Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fall Break Recap: Barcelona Day 1

Hello dear readers! I'm sorry it's taken me so long to finally share with you my fall break experiences. I was so exhausted after those 10 days of traveling, I needed to rest my mind a bit before reliving all the adventures! Since we traveled mostly at night, I was pretty sleep-deprived throughout the trip, but I'm all caught up and ready to chat. :)

So first up on our fall break agenda was Barcelona! My three friends Kaitlin, Kate, and Isabel, and I arrived in Barcelona at 6am! (Our flight left at 4am, so it was a really crazy night at the airport.) Sleepy and hungry, we took the metro to Isabel and Kaitlin's hostel, dropped our bags off, and ran into the closest bakery for coffee and sweets. And this is where I learned that if you order a Cafe Solo, you'll end up with only a shot of espresso. Well, at least I got a caffeine jolt!

Cande's apartment

While Kaitlin and Isabel napped, Kate and I headed off to our host, Cande's apartment. We found her through Couchsurfing, an amazing worldwide network of travelers who kindly open their homes to fellow travelers. Cande's apartment was pretty neat because she owned the entire floor, so each door lead to a different part of her home. So we had complete privacy in her kitchen/dining room on a comfy futon, with our own bathroom and even our own set of keys to come in and out as we please! We napped for a few hours as it started to rain, took showers, and then met up with Kaitlin and Isabel at a tapas restaurant nearby in the Gothic Quarter (where we lived!).

Paella and the a view of rainy Barcelona

This was the first time I had ever eaten tapas, and I have to admit, I was incredibly ignorant. I wasn't even sure of what tapas were, so when I ordered paella and only got a few bites of it in the pot, I was a bit upset. But Kaitlin explained that people usually order a lot of tapas (since they're so small) and share with a large group -- so now I know how it's done! By the end of lunch, my stomach was filled mostly with sangria. We sat for a bit and waited for the rain to stop -- it was really monsooning! -- but far too impatient, we trekked out to check out some museums.

Actually, thinking back, our first day was pretty difficult. It was raining so much, even under our umbrellas everything waist-down got soaked. The walk uphill was long and windy, but there were a few escalators to relieve us of the many steps up. We wondered if it was safe to ride escalators in the rain... hmm. When we finally made it to the Joan Miro museum, our boots and socks were uncomfortably damp, but we took our time looking at Miro's very abstract art before drying off in the museum cafe.

Left: Kaitlin and Isabel telling the rain to "kiss my butt!"
Right: Yours truly analyzing one of Miro's work

We all desperately needed to change clothes (especially socks!), so we headed back to our respective places and got ready for dinner. Kaitlin was only staying in Barcelona for a day before heading off to Lisbon, so we had our special dinner with her at Mussel, one of the amazing places my friend Amy, who made a whole Barcelona guide for us, recommended. One cup of their sangria con cava (sangria with champagne!) was enough to get us super drunk, it was that strong! Kate and I walked back to Cande's (since the metro closed after midnight on Thursdays) in a daze. Thank goodness she is an expert map navigator, because I am the worst at directions, just the worst.

Kaitlin on the left, and Kate enjoying our sangria con cava!

Kate and I got back to Cande's and talked to her until 2am about travel, boys, all sorts of things that three girls can think of. Finally, we knocked out from exhaustion and didn't even bother setting our alarms for the next morning, which to me, is probably the greatest luxury. We were planning on taking a bus to Southern France in two nights, but since we hadn't bought tickets yet, we could take our time getting to know Barcelona. We could tell it was only the beginning of a beautiful friendship. :)

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