Monday, March 7, 2011

Del Banco - Dias uno

Del banco - Dias uno - Barcelona
Jueves 24 de febrero 2011

Waking up bright and early in the morning, 5am or so, Sara and I got our day started with some Tim Horton’s coffee that she brought me, as well as a 45 minute giggle fest until we realised that we had to leave the house in 30 minutes. We caught the bus from Luynes to Marseille just after six and arrived right at the train station an hour later.

no explanation is available.

We spent the next seven or so hours on and off the trains, hoping that we would make the next train in time because each train seemed to be later and later.

Myself and Sara!!!

Before I get to our final destination, not quite midway of the train rides, we stopped in Montpellier for over an hour so we ventured off to a grocery store and bought a picnic lunch. This made me realise just how wonderful it is travelling with someone; splitting a sandwich and a container of juice. Ah, the joys of not travelling solo. Montpellier is absolutely gorgeous. It kind of felt like a mix of Monaco and Havanna. For one, there were beautifully tall palm trees everywhere as well as old buildings that really make me think of the 20s and gangsters. Regardless of the time setting, I loved what I saw of the city. The 15C really helped too.

Between Montpellier and Sete

Unlike in Germany, we were not constantly passing through towns, so that means no comments on the ever changing architecture. What we did notice was that up until we actually got to Barcelona, there was not much change from the little bit we did see. On the plus side, the scenery was gorgeous! Fields of tall brown grass (prettier than it sounds) or weird stick things that I think are for vineyards. I am quite positive that the tracks were right along the Mediterranean for a high percentage of the time, so seeing that was nice, a little boring, but still nice. The most incredible thing was seeing the mountains. Almost all the time, as we were close to and actually in Spain, we could see mountains. I honestly did not know that Spain had mountains… Anyway, they looked different from the Rockies. For one, they were not as tall and seemed more spread out. Plus, you could really see the distinct line of snowy areas. I’m definitely no mountain expert, but I’m pretty sure the Rockies are really tall and pointy, with not a lot of snow and seem kind of grey. These mountains were very, very blue. It may have something to do with the Mediterranean being so close and the color reflecting… I really hope I am right on that one because it sounds really silly…

Still between Montpelleir and Sete

Finally, we arrived in sunny Barcelona to a sweltering 20C. Canadians eh? The silly, but predictable, thing was that people were still wearing parkas!! No! No! No! I don’t think I would manage there in the summer.


Unlike in Berlin or Amsterdam, I really did not get an instant impression of ‘this is what this city is’. I just could not pick up on any one trademark thing. It really did not feel overly ‘Spanish’. I might have been wanting mariachi bands to pop up everywhere as soon as I arrived though. Haha


As I navigated us down Avingud
a del Paral-lel, we went by the Toros Arena, which I mistook for a shaopping center in the midst of renovations. We made it to our hostel, Be Sound Barcelona Hostel. It is actually really nice. Very clean, nice interior and has super helpful staff. In our six person room, we had only found two girls from France, but they haven’t been overly open or friendly to us, which is too bad.

no idea why I took so many
of this one town...

We had planned on a Spanish cooking class here at the hostel, but apparently it is no longer available. We made use of this extra time to get some exploring in.

check out that color
between france and spain

We walked up and down La Rambla as well as some of the side streets on the western side. La Rambla is the main drag of the city, which caters to pedestrians more than cars. Restaurants, bars, clubs, shops, you name it, line each side of the street as well as the center boulevard, where the side shows of every sort can be found. This is the entertainment street. Starting at the harbour, La Rambla would lead the sailors up into the city when they got off their ships and were looking to be entertained. As you can imagine, it is quite lively, as well as expensive. If you’re looking for something to eat, or to buy, like any tourist place, head a few streets away and you can save a small fortune.

one of the million photos of this strech
of sea...

Sara and I got our supper at a restaurant on the corner of our hostel’s street and La Rambla (for a pretty good price). We each got some tapas and paella or pizza for under ten euro. The tapas they gave us were ok, not quite what I was expecting, but my paella was delicious!!

a slough (spelling?)

Paella is a traditional dish made of rice and a mixture of spices, vegetables and meat. Obviously the combinations are endless, so I’ll just say mine was really tasty and that’s all I care about.

if you think clouds are boring,
take a look at these puppies!!
closer to spain.. see the mountains?

Seeing as we ate quite a bit earlier than everyone else in Spain (the restaurant was more or less empty), we still had tons of time to explore. We headed farther down La Rambla to the Boqueria Market, named after the street it is on. We were hoping to find some clothing, but at the time the only stalls open were the fruit and vegetable stands, the meats ,seafood, spices, bakery, candy, pretty much everything but the clothes. Although it did have lovely hustling and bustling ambiance, which I love.


Unlike in Germany, apparently it is frowned upon and illegal for people to drink in the streets. We saw some policemen walk up to some guys sitting on a bench with some beer, take them and pour them in some plants and give them a ticket. Just a heads up.

and we found a HUGE traffic circle.
same traffic circle, other side..

Although Barcelona is the richest area of Spain, it was hit incredibly hard by the financial crisis and the crime rate has skyrocketed. Lucky us, the area around La Rambla, being so full of tourists, is naturally the place with the most pickpockets and other kind of crimes and naughty going ons. I don’t know why I always end up in these dodgy places. BUT our hostel was very safe. No worries!!
what is this thing that you have made
grace my photo?

After wandering for who knows how long, we grabbed some snacks and went back to the hostel. Sara was super jet lagged so we watched True Grit on her laptop and called it a night.
about to demolish the prawn
then the PAELLA!!

Definitely a good first say in Barcelona!

1 comment:

  1. I was talking to Greg Wagner at the Sport and Leisure Show this weekend, he recognized me and remembered way back when he used to coach you. He was pretty excited that you were going to the Real Madrid game.