It is so sad to say goodbye to people who you connect with and want to spend more time with. As I sat at the bus station, I reflected on my time in Spain, knowing that I have a limited amount of time left and how in this short time the friendships I have made on the Camino and beyond have just been amazing.
My bus arrives at 1:30 AM (on time) and I take my seat and head out to Barcelona and sleep as well as I can on the bus. I arrive in Barcelona and make a B-line to my hostel: 360 Hostel Arts & Culture and it is amazing. Clean, the staff are really friendly, beds are really really comfortable, bathrooms are clean and well equipped and the staff is very friendly, wonderful, and extremely helpful: Norea, Daphne, Trent, Gonzales.
I love my room and bed. An upgrade from the albergues I have stayed in. And they have CLEAN sheets and a blanket for you. I don't have to use my sleeping bag. The small things that get me excited.
Norea from Sweden: the receptionist gives me a map and some ideas of places to visit. I head out and visit the Arc de Triomf (in Barcelona).
Love the palm trees.
I keep walking. Norea told me about the Chocolate Museum and I was sold when she said Chocolate. And it was not far from my hostel either.
Read more about it here: Barcelona: Day 1 - Chocolate Musuem
After the Chocolate Museum (Museum de la Xocolata) I walk around the city and enjoy the area.
And come across the Gothic part of the city: Barri Gothic.
I continue walk and run in to the Barcelona Cathedral (Catedral de Barcelona) and it adds to the Gothic flavor of the neighborhoods that I just walked through.
Interesting black figures of Mother Mary and Jesus.
I take the elevator to the roof top of the cathedral. It is under construction but the views of the city are still wonderful.
The main steeple.
I see the Basílica de la Sagrada Família in the distance - that I plan to see tomorrow (cannot wait).
In the basement of the cathedral.
A surprise. There is a choir performing in the church and they are amazing.
I continue walking through the city and enjoy the various structures and people around. I love walking around people and hearing different accents and languages spoken.
Plaza Catalunya (Placa de Catalunya)
I continue to walk around and head over to the waterfront specifically around Port Vell.
I see the Mirador de Colom. And the clouds begin to tell me that they want to rain.
Walked through the streets of La Rambla and the trickles slow began after the thunder. But the views of the streets were wonderful.
Stopped and walked around the Plaza Reial. I wanted to go out and walk in the rain but decided against it.
Instead I decided to eat at the Plaza. I walked around and found a restaurant that intrigued me: Tobogan. Everything everywhere was busy. Tourists packed the restaurants and tables were scarce. I finally managed to get a seat and ordered some food and a glass of wine.
Many many minutes later I get my 14 Euro meal. It is absolutely delicious but not filling.
So I ask for some bread. In Spain bread is traditionally served 'free' with all meals. Like wine or water is part of the staple Spanish service with food.
After asking and getting my receipt I am more than disappointed at the meal and portion size. I paid 4.40 Euros for a glass of wine and paid for bread in Spain. Ridiculous! And the meal was 14.90 but felt like more of an appetizer.
As the Spanish would say - it is a Guiri restaurant. Basically where they cater to the tourists and charge them astronomical prices. I got Guiri #@$%ed is what happened. Never again.
The rainfall ends and I walk around and notice a Shawarma place near by: Pita House and eat a larger meal that I what I paid for earlier for only 4.20 Euro.
Finally, I walk back to the Plaza Catalunya and the view in the night time is beautiful. Especially with the lighted fountains.
Walking back to the hostel, I see Barcelona in the city lights and it reminds me of walking in and around Washington, DC.
Finally get to the hostel and there are tons of people around. I meet an extremely nice German: Nicole who is only hanging out for a few hours before she catches her plane - and offers to share her food with me. I am starving and feel bad about sharing her meal so I politely say NO, but secretly I wish I said yes. It looks DELICIOUS.
I meet a few other people: Jez from England, and Trent from Perth, Australia who also works at the hostel. Later in the evening I make a new friend with Felicia Fischer from Brazil. She offers me mate (tea). I haven't had that in years, and I get really really excited about it.