Sunday, August 10, 2014

Spain Part II: Beaching, Walking, and Eating

Thursday 12 June 2014
We had breakfast at the hotel again and decided on a beach day. It’s terrible, but we are just a bit tired of sightseeing.

Traveling for this long definitely has its disadvantages. Forgive me, as I know I’ve mentioned this before…but you just get tired. You get tired of walking. You get tired of seeing incredible and awesome things. It sounds so horrible and spoiled, but it’s true. When everyday greets you with some new breathtaking sight…they become less remarkable. It’s kind of sad. I do the best I can to find the excitement and enthusiasm inside of myself to be PRESENT and recognize the amazing-ness of it all. However, there are still some days that you want to just sit around or go to the beach :D

The owner of the B&B suggested avoiding the crowds and pickpockets by heading east of Barcelona’s main beach.

In the metro, we bought a bulk of 10 tickets, which is cheaper than buying individual tickets (same goes for Paris) and made our way towards the beach.

We got off the metro in the neighborhood of Poblenou. The area was charming and full of little cafes. 

We walked down towards the beach, which was still crowded despite the advice of our B&B owner. The area had another (or really, the same) wide pedestrian/bike path that wound through a park to come out on a beach. Along the beach, the path was lined with restaurants.

We plopped in the sand and enjoyed reading in the warm sun. I got in the water up to my knees, but it was still chilly and not as clear as Greece, or even France, had been.

The sky here is always kind of hazy and seemingly threatening to storm, but it never does storm.

We stayed at the beach for a few hours and then walked the beach path back into the city to return home on the metro.

We got off one stop early to explore the streets around our B&B. We found a huge, enclosed market. The market was a lot like the one we had visited in Florence with various stalls, each selling a particular item (meats, cheese, produce, etc).

Pres bought some cheap and DELICIOUS fruit juices and we made our way back to the B&B.

Around dark, we hopped on the metro and headed back to El Gotic for dinner. We found a super touristy place in a square with a great paella special that included sangria ;)

Blurry :D

Predictably, the food was just OK, but the ambiance in the square was nice and there was live music. The night was warm and humid. I loved it.

We made our way back to the metro through the medieval streets, which were magical at night.

Friday 13 June 2014 (aaaa-oooo Friday the 13th!!)
Breakfast again was had in the sunny room upstairs. We set off on foot to wander west on the streets. Barcelona is such a busy city and SO hot.

We walked to an area-of course I can’t recall the name-which was sort of alternative, with lots of tattoo parlors and record stores.

We found another food special with tapas in a busy square. Honestly, the food was terrible and our waiter was super rude, so it wasn’t the best lunch.

But there was wine

Wandering again down La Rambla (a busy shopping street), we headed towards the water. It was unbelievably hot. We stopped for a while on some benches in the park and realized we were sitting outside some sort of homeless shelter. Haha.

Dripping with sweat, we walked the long way back towards the B&B. We stopped at another market for more fruit juices, which we INHALED. Not long after, we stopped for ANOTHER juice. We are so thirsty in this hot, heavy air.

We stumbled upon an adorable street market with kids singing and arts & crafts. It looked again like it would storm, but never did.

Back in the wonderful AC of our room, we rested a bit before getting ready to meet Preston’s friend Nate for dinner.

More terrace views of the 'not-storm'

Nate was very good friends with Preston’s childhood neighbor, so Preston has known Nate for some time. Nate met a Spanish girl in Arizona and subsequently married her and moved with her outside Barcelona so that she could be near her family.

Nate came to meet us at our hotel and we walked up the street for some chilled red wine in a sidewalk café. Nate's wife was unable to join us, because she was not feeling well.

Nate was just wonderful…an incredibly kind, spiritual, and knowledgeable guy. To hear him talk about the love he has for his wife and how he overcame the struggles of moving to a foreign country to demonstrate that love to her, brought tears to my eyes. 

Nate is great (and strangely...photographs nothing like he looks in person)

After our drinks, we continued on to a cobblestoned area full of restaurants and bars.

Nate was so funny, because he said we were looking for a few ‘key indicators’ as to where would be a good place to eat. The first of these indicators was a wine barrel out front of the restaurant. He was also looking for certain menu items and a specific ambiance.

We walked a while through the busy streets and finally found the ‘perfect’ place, which was really well worth the wait. We ordered meats, breads, and cheeses, and red wine while Nate regaled us with stories about integrating into Catalan Culture and we told him about our trip. Nate explained what a different language Catalan is from Spanish…and I was grateful, because it explained some of my translation issues.

Totally made up for our disgusting lunch

The three of us had a few bottles of wine and by the time we headed back to the hotel it was nearly 3am!!

A wonderful night!!

I went up to bed, but Preston and Nate stayed up and went to another bar and then sat in the park talking till almost 6am!!

Party animals

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