Sunday, April 24, 2005

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain:
Nice trip from Valencia via ALSA Busline. Nice views of the mediterranean. Pretty country. Took the metro to Las Ramblas. I'm booked at "New Hostel" and on the internet it says "easy to stumble on, just follow the signs." Well there are no signs! The only signs you might see for this place are a bunch of backpackers wandering around muttering to themselves, "where the hell is this place!" So I find the address and duck in through the gate, but still no signs. I try to go back to the street to confirm the address, but the gate is locked! Uh Oh! Looks like I may be sleeping in this alley tonight. Fortunately, after much searching I find "new hostel" written in magic marker by one buzzer. Whew! So I climb 70 steps (I counted) to the hostel to be greated by a cheery Canadian named Jesse. Takes about an hour to check in because the computer is down, but I don't mind and just chill out and meet the other guests. Not quite what I expected with regard to the facilities, but the people are cool so it will do.First Day: Check out Las Ramblas. A large street, the main drag, with a wide median which houses all the vendors and street performers. Painted human statues, lots of tourists and you can even purchase your very own ferret, bird, rabbit, snake or just about any other pet you can think of from the numerous vendors. It's sunny and 70° so I head down the street towards the marina. Nice clear Medit. water and a sky tram for the eagles view. Small boats, big boats and even a wooden submarine? on view on the land. Continue along and arrive at a nice beach, small waves, clean 60° blue water, course sand and topless girls. Relax for a while and watch some sailboarders, a couple of kite surfers and one lone longboarder.That night Jesse takes a group of us (Andrew (sydney), Tracy&Heidi (Canada) and 2 German girls to a bar called "fairies woods". Cool decor, it looks and feels like you're in a forest with trees and waterfalls.Next day it's time to check out the Sagrada Familia and Park Guel both designed by Antoni Gaudi. Both, must sees! The Sagrada is like no other cathedral in the world. Awesome. It's just too bad it won't be done for another 30 years! Decorated with biblical scenes, snakes, lizards, and bunches of grapes and peaches atop the spires. The park Guel is equally intriging. Inlaid tile decorates the building/statues at the entrance and the benches. Hundreds of rock arches made of the smallest stones. Lots of stairs and a great view.Later on the street I ran into a girl from Friend's Hostel in Paris. Small world! 15 minutes later I run into 2 guys from the Hostel in Valencia. Very Small world!!!Friday 4/8/05 Went to the Picasso Museum. Very Cool! Again, reprints don't do the art justice. In person the colors are SO Vivid and alive. Really exceptional. The only problem was you couldn't take pics. Waiting to go out, hanging with Joel, Austin and Caroline and 8 Irish guys really partying it up. It's two of their birthdays. Off to the Travel Bar and then to the Sugar Bar. Funky cool place with red/pink mood lighting and good tunes. We Groove. On the way home Jesse turns us on to an insider munchies spot. It's late and the bakers are up making there croissants. You get a huge box of chocolate or creme filled croissants for $2 E. We were about 1/3 done with the box when a couple of guys fell about 30cents short. So we sold them our box and went right back for another.After saying goodnight to Heidi and Tracy me and Jesse chat it up with a couple of girls in Plaze Real. Actually, he does most of the talking since it's in Spanish, but it's still interesting to listen and watch, occasionally understanding what's being said. Shortly there after it's back to the hostel to stay up till 5 am chatting with Lisa, a cutie from Melbourne.Next day, Joel enlists me to go check out a Jazz show later that night. We get a crew together and pay a $5 cover which includes a drink. The band is Phat! Very tight. All of them: drummer/percussionist/Stand up Bass/pianist/Sax. Latin Jazz with cuban overtones. Really phenomenal, but over too quickly.Next Day: No more beds here so I'll have to go up the street to their sister hostel. During the day I checked out the hills which house the Olympic Venues. Nice vistas, Military Museum, Open air Olympic diving arena overlooking the city, a sports arena that looks like a spaceship, Botanical gardens, the Palace Nacional and a stadium that people are flooding into for a soccer match. Back to the hostel to grab my bag and say some goodbyes.At the other hostel I check in and meet a beautiful Romanian (Irina) who's getting her masters in Lille, France. I watch Lizetta's mom make flowers out of T.P. and cray paper. Later Irina tries to persuade me to go out, but I decline. There's always tomorrow and we both can already feel the connection. Next day spent flirting with Irina and making plans to take another group to the Sugar Bar. Jessie takes the first group there and I tell him to go ahead and I'll bring up the rear. This expression really entertained my foreign friends. So after a some more cards we get there and dance the night away. Later after we exit the bar and are chatting outside we get doused with water. Apparently we're keeping someone up! Time to go back. But stayed up till 6 am for some more flirting.Tuesday: Irina offers me some breakfast and we hit the streets. Stop a while for some Sangria and then play tour guide and show the girls the Arc d'Triomph and the Sagrada. On the way back we stop to people watch at Placa Catalyuna. Then dinner: a bottle of red and Seafood Paella for 2. This night we only stay up till 5 am. But then we both need to be up @ 7am to catch our transportation out of Barcelona. Short and Sweet.Off to the French Riviera.......Adios amigos.