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barcelona: the dog’s bollocks

May 24, 2009

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March 15, 2009

Woke at 8:30 this morning.  Dawn doesn’t seem so appealing after a night of cheap beer.  When it peeks through the windows, I shut the blinds on it and say sorry not today, maybe tomorrow.  The sign on the coffee machine in the lobby reads “I haven’t had my coffee yet.  Don’t make me kill you.”  That pretty much sums it up for me this morning.  Coffee helps some but I have a feeling it’s going to be a few more hours before the brain decides to join the land of the living.   Andy & Phil eventually roll out of bed.  It is their last day in Barcelona so we set out for a day of fun in the sun.  In reality, we give a whole meaning to the word lounge. We add a new layer of lazy to it.  We perfect the verb and all its cousins: loaf, loiter and loll.

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We walk down to the beach where Andy proceeds to point out all the boats and Vespas in sight (and let me tell ya, there is no shortage of either in Barcelona).  He once met a man with a Vespa who loved his darling scooter so (sounds like an Irish ballad) that Andy now feels inspired to get a Vespa of his own.  We watch men play hand tennis over a volleyball net (kind of like ping-pong without paddles, except you’re standing on the table and the table is made of sand, if that makes any sense).  They appear to be in their 60s with big round sun-leathered bellies but they are rocking that game, throwing their whole bodies to the ground for a perfect play.   Children play in the sand in their underwear, people jog along the boardwalk behind us, an inexperienced rollerbladder, arms flailing, crashes to the ground, an old man rides his bicycle, tugging a little cart in which his Pomeranian sits in a regal manner.  Colorful people abound on the beach.

We eventually wander around the Gothic quarter and grab a gigantic crunchy tuna sandwich and picnic in one of the many plazas.  Crumbs fall everywhere on my shirt.  I am the crumb lady.  Soon pigeons will land on me and start pecking away, feasting on my buffet of crumbs.  Andy says we should collect them and sell them as tapas on Ryanair.

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The entire city is a smoking room so I join in and smoke a few snouts with my English blokes, because if the cigarettes don’t kill me, the second hand smoke will.  I learn a few new English expressions.  I discover that Phil is impatient in patisseries.  I’m not impatient, he says, I just can’t be bothered to wait around for a cheese stick.  I say, cheekily, isn’t that the very definition of impatient?  I am, of course, one to talk.  I would probably feel the same on home turf but I’ve acclimatized to this pace over the past 2 weeks and have grown used to waiting 15 minutes for a cheese stick.

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Down Barcelona alleyways, up daisy-filled roads, passed l’Arc de Triomf we go.  Me and me side kicks.  We’re like modern day musketeers, except our only mission is to do as little as possible with maximum enjoyment.   We talk all day, stopping occasionally for the odd photo.  I struggle slightly with the fact that I am not photo focused because everything is so beautiful, but in the end, today isn’t as much about seeing the sights as it is about hanging out with my new travel buddies until it is time to say good-bye.

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Back at the hostel, Andy & Phil get ready to leave for the airport and I meet the last three standing boys.  I cave into beer pressure and we head over to La Cerveceria on Parallel avenue for a drink (hair of the dog).  Tonight, I am sleeping at Violeta’s, a couch surfing host and photographer from Barcelona.  Around 8:00pm, I strap on my day pack, walk to Princessa Street, find my way to a grungy building, ring 2*1a, climb up a tiny dark staircase all the way up to the 3rd floor where I meet V.

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She is a very sweet girl but she’s so tired and I can tell she isn’t up for hosting.  Still, she tries so hard.  And me?  I’m easy.  I can fill the silences with nonsense or be quiet… whatever you need me to be.  You open up your home to me, hell, give me a bucket and water and I’ll wash your floors if you want me to.  We have tea on the red couch in her living space and chat a bit. She works part time at a friend’s shop and studies literature (except she says litooratoora, which is so endearing).  She slowly wakes up and warms up to me and we end up having a lovely evening together.

We go to the roof to take her clothes off the line then hunt down some pizza for dinner.  She makes a lovely spinach salad with fresh mozzarella and raisins and mustard dressing.  We dip the pizza dough in her homemade chili oil and enjoy a couple glasses of red wine.  I get up to do the dishes but she insists that I wait a while longer because it’s not good for digestion to wash dishes right after dinner.  God I love the European way.  She shows me her amazing portfolio and around 11:00, she heads to her room to study.  I do the dishes, get my little bed set up and pass out in no time.  I must say that my first couch surfing experience was lovely (thank you, Violeta).  Highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to travel on the cheap.

Though it may not have looked promising when it started, this day turned out to be the dog’s bollocks (aka outstanding – like bee’s knees but more Canterbury boy, wouldn’t you say?)   Tomorrow is my last day in Barcelona before heading off to bella Italia.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2009 6:10 pm

    I love your gypsy posts. it’s like I’m there.

  2. May 24, 2009 9:03 pm

    I agree with Lisa…such great memories you are creating

  3. May 24, 2009 9:25 pm

    That photo is breathtaking…

  4. kathryn Guerriero permalink
    May 25, 2009 7:12 am

    OMG the first photo is breathtaking – TALENT you have so much SKILL i am so thankful for the way you SEE LIGHT.
    LOVE

  5. lunacyn permalink
    May 25, 2009 5:49 pm

    sigh. thou shalt not covet thy beautiful friend’s amazing trip. (repeat as needed.) 😉

  6. May 27, 2009 8:28 am

    Beautiful!! I especially like the shots with the teensy flowers.

  7. Silvia permalink
    May 30, 2009 12:18 pm

    I was wondering when you would come to Barcelona to take your beautiful pictures! Thank you. I hope you enjoyed La Ciutadella.

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