Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Barcelona, Friday

7:00 AM: Leaving the apartment with our bags packed and ready to experience Spain...also to get away from the chilly Rome weather.

7:30: On the train that will take us to Fuimicino, the main airport in Rome.

7:56: Ooops...we were anxious and got off a stop too early.

8:30: Finally at the airport, at the right terminal, in line waiting to check in.

8:50: Checked in, heading through security. There are a lot of people at the airport today and a lot of them headed to Barcelona like us for Carnival weekend. It's a big celebration kind of like Halloween and a State Fair rolled together.

9:30: Our plane leaves in ten minutes but there is no one at the gate and the screen says the next flight is headed to Paris. Momentary panic until we hear something about Barcelona on the intercom and then "B3." We are at B7, like our tickets say. Apparently they changed gates within that half hour. We run.

9:40: On the plane, ready to go. I'm in a row all by myself and I use this to my advantage by sleeping the entire 1.5 hours.

11:30: Mini culture shock stepping out of the airport and into Barcelona. The air is clean and fresh, the sun is in the sky, the cars are all in their lanes and no one is honking...all the chaos of Italy is gone!

1:00: Found the hostel, Barcelona Mar. 32 Euro gets us two nights in children's bunk beds, bathrooms with lights on timers, maps and brochures, and breakfast. We cross our fingers that Spanish breakfast has more substance than Italian.

2:00: Walking down Las Ramblas, a main street and popular tourist stretch in Barcelona. There are street performers, human statues, t-shirt stands, artists and lots of people in all shapes and sizes meandering up and down. Finally we find a restaurant and fill ourselves with a few tapas and food.

3:45: More walking and we find the best market we have seen so far. It is clean and fresh and has anything you could ever want from a market: meat, fish (fresh from the Mediterranean), eggs, fruit, vegetables, chocolate, nuts, dried fruit, candy, spices, smoothies, cheese...this place has it all. We vow to return the next day for lunch.

4:00-7:00: Sightseeing by walking all around. We walk down by the port and the boardwalk, take plenty of pictures of all the different architecture, and soak in the culture of the streets. Barcelona is a lot younger than Rome, and way more diverse, so we don't stick out nearly as much here. The architecture is decidedly different than Rome as well, except in the parts that actually are Roman...because the Roman Empire once covered the entirety of Spain so of course the inner city is laid out like Rome (confusing, winding, cramped streets)...but as we travel out further we are reminded that streets can be straight and orderly.

7:00: Tiredness takes us back to the hostel where we meet our roommates for the weekend. Our room has six beds total so we are joined by two grad students from Germany, here for a class. The four of us decide to just rest for awhile and then maybe head out later...and then we proceed to sleep until 8 the next morning.

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