I haven’t been to Spain since I flew away in 2003 after a year-long stint studying abroad. I lived in the south of Spain, drinking red wine mixed with fanta, salsa dancing, and generally gaping at the non-American life around me. I also got pretty tubby because 1) Spanish food is amazing 2) I was boozing face regularly and c) Spanish clothes are stretchy. It was impossible to monitor.
After three weeks in Turkey where we fumbled through Tourist Turkish, we were excited to return to a country where we could be a little more thorough in our interactions with people. I minored in Spanish in college and Dave speaks a bit of Spanish and Italian so we were ready to communicate! With more than just a few words and gestures. We were ready to be able to ask questions! Read labels in the grocery store! This was completely thrilling. We didn’t even pretend to learn Catalan as we figured people would figure out we were foreign and revert to Castellano which worked out for the most part. Some menus only in Catalan were tricky but we made it work.
Also, NEIL met us in Barcelona!
Neil is Dave’s bestie from college and they enjoy being dudes together: eating sandwiches, cracking jokes, consulting maps, and bickering about who is a better grown-up. (Neil wins – he’s gainfully employed at the moment… so….). But more on Neil later!
We’ve been so lucky to see friends we knew before we were unemployed bums along the way in our travels. Chris came for 20 crazy hours in South Korea. We stayed with Rob in Burma. We met up with Chi and her friends in Saigon. We stayed with Brock and Josh in Japan. And I write this from my sister of another mister’s kitchen so there we go!
We stayed in a really nice (and girlie! it was so feminine and fun!) apartment in a residential neighborhood about a 20 minute walk from the center of town. The owner was an artist and her creations were CRAZY. I loved them. I loved her! She was so cool!
We had a great time walking around Barcelona. We were there for six days which was a tiiiiny bit much. We also just really enjoyed being in an apartment! Doing laundry! Sitting on a couch! The novelty of living “real life” was amazing. We were so happy to sit in this apartment and pretend we were normal people. But we did our fair share of going out into the world too! Barcelona isn’t exactly the road less traveled so here are a few highlights.
We went to La Boqueria, an amazing market where I drank my weight in fresh juice to counteract all the meat, cheese and bread we bought for picnic lunches.
We visited many of the Gaudi sights:
Sagrada Familia Cathedral
He even designed the lampposts and the sidewalks in certain parts:
We wandered around taking photographs of awesome graffiti and street art:
We ate our faces off:
This time about 3 months ago I would have told you I forgot what cheese tasted like. Forgot what potatoes tasted like. If you would have told me while we were knee-deep in Burma that I could eat Spanish food I would look at you like you have five heads.
ALSO THERE WAS WINE.
We drank all the wine and then marveled in its byproducts: blurry photo shoots alongside trucks with my name on them.
And there was much squeeling from me (as well as the boys) because we rode the BEST. FUNICULAR. EVER.
I loved Barcelona. It was really fun. People were really nice and patient with my rusty Spanish. Tourism had not ruined it. But both Dave and I were a little like, “ok! This is really! Neat!…. Is this it?” I wish we had more time in Spain to see more of the country but it was onward to visit HRC friends! Two friends celebrating their engagement were on a European whirlwind and invited us for a few days to drink wine and walk around their favorite spots. How could we say no? Besides, we’d be seeing more of Neil when we abused his hospitality and crashed with him in The Netherlands for two weeks. We have three sets of friends who put us up for 2+ weeks. We have the most attractive, kind friends ever, BTW!