Spain Spain SPAAAAIN!!!
I'm BACK on the road again after tearful farewell to my sister at Verona Airport. This part of my trip is where I fit in as much of Europe as I can before I settle down again in Italy in October. For any of you who haven't seen, check out my updated Itinerary on my blog homepage. I have put in every location and exact dates and the list is LONG!
So I hopped on board my flight to Barcelona to meet Elly on Thursday. We had agreed to meet at the Hostel as she was getting in on the train a few hours later. It felt good to be back on the road and making my way to new places. I have never been to Spain before and I was keen to experience all the food, and culture and surroundings- possibly even ease up on my gelato and pizza consumption after a month in Italy J
My favourite part of travelling really has been trying to get around new places! I just love it- it's such an adventure! So I had looked up the directions on how to get to the hostel from the airport using the train, which went from Terminal 2. Unfortunately, I had landed in Terminal 1 and it would take half an hour to reach the other! So I took the risk and hopped on an Aerobus I spotted, presuming it would HAVE to take me into Barcelona. After getting my bearings, catching a train and then a metro to the correct stop, 2 left turns and a right and I was into my new home for 5 days!
As this was my first proper hostel experience I was unsure what I was getting myself into… but I was really impressed! We were given 'watches' that were our electronic keys into the building, rooms and lockers- you just never know the type of people you will meet, including weird old Asian men (story for another time). When I got to my room and made my bed I still had a few solid hours before Elly would be arriving. Now for the making friends part.
When I went down to the lobby everyone looked like zombies! All glued to their various devises or slumped over the table. Little did I know that I too would become one of these zombies after a couple days of Spanish fun with hectic nights out and it being the only area where you could access the wireless! As you could tell I was a little concerned that my friend supplies were limited.
So I bailed and went upstairs and an hour later decided to have another crack. It was getting closer to 8.30-9.00 and people had started congregating there! I sat down and introduced myself to a couple of Aussies who were exclaiming at the amount they had paid for their bottle of red wine- 4 euro. As apposed to the usual one euro bottle. They had really splurged haha. I offered to go and purchase a white win option because me and another guy could hardly stand red- that's how I knew we could be friends' haha.
So I followed the directions to the small store across the road to purchase my 4.60 euro bottle of wine. Had to spend big to make a good impression on my new friends! The hostel had organised a group outing to the Magic Fountain and we had a short while before we were heading off. I asked the guy what I should do with my unfinished bottle! He said we should just take it with us and then went through the itinerary of the night- first stop the nearest shopping centre so that we could all get beers for our walk to the fountain! I found this hilarious that they had factored in an alcohol stop in our trip and that it was a priority!!!
So as we headed off I got talking to a couple of really friendly girls from Canada, Miranda and Alexa-Rae. Everyone had the friendliest vibe and it was so easy to meet people and introduce yourself. I explained to them that my friend was coming in later on and would hopefully be there when we got back! It turned out that the walk to the fountain wasn't quite around the corner and after finishing our second bottle of terribly urine tasting white wine we finally made it to the cool display of water aerobics! This main street had small fountains running the whole way along both sides of the street and led up to the main feature, this HUGE fountain with incredible lights and tricks and accompanied with matching music! The place was PACKED with tourists to see the show, and with good reason. It was a beautiful view of Barcelona by night and not something you can see everywhere.
After sitting back to enjoy the experience and view (a very fitting way to start my Barcelona visit) we all made our way back to the hostel to begin our night. When I got there Elly had arrived and was in the room ready for bed! It was extremely good to see a familiar face after having been gone from Perth for over a month. Probably the MORE exciting thing was that she had brought with her HUMMUS from the markets in Bastille in Paris! I couldn't BELIEVE it!!! Incredible. So while I filled her in on my night so far and she filled me in on her trip to get here and the weird guy who kept talking to her, we sat and ate the amazing Paris Hummus. Unfortunately Ellys trip here had been long and having only been in Europe for a few days she was still getting into the time zone so was off to bed and I was off to the pub.
Each night before hitting the planned club for the night we would all head out of the hostel at around 12 and go to a pub around the corner for some more pre-drinks. Here I met two awesome Australian guys James and Jamie (easy to remember). We immediately hit it off and they were extremely similar to my mates at home and it was really nice meeting such cruisy guys. Also good to have some reliable friends when heading out for my first night in Barcelona without my buddy! Gotta have your buddy set-up to make sure they will care whether or not you have been kidnapped!
We then headed off to the club of that night with all our new hostel buddies and I informed them of my friend waiting in the hostel that I couldn't wait to introduce to my new travelling buddies! Next morning we had to get up in time for breakfast 8-10. This was nearly IMPOSSIBLE!!! When the nightlife starts so late in Barcelona and well pretty much everywhere in Europe, it is hard to get up at what seems to be not that early! Especially compared with my standard 4.45 wake-ups I used to do for Barrets. By the end of it I had gotten into an extremely effective routine of waking up at 9.50 and heading down in my pyjamas, not really caring how awful I would surely be looking.
Breakfast consisted of all the essentials. Toast, cereal and coffee. All anyone would probably be able to stomach. I got right around the toast going back to my college ways of smashing back at least 6 pieces of toast as my entire meal. Breakfasts were also a good meeting point to test friendship from the night before- trying to remember names of all the new people I had met. Unfortunately Elly yet again was nowhere to be seen and people had started doubting that my 'friend' even existed! I assured them that our first night we would be keen as for sure and made plans to meet up that night for more drinks, with my friend in tow!
After a well deserved sleep in for the both of us we were planning to venture out to see some more of Barcelona by day. That night we were attending the Bon Iver concert and had to track down where to go to pick up tickets. This proved nearly impossible. There were tonnes of options to choose from and we tracked down a location close to the Las Ramblas. Which turned out to be a shopping centre much like Coles! Bit weird. There we asked them where we could pick them up from and they directed us to somewhere close the being of the EDGE of the map! Being new to the Barcelona metro system it gave us the chance to test our skills. We managed to get out to woop woop and to a Karrinyup style shopping complex. Here we got to the SAME shopping centre and asked the information people who directed us upstairs to another information person who surprisingly didn't speak any English and then vaguely pointed to a travel agent! Bit strange… FINALLY we had tracked down the location for our tickets!!! Only to be told that you could only pick them up 72 hours BEFORE the concert and that we had to pick them up at the venue that night. Nooooooooo. I was just stoked we actually ended up FINDING the place! After the extreme wild goose chase that, took us across the whole town I felt like we had seen a lot for that day and we went home for our disco nap to prepare us for our night ahead.
The Bon Iver concert was packed with people coming to see his amazing musical talent. His band consisted of 9 people- 2 drummers, 3 guitarists one of which played a violin, a trombone player, a sax player, a trumpet player- it was so cool! The sound was honestly amazing and I was extremely impressed even thought I hadn't heard much of his stuff. There is nothing quite like live music these days and this was no exception.
After the concert we planned to catch a taxi, which is super cheap. When we made our way out with the whole crowd we were approached by this guy talking in slow weird Spanish to us. I had the most confused look on my face and his mate came up exclaiming that we clearly didn't speak Spanish! I don't know how he managed to think that Elly and me looked liked locals but clearly our tans have just gotten THAT good! Turned out the guys were from Ireland and then they broke our in an Irish jig. Pretty cool guys who were keen to head to a pub nearby for a drink before taking our map and then cracking on to another group of girls. Pretty weird all round.
When we got back to the hostel, the existence of my other friend who was coming could finally be proven and not just some person I made up to make it seem like I wasn't a loner- which isn't a half bad plan for future use! We committed to making it out, with the promise of an epic club with 5 different floors and varying music. Unfortunately we were sadly disappointed as this maze of a club contained a main dance floor with techno music, an upstairs dance floor with techno music and cool lasers, a side room with much the same, a 'cloakroom' with a slightly different beat and a pop room- which I can assure you did not contain any classic pop that me and my new friend Samm could get on the floor and 'grind' to- his words not mine!!
We enjoyed trying to track down each room in hope of a suitable setting for our night out but eventually at 4 decided to head on home for the night while planning what WE would do with a 5-story club. One floor of COURSE designated to Karaoke and one with pure black beats to get jiggy on the dance floor haha. If only!
That completes half of my Spanish update for now- hopefully not too much for those of you to handle! I would LOVE some feedback, so keep the comments or messages coming.