My first few hours in the city were not good. Actually, they were awful. I realized while I was on the plane that I didn´t copy Bruno's number from my email. Mistake number one. Then, after getting off the plane, I had to wait over 45 minutes for my luggage. This was my first taste of how nothing happens quickly here. There is NO sense of urgancy in anything the Spanish do.
Thankfully, I was able to easily find the bus that goes directly into the city. It was inexpensive and had a lot of tourists on it. Let me tell you - it was not easy lugging my bags round. I felt like throwing one of them away after only 5 minutes. Several people suggested that I get off in ¨Las Ramblas¨which is the equivilent of Time Square in NYC. I did that and it was mistake number two.
It was crazy busy, I had no clue where to go after I got off the bus and was lugging over 100 lbs of lugguge behind me. All of the sidewalks are made of small tiles so my bags made a very strange sound as I was pulling them behind me. This caused everyone look back at my wonder WTF was making this strange noise. This wandering of the streets continued on and off for a little over 4 hours. I would walk a bit and then stop. Walk some more and try to ask people in broken Spanish if they knew where an internet cafe was. I would walk more. And more. And more. The strangest part was that I was not tired. I'm pretty sure that I working off adrenaline at this point. I was able to access my email after connecting to the internet in a hotel lounge. The woman was extremely nice and let me use the hotel phone to call Bruno. side note: the cost to call a cell phone here is crazy expensive. Like almost 1 Euro, regardless of what kind of phone you have. I've been using skype to skirt these charges. 2 cents per minute, baby!
Bruno and I met in the heart of Las Ramblas and went directly to his apartment. It is very nice. At this point it was about 10PM and I was still wearing the same clothes since I left Milwaukee over 24 hours ago. I was also working on 2 hours of sleep in the past 24 hours. Yet it felt fine. I took a shower, changed into some new clothes and we met up with some of Bruno’s friends to go out for the nite...it was Saturday night after all. Bruno is Portuguese and his 3 friends were Brazilian. Yeah, they are crazy hot. Did I mention they were Brazilian? Anyway, I won’t get into the details of the club now, but I will say that it completely blew my mind away. Never in my life had I seen anything close to it. Note to friends: book your tickets immediately...you will not regret it.
I’m getting my cell phone today and looking at a few apartments. I should have my new address within a week.
Just a few of the many things I’ve noticed
- Barcelona is huge. It is much larger than I had expected.
- Barcelona is very relaxed. People wear extremely casual clothes on the street. Pretty much anything goes. (more on that when I write about my first experience at the beach)
- In general, the people are very friendly and willing to help out.
- Banks are on every corner