations throughout dinner with the guys. I would usually just say "Bella" or "Bueno" (beautiful or good). 

Since I've been here, I've also really picked up on broken English. We have even started speaking it to each other when we are in the room! We talk much slower, without contractions, using our hands to describe things, and sometimes put an English accent on it.

Anyways, the Italians ended up being very nice guys (from what we understood) and they stopped ignoring us after we sat at their table, but it was just so random. When we were going home, one guy showed us how to get on the bus. Then he ended up riding the bus with us to show us which stop to get off of because I think that was easier than trying to explain it to us. Once we were off the bus, we knew where to walk. We got home pretty quickly, and were so glad for that.

The next day we went to the beach for the day, and we went a "shortcut" that ended up taking us about an hour to get there instead of 20 minutes. So we asked the same friend that we made who was from Barcelona who had helped us get home the night before, how to get home on the bus during the day. He showed us exactly which bus to get on and walked us to the bus stop. 

After about 45 minutes riding the bus, we started wondering why we were still on it since our stop was only about 2 miles away. We stay on the bus for another 45 minutes thinking that it would go back to where we recognized something. We had asked the driver, but he spoke Spanish. Long story short, a woman ended up translating to us that there were protestors all over the city so they would not be able to go close to our neighborhood, but we should get off immediately to get home. 

Some wandering, map studying, and 3 different metros later, we arrived home in less than 2 hours from the beach that was 2 miles away. 

I decided that the American woman who told us that Barcelona's transportation was "so easy," was probably from New York City. It's not that we were that dumb, it's just that we don't have that kind of thing in the South. That's what I keep telling myself.

So far, we have walked everywhere today, and we are taking a metro to dinner tonight, but we aren't going to risk getting lost on the way to the airport tomorrow. We decided that we will splurge on a taxi! 

I think my favorite thing about Barcelona so far has been the culture and the feel of it. It has a fun feel. It's beautiful and clean and everyone seems to be happy, helpful and friendly. My other favorite thing is their waffles drizzled with Nutella, with 2 scoops of gelato on it.

I would come back to this city again, and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone coming this way! 

And really, we have had fun on our long walks through neighborhoods in the suburbs of Barcelona. The public transportation isn't all bad. It has given us the chance to see where the people actually live. We would have never done that if we had been able to figure out how to get places!

Pictures are coming as soon as I download a few!

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