Ahh, the gentle rocking of the train lulling you to sleep....the classical music on your iPod easing you into pure bliss....the screaming old Spaniards who awake you at 7:00 am by talking at a decibel that is loud enough to make ears bleed. "Wait, what??" you may say. "More Spaniards that wake you up due to their inability to carry on a conversation at normal levels?"
Yes, yes, you would be correct. I'm not quite sure why they both thought the whole rest of our cabin was interested in hearing about the old bird's passport problems, but alas, I guess this is what you get on night trains.
So, to catch you up, Jay and I took a night train from Geneva(where I have NEVER had so many people openly point and laugh at my hair. I think it's because they have a shit ton of money and believe they can do whatever they want). Seriously though, Geneva is sooooo expensive. Jay and I tried to get dinner and couldn't find anything under 17 euro per person. We ended up getting food at the train station because that must be cheap, right?? I mean, it's TRAIN STATION food. Nope, that's where we were wrong. Jay and I ordered two ham and cheese paninis, looked at the total, and actually just laughed. 22 EURO.
Anyway, BARCELONA!! We arrived in sunny and glorious Barcelona early so we could enjoy a full day. We check into our hostel (after Jay was accosted by a man in a nurse costume begging him to feel his balloon boobs) and headed out into the city. We grabbed lunch at a cafe and realized how refreshingly cheap Spain was. After rejoicing in the prices, we headed down La Rambla (a street full of weird performers who spray paint themselves in metallic colors and assume this will get them money. Actually no, they just attract lots of Japanese tourists who want to get pictures). Jay and I found a HUGE market off La Rambla that was selling tons of fresh food and had lots of tapas bars and a really cool environment. Next, we decided to wander down towards the port and check out the beach. The Mediterranean is gorgeous...the immense crowds of Eurotrash blocking your view of it? Not so much. But it was a great place to people watch! Imagine topless ladies, men in speedos, people who should NEVER sunbathe nude, hair gel, and Asian masseuses. Jay called it the Barcelonan version of the "Jersey Shore". We sat on a bench for awhile to rest our aching legs (The Alps finally caught up to us), and headed to the Gothic Quarter to see the cathedral.
Even though it was being renovated (like every other cathedral in Europe, it seems), I was excited to see the inside because it was supposed to be beautiful. But, oh wait, I was refused entry because God would have been offended by my (moderately long) shorts. Damn, I forgot my burka at home!! Next time I go out into 90 degree weather, I'll remember to wear my traditional Amish garb. Whatever. I didn't want to see their stank nasty cathedral anyway. SO. We decided to hit up another one called Santa Maria and I'm glad we did because the inside was breathtaking. Probably the best we've seen so far. Afterwards, Jay and I headed to the Palace de Musica Catalana which we only got to see from the outside but the architecture was awesome. We were definitely excited to be in Spain, so our first thought for dinner? TAPAS!! We wandered the streets trying to find a good place. Unfortunately the first place we went to was extremely mediocre but the good thing about tapas bars is that you can eat as much as you like and then go find another place. So we went to a second one that actually was pretty good, but I still think we could improve. After some Haagen Dazs (What? You thought Jay and I would pass THAT up?), we went to bed due to the exhausting night train experience.
I'm pretty sure the Spaniards are nocturnal. You don't really see anybody until early afternoon when they eat a huge meal and then retreat for siesta. Jay and I, being typical Americans, waddle out for dinner around 6:00 pm and NOBODY is out. Most restaurants don't even open up until 9 pm for dinner. Then it gets soooo crowded! We don't mind, though, because we both enjoy eating sort of late anyway. It just takes some schedule adjusting. The next day we woke up feeling refreshed and ready for a second day in BARTHELONA! We headed to a pastry shop (Bummer, no marzipan, I guess the Spanish haven't caught on yet) and decided to go to the Picasso Museum because it was very rainy and yucky outside. Unfortunately, everybody else in Spain had the same idea, PLUS every museum gives free admission on the first Sunday of the month. So, lucky Jay and I strike gold again, but things were a tad bit crowded. The museum was okay, definitely not as impressive as the VanGogh museum, though. Picasso seems like a really cool dude but the museum itself was really lacking on descriptions and some of his major works.
When we finished, Barcelona was still giving us crappy weather so we headed to the Sagrada Familia to see the famous Gaudi cathedral. It has never been completed after all these years and the only way they can keep construction going is through ticket admission, so we had to pay but it was totally worth it. The cathedral is unlike any other and there are many cool, little intricacies to it. The museum underneath had a lot of the original plans of Gaudi and fragments from the cathedral (unfortunately it was blown up and lots of Gaudiś work was lost, so they kind of just have to wing it and build what they "think" Gaudi would like). After, Jay and I were both starving so we headed out to a tapas bar (which was blasting everything from MJ, to Hannah Montana, to ABBA). Haha, very surreal. We ordered an assortment of calamari, fried peppers, croquettes, shrimp, and oysters. YUM. The food was definitely as step up. Next, we went to a really pretty park right next to Barcelona's zoo. We hung out by a gorgeous fountain and headed back to our hostel. We rested up for awhile and decided to find dinner.
Remember when Jay and I mentioned that we were positive we could keep on improving our meal choices? Well, our dinner at La Rita's personified that statement by the millions. It was AMAZING and so cheap. Dessert was definitely our favorite part. Thin, bruleed slices of orange served with homemade icecream. An appetizer, water, wine, two mains, and dessert all came out to only a couple euros more than our two ham and cheese sandwiches at the train station. Gotta love Spain :) What a great way to end Barcelona...
Jay is next with our wonderful time in Sevilla!