Seeing as I'm still in France this doesn't really count as day one in Barcelona. I'm currently writing this at 10:00pm, stuck in Montpellier, during a two hour delay because someone decided to jump on the tracks ahead. Bearing in mind the fact that the train from Cannes was delayed twenty minutes before we even got on it and then that train itself was delayed for another hour and a half because it was that hot outside that the ground set on fire when we got to Argeles. I hate France. The journey was already set to be ten hours long and it doesn't look like we're getting to Barcelona any time tonight which is great.
Eventually, we were told that we were getting the train from Montpellier to Perpignan and then would be told what to do from there. In our carriage was a big group of travellers made up of two Canadians, an Australian, an American, a Turk and and two Austrians who got out four litres of vodka, a bottle of red wine and started playing party rock on one of their phones singing "party rockers on the train tonight". As you can imagine, I was ready to start walking to Barca instead of sitting with them.
It turns out it was one of the funniest three hours of the trip, mostly spent laughing with the American guy called Jerry at the Austrian sat next to me who was obsessed with The Game and an Austrian rapper called Nasa. Nasa is apparently the "craziest guy in all Austria" and "drives big Mercedes around Vienna with the sun glasses and does like this" while looking side to side, and cycling through the same three songs on his phone; Sean Paul's Temperature, Party Rock, to which he sung "party rockers on the train tonight" every time, and some Pitbull s***e. In between those songs we had a bit of a rap hour where he tried to rap the words to Mobb Deep's Shook Ones using the lyrics that'd he'd translated and typed onto his phone and then, of
course, played through The Game's greatest hits. He also taught me how to dance like you should in Austria; "with arrogance", which involved a lot of shoulder popping and brushing. Heebie Jeebies won't know what's coming. Oh and he also really likes Avril Lavigne apparently and showed us a sample of some German rap and Russian music ("Russia, Russia music, ya"). He then offered us Vodka insistently saying that we could "be like this" (danced to Sean Paul while brushing his shoulders) or we could be what people in Austria who don't drink are nicknamed; "f***ers". It was a tough decision really but we had a drink and he was happy.
We got to Perpignan at about 12:00am and got a coach to Barcelona said to arrive at 2:00am. Of course, the Austrian party rockers were on board and happy singing "party rockers on the bus tonight" until one of them realised he'd put his vodka in his bag below and tried to ask the driver who didn't speak any English, in English, if we could stop to get the vodka. He was left disappointed. The party bus lasted all of about ten minutes seeing as they'd gone through four litres of vodka and it we'd been travelling for fourteen hours by this point.
Finally, after fifteen hours, we got to Barcelona and managed to get a cab to our hostel. It was appalling.
Yeah, the hostel was absolutely grim. It was basically a shared apartment with five rooms, the other rooms seem to just have permanent residents seeing as they looked at me as if to say "why the f*** are you here". The "bedroom" was a room that was big enough to fit a double bunk-bed type thing that looked
like something out of Step Brothers, it wasn't clean and there was sand everywhere. I probably could have delt with it if I was with all the lads if they had booked the other rooms but they aren't here and haven't booked the other rooms and it's getting to the end of the trip now, I'm knackered and I just want somewhere nice to sleep.
We left the crap apartment thing early to have a look around at the port and had a walk down Las Rambla and the market just off it. We then spent the remainder of the day looking for cheap hotels in a bid for freedom from the sweaty, grim, horrible box room/cell. We had to pay for the cancellation of the room but by this point I was ready to give up with life and just wanted to sleep. Tripadvisor, hotelbookers and every other website that has that hell hole on will get a long and terrible review as soon as I can be arsed.
We eventually sorted everything out and moved from the shed to what felt like the Ritz in comparison. It has air-con and an ensuite and everything, I'm perfectly content and I'm glad we've moved despite calling in a loan (sorry mum). Funnily enough the nice lady in the new place gave us directions on a map to all the sites and explicitly told us not to go to the area where we'd stayed last night when it gets dark, great.
Well it was an experience, an expensive experience, but an experience all the same. One that I don't plan to repeat ever again. Character building init.
To forget about the day's events we went out and had shwarma for tea by a small square that was packed with mostly locals with people playing guitar and stuff which was nice and then stopped at a bar near our hotel before heading back.
After the rigmarole of yesterday's activities we had a nice sleep in, well, I did at least. We got some breakfast from the supermarket round the corner; more pastries and I found Golden Grahams. Best. Cereal. Ever. We ate our breakfast in a little park by the hotel and then walked down to Sagrada Família, Gaudí's cathedral that's still being built...over one hundred years after it started. Having seen my fair share of cathedrals...and my fair share of scaffolding around Europe by this point, I wasn't all that impressed just because of the fact that it's taken so long to build and that I'm a bit bored of tall pointy buildings now. I've read up on it and I suppose it didn't help that some Gaudí's plans for it were destroyed in the Spanish civil war but still, it's been over a hundred years and is apparently going to take another fifteen-twenty(ish) to finish so they're just dragging it out now really.
After seeing the scaffolding/cathedral we got the metro to the gothic quarter of the city and had a walk round there. After being told regularly by either the metro tannoy, the hotel lady or something else about being wary of pick-pockets I was on edge. However, seeing as I've been here two days and I still have all my stuff, I felt didn't need to walk round all day clutching my belongings. We eventually found our way back to Las Rambla which is the big market-type road leading down to the port. We had a look round the shops and got some lunch before heading back to the hotel around 4:00pm for a "disco nap" before going out again for tea and to see the magic fountain.
We got the metro down to the port and had seafood paella between us which was boss and then jumped the bus to the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc at around 10:00pm. The fountain was really cool and plays all music and stuff during the display. I was enjoying it until Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" came on and the majority of the crowd screeched along to it. It was painful. We spent a few hours there before heading back on the metro and catching the end of the Olympic ceremony after receiving updates that the queen was doing something that involved more than waving.
Today we decided against the beach partly because it's apparently rife with pick-pockets but mostly because Fiona's ginge and therefore can't really hack sitting in the sun.
We decided to have a look around the Olympic stadium instead which is by the magic fountain that we saw last night. First and foremost, it was hot. Like really hot. And there wasn't much shade to escape it really so we basically spent our time walking from one shaded bench to another, fitting in looking at the Olympic stadium briefly and walking through the "parks" that weren't actually parks because there was no grass anywhere. Eventually, we got fed up and got the metro into the main town and had another walk around there and to find somewhere with air-con. By this point it was around 6:00pm because we'd got out late as I refused to move out of bed. I think I'm ready to come home now.
After we got back and showered and sat with the air-con on the lowest setting for a bit, we went out to this tapas restaurant that Fiona went to last time she was here. It turned out to only be around the corner which compensated for the fact that we had to wait half an hour for a table because it was ridiculously busy. It was worth the wait though because the food was boss.
Afterward we went back down towards Las Rambla to look for a post box and to have a look around, there were no post boxes but we got smoothies and ice creams instead. Then, of all things it started to rain. In Barcelona. We started heading back anyway because we were pretty tired and we've got to check out early tomorrow.
Barcelona's been great but I'm looking forward to coming home now. Our flight's at around 9:30pm tomorrow which means waiting round all day after checking out. We're in Barcelona though so I'm sure there'll be something to do.