So I'm lying on my nice white sheets in the Russafa hostel chilling out waiting for the breeze to come and shift the heat. It's 7pm and it's still over 30… perfect weather for summer! (Apparently it will get down to 20's later tonight…)
So, I somehow managed to make it to Barcelona and so did my luggage (unlike poor Maria and Kathy, my new travel companions from NY). Getting out of the airport was a warm slap in the face of hot air… it was so great after not having summer (we'll since the Australian one I guess… lol) and a welcome change… until I realized I had very little firm idea of where I was going… as usual for this trip it seems!
So, South American Spanish was good enough to get me the right train ticket, but I forgot to ask which train to get… of course, I just jumped on the first one already being keen for some air-conditioning… So, I'm sitting on the train, surrounded by people speaking French (… not too sure about why…) trying to figure out which train line I'm on, when everyone else gets off the train… so I get off the train and 2 trains later (still on the same ticket!!) I'm back on track and walking to the hostel.
First impression of Barcelona… it's crazy busy, people everywhere, by now it's 8:30pm, the streets are packed, it's still hot, and I'm in love. I can't really explain it, but there's just something about the place that makes you feel like something's about to happen… probably cause it always is. The hostel we were staying at was just off the main tourist drag, La Rambla. La Rambla is littered with street performers, tiny stalls called 'Hola!', people trying to sell everything from fans to sunglasses to handbags, people flogging bars, restaurants and nightclubs, and tourists as far as the eye can see, half red raw and half almost black.
As I walk off La Rambla to the alcove where our hostel is (the none too shabby Placa Reial) I'm wandering looking lost and touristy (not too hard with a huge backpack on!!!) when some random guy comes up and asks if I'm looking for Kabul which I was!!! Thank goodness to, cause I was STUFFED!
So I get checked in, and meet another Aussie who's staying in the room (Erin), and chill out til it's time for our FREE DINNER (sure, it was only pasta, but it was free!!!) before finding out the bar only serves beer… SHATTERED!!! So, Maria and Kathy are at the check-in desk so we decide to get them some real dinner, and the Aussies some drinks.
Drinking in Spain is an interesting experience… I guess the system makes sense, but I've never seen one like it before. The CHEAPEST drink is a shot, from there if you add ice the price goes up (you do get some more alcohol added though), next if you want soft-drink or a mixer add some more cost, and the highest cost is with an energy drink… Needless to say after the first drink a drinking/dancing session ensued which lasted us until 4.30am… a few irish bars, a really plush bar (we scored a voucher for cheaper drinks), and Boulevard a dance club finished up the mix.
None to surprisingly the early start planned for the next day didn't really eventuate, so by midday we were set for the Gaudi tour… It was indescribable… The architechture was amazing, and even though we only made it into Casa B… (the house of bones) it just left you with such a feeling of peace… so many pictures of that to bore everyone! We headed to the Picasso museum next, just to top off the arty day. That night we headed to the airport to try and see if the girls bags had arrived (they hadn't), so we chilled out on the balcony outside Kathy's room eating falafels at 2am.
At this point I should say that we all made plans to meet at 7.30am the next morning so we would have 30 minutes extra to chill out while we waited for the train to Valencia. I was under the impression that Maria and I had the same train booked…
That impression was shattered when I looked at my ticket at 7.30am and saw MY train was at 8am… BIG MISTAKE!!!
So, luckily having already checked out, I RAN down to La Rambla and flagged a cab to drive me to get the train. I ran through the train station with 5 mins to spare, went to the wrong place twice and had time to put my pack on the seat beside me before the train pulled out of the station… Fair to say my heart was still pounding up to the end of the first 3 stops… I guess this gets added to my 'Things I Have Learned' list for Europe! lol
Having made it to Valencia it occurred to me I had no way to contact Kathy and Maria and wasn't clever enough to give them my number… So, I looked to see when the next trains left from Barcelona, dropped my bag off at the hostel (Russafa) and waited at the train station. And waited. And waited. Then got smart and went to the internet and used facebook to track the girls down!
Finally meeting the girls we found out we have to get to the train station around 5:30am to get our train tickets to Bunol for La Tomatina. The train doesn't leave til 6.30am, but from another station, so we should make it in ok time (hahaha, luckily we'll be buying the tickets together so I can't make the same mistake again!!). Trains sorted we went out to buy some essentials for La Tomatina (goggles, sandles, and a new skirt so my old one can get trashed) before it was time to retire from the heat and chill out.
Tomorrow promises to be a day involving the beach and then a wander through the Old City before having an early night for our BIG DAY!!! Can't wait to tuck into some paella!!! Time to head off now, spent more than enough time on the comp for today!
Miss and love you all lots, promise I'll be checking the rest of my travel documents properly from now on!