Friday we flew to Barcelona, via RyanAir. RyanAir has the cheapest tickets, but they try to catch you on everything. For example, if you forget to print off your boarding pass they charge you 60 pounds/euros to print it during check-in. That might be twice the cost of your actual ticket. We nearly forgot to print our passes, which would have been another 120 pounds, but we remembered at the bus stop and ran back to the B&B. Whew. The flight was uneventful, and we arrived in Barcelona no problemo. Spain has a different culture than many other part of Europe. Everything is close and packed in, people stand much closer to you when they talk, shops are full of anything they think someone might want to buy. It’s a very social place. Our hostel, in keeping with the culture, did a big communal dinner every night. We all met out on the roof at 9 o’clock (they eat much later, too), and enjoyed a bowl of sangria and getting to know the other travelers. Then we went downstairs and crowded around tables grouped together for a family-style dinner, which was both vegetarian and good. Dinner was followed by a cabaret at 11, where a girl from Utah who performs with a fiery hool-a-hoop (sans fire, this time) amazed us all, and then 2 of the receptionists, well, I don’t actually know how to describe what they did. Crazy partner yoga of sorts. What a show. The others went out for a night on the town, but Caitlin and I decided to stay in so we could make the most of the next day.
We started that next day with a visit to Camp Nou, the football (soccer) stadium of the Barcelona team. Then we headed over to the Sagrada Familia, the Church of the Royal Family. The outside is quite a sight, so I can only imagine the inside, but there was a l-o-o-o-o-n-g line and we wanted to see other things, too. We wandered through parts known for their architecture, had the most delicious pastries (wait til you see the pictures), and headed to a tapas bar for lunch. I love tapas bars. We got a bottle of rioja, assorted olives, garlic mushrooms, patatas bravas, an open-faced toast with chorizo and cheese, or in Caitlin’s case sundried tomato and goat’s cheese. Just yum. We missed the walking tour of the Gothic quarter, but just wandered a bit ourselves. We had coffee on an outdoor patio, walked, and shopped. It’s a great place for shopping. Then we had traditional paella (seafood paella for me) down on the waterfront, with a big pitcher of sangria (again, not until late). I really enjoyed Barcelona and the Spanish culture. Today we are on a train to Paris – my final city on this adventure!