Aug 2, 2006

Barcelona - Part 2

Last I left you, Sarah and I had boarded our bus down the hill from the Park, and were on our way.

As a side note, I don't think I'm going to include as many pictures because it seems that you can't click on them and see the larger version when the post is so image heavy. I'm sure it matters to no one but me, but hey... it matters to me. That, and the last entry took me forever and a day to complete. Anyway, back to the commentary.

Since we couldn't stop, I did some drive by shooting. I know, I know... bad joke. One such shot can be seen to the right.

Unfortunately we didn't stop at Palau Reial, and although we planned on heading back to see it before the day was through, it didn't happen.

At a certain point we transferred from the North Line back to the South Line and headed to Estació del Sants to buy our bus tickets to Pamplona. Funny thing... the station is huge, but if you want to buy a bus ticket, you actually have to go to these portable buildings across the street. And do you think there are signs? Of course not, that would be too easy.

Next we went to Plaça d' Espanya that was built for 1929 International Exhibition and used again for the 1992 Olympic Games. This place was huge, and I wish we could have spent more than 5 minutes there. There was also an amazing statue in the middle of about 8 lanes of traffic that I wanted a shot of, but I didn't have time to dodge speeding vehicles. Again, consider this something for a return trip. And I will cross traffic for this. Trust me.

Imagine to the right of this another pillar, identical to this. I wanted them both in the shot, but they had this hideously colored sign hanging between the two of them that I really just didn't like. And that large building in the background... MNAC.

We then passed the Olympic Village, which was closed. It was about 7pm at this point, so all we could do was take pictures of the torch through the fence. We also got a few shots of the side of MNAC, the Museu Nacional d' Art de Catalunya, which you see above from Plaça d' Espanya. I would have loved to go in, but it was also closed, and our bus stopped running at 8pm.

Here's the torch scuplture from the Olympic Village. I know the horizon isn't straight, but it honestly was down hill and right now I'm just too lazy to fix it. I know... collective gasp.

After getting back on the bus at the Olympic Village and MNAC, we went down past the World Trade Center, the Maritime Museum, and Port Vell, before coming away from the coast and back into the center of the city.

We walked into our hostel just in time for them to tell us about the dinner and flamenco show that had been put together. I needed to find an adapter so that I could charge my camera batteries, and wanted a chance to at least wash my face after such a busy day.

We decided to join them for the flamenco show in about an hour and a half, and asked for a restaurant recommendation. The guy at the front desk suggested tapas, the traditional Barcelonan food, and said we should go to Nicasso’s down the street. All I have to say is he got it right. The place was small, but the owner was incredibly friendly and took good care of us. He was also an amazing cook. I should have taken picture of my dinner, but it arrived plate by plate. Tapas are small servings of a certain dish, and our dinner was three different plates that were brought out to us as soon as they were ready. I had pork, although I have no idea how it was cooked, a potato cake of some sort, and tuna. The pork was my favorite, and it disappeared rather quickly.

We left the restaurant just in time to make it to the flamenco show at Tarantos, and although it wasn’t what I expected, it was still amazing to see. The show started with just the guitarist, and eventually the guy sitting on the drum to the left joined him. Next was the singer who certainly had a set of pipes, and a guy who for a while just sat and kept rhythm.

He turned out to be the dancer, and after about 10 minutes it was obvious that he puts tap dancers to shame. With the amount of tapping, stomping, and movement involved, this guy must have thighs of steel.

I'm not even going to try to explain the poor quality of this shot. I have no excuse.

After the show we talked to some of the people staying in our hostel, and met two girls from Australia, as well as a large group of girls from France. Getting to meet these girls made the entire hostel experience worth it.

The next morning we checked out, and said goodbye to the girls we’d talked with the night before.

We didn’t have much time before we had to catch our bus to Pamplona, and didn’t want to traipse all over the city with our luggage, so we didn’t see much of Barcelona before heading to the bus station. Once again we also managed to miss breakfast, so we stopped at an indoor market on the way for some fruit.
The crazy tile roof... yeah, that's the roof to the market. I'd have loved to see it from above.

And the inside. There were several little counters, selling everything from fruit to meat, to nifty little food saver type things. It was interesting.

For the record, Spanish watermelon is good. Very good. The last stop before the bus station was the Arc d’ Triomphe. I thought it was only a French thing, but apparently the Spanish have one as well.
My luggage is missing, but only because Sarah has it. That's right, we had our luggage with us. What fun. I'm being obnoxious, it really wasn't that bad at all.

I meant to do that!

They also have odd light fixtures… quick, make like a street lamp! Sounding familiar?

So after making only slight fools of ourselves, we walked to the bus station, grabbed some lunch, and eventually boarded our bus to Pamplona. As excited as I was about La Fiesta de San Fermin, and getting to see the running of the bulls, I was still really sad to leave Barcelona. It’s safe to say that I fell in love with the city, and I’ve been told my eyes light up the second I even start to talk about it. I know it sounds cliché, but I don’t doubt it. The city is so alive and vibrant that it’s almost intoxicating. I can’t wait to go back, and I’d like to spend at least a week there.

I’m thinking next summer.

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