02.01.2009 - 04.01.2009 45 °F
Wow! That was a really sucky flight! I mean, our seats were okay... the movies and food were great and the Air France attendants were very accommodating. All of our luggage made it and there were cute little kids instead of crying infants on the flight. It was my cold that made it very difficult. I lost and still haven't fully recovered hearing in one ear, my eyes were just weeping and I felt like my head would explode. I couldn't sleep. But we made it to Barcelona!
And what a city! I wish this computer on the ship had a memory card reader so I could upload some pics, but maybe later from Craig's laptop. Right now, I wanted to just get some words down to say hi to everyone... that we made it... and we're having a wonderful time.
Day 1 - We took a taxi from BCN to our flat in the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) on Calle Obradors off of Calle Escudellers. If I have to venture a guess, "calle" means "creepy dark alley." We were totally freaked out, especially Craig having heard all of the stories of pickpockets and other thieves. We made it without incident and Suzana, our contact, let us in and gave us the tour. The flat was adorable - just the right amount of space and division for us. Spanish tile, 2 floors, small stainless steel appliances. We slept. I woke around midnight, took some Tylenol PM, called Mom and passed out for another 8 hours to sleep off my cold and try to catch up with "future time."
Day 2 - Around 11, we ventured out to walk the Barri Gotic and take photos. I am in love with the Gothic Quarter's architecture, maddening mazes and little secrets to discover. It has all of the old world romance I envisioned Europe to be. Granted, there are very modern parts of Barcelona, but this was what I was hoping for. I had also started reading Twlight (thanks, Kate!) and so it just seemed so timely to read a vampire book while staying in BCN.
It was just 2 days before Ephiphany, so there are a lot of Christmas trees, decorations, nativity scenes and holiday music about. The street performers (always) on La Rambla are very talented in their costuming and posing. Well done for most of them. We ate lunch at Santa Anna- I had a Mediterranean plate and Craig had... hamburgers. lol. Yeah. We did get some sangria and a "spicy bomb" however. A spicy bomb is battered and deep fried mashed potatoes smothered in spicy peanut sauce. It was good for my cold. That and the local beer, Estrella Damm.
Later, we slept and woke around 10. I convinced Craig to go out to sample the nightlife - he was still worried about being robbed. We made it out to Schilling and O'Hara's (yeah, I know - an Irish pub in Barcelona? Why not?). We had some great mojitos, then Craig had a Magner's cider (yuck) and I had a John Smith's Extra Smooth (yum) and to be the cool Americans that we are, shared a Duff beer and went home. It was already 3 am!
Day 3 - The goal was to get out to La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's still unfinished cathedral in the northern part of the city. We walked and walked and enjoyed the Arc di Triomph, other architectural amazements. We rounded a corner and there it was - my jaw was on the pavement. I have never seen such a tremendous building. I'm not religious, but we took the audio tour and appreciate the inspiration. We then took a lift to the top of one of the spires and made our way back down via narrow spiral stairs, stopping at open air overlooks and bridges. My knees were shaking and all of my legs muscles were going to give out on me because I am afraid of heights... and we were far above the ground. It took us a half an hour to walk down, me singing my "happy place" song all the while. It was breathtaking and perfect. And my leg muscles still hurt.
We slept all evening and all night. We were still pretty jet lagged and getting ready to embark the next day.
I wish I could upload my photos. My words do Barcelona no justice.
And they have an energy drink called, "JESS!"