Thursday, November 5, 2009
Beautiful, beautiful Barcelona...
So this past weekend (I know it's almost next weekend for you all but my week started yesterday), I made the long anticipated trek to Barcelona to meet up with Julia. I went to bed early Sunday nite, alarm set for 5am in order to catch a cab, bus, and plane (and another bus) into Barcelona. I fell asleep excited for the next morning to arrive, and I awoke... at 6am. Cursing my new Spanish cell phone alarm, I showered and left as quickly as possible. Thankfully the trip was free of hiccups and I arrived within plenty of time.
Upon my arrival, I tried to meet Julia at the airport. She arrived only 30 minutes after me, so I had a coffee, and upon her arrival we tried to coordinate a meeting spot through cell calls and texts. This process lasted a good 25 minutes.
Because we were not in the same airport.
I honestly did not know there were 2 airports in Barcelona, so while Julia was at Girona (and she even went so far as to ask me several times, "Are you sure you're at Girona?"), I was at... the other one. We finally realized this, and with the last remaining credits on our respective phones (thanks, Murphy's Law), set out to meet at the hotel.
The rest of the day was fantastic. Great paella and fantastic wine at a restaurant on the beach, recommended to me by one of the chefs at the restaurant who is from Barcelona. Saw the Sagrada Familia, took photos galore of fountains, carnicerias, ourselves, cruised La Rambla, Sangria on the terrace of a little plaza cafe... good stuff.
Next morning we woke up at and had first breakfast (tostada, croissant, cafe con leche) around 11, and second breakfast (bocadillos de tortilla and bocadillos de chorizo) around 12:30. Set off for the Parque Guell, which was by far my favorite spot in the city. Hiked up one side through the forest, arrived at the top to a breathtaking view of the city and the sea beyond (so similar to the view of SF from Twin peaks!). Then wound our way down through the park, seeing Gaudi's surreal architecture at every turn. It was like walking through a park drawn by Dr. Seuss. Stopped near the bottom at the big plaza where we got some dope ice cream and kicked it for a little while listening to 3 dudes on guitars; they were pretty rad, Julia even bought their CD. Then out of the park (past the dragon, of course) and to find some tapas, obviously: pan con tomate, albondigas, garlic mushrooms... and a cold beer (because it's always 5 o'clock in Spain).
That was the last stop of the whirlwind weekend; back to pick up our bags, and then metro to our stop. Julia went one way and I went the other... so tough to leave each other after such an amazing time together (like when you have summer camp withdrawal). She headed to the airport to stay at a hotel the night before her early flight the next day.
I... missed my flight.
Definitely miscalculated travel time from city center to terminal. I, for some reason, was under the impression that there was a train from the Catalunya metro stop that ran directly to the airport, like a shuttle. What the trip actually entailed was a train from Catalunya to another station, then a transfer to another type of train at that station, then a transfer to another platform at another station (and this train only ran once every 30-40 minutes), then a bus from the airport train station to the terminal, then a drop off all the way at one far end of the terminal. I arrived as my flight departed.
Even worse, I had to drop like 250 bones on a flight 90 minutes later! It was the last flight to Bilbao. UGH. Needless to say, as I made my way to my gate, I was pretty miserable. I plopped into my seat to wait for the flight to start boarding, realizing I may not even make it in time to catch the hour-long bus ride from Bilbao to San Sebastian. But just when I was about to really start feeling sorry for myself, I realized that there was no way I was going to allow a shitty end to punctuate my state of mind as I wrapped up the weekend. There was so much that was wonderful, I honestly just put all my energy into focusing on that, looked through pics on my camera, and by the time I boarded the plae, I was fine. Slept the entire flight, the entire bus ride, caught a cab from SanSe and made it home in one piece (albeit a piece that was $250 smaller).
This week has beein flying by; I am back with Sany, and I never thought I would actually feel welcomed back by berating and abuse from a boss, but... it's good to be back. I am pretty much at the halfway point of the trip, and I feel like I'm at cruising altitude. Probably gonna take it easy this weekend, maybe hit up the Guggenheim (when it's actually open this time) or maybe a day trip into Southern France (the town of Irun to be specific... I think) if the weather improves. It's rained here on and off for almost 2 weeks... yuck. Cross your fingers for me, yeah?
Btw, here's the link for pics if you're interested: