Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hola from Barcelona - Day One

"You need to work on your Hola's."

Matt, our apartment broker, gave me this tidbit of advice as we had coffee (cafe con leche to be exact) in a darling little square a few meters from the apartment. It was ~11:00am, and the square was pretty empty and quiet. I made a mental note: Is Barcelona really this calm?

I replied "My hola's, got it. Gra-thi-as."

We had already checked into the apartment, gone through the instructions, purchased a top-off phone, and attempted to reconnect the internet. It had been a long morning, but a productive one. I wasn't surprised at the internet problems - part of why Joe & I went to BCN so early was to ensure we get it working. I was surprised at the apartment. The pictures actually did it justice - the place is huge and stocked with nearly everything we need. It's also in a fantastic neighborhood, just one minute away from the Palau de la Musica and a few more to the Catedral Gotic.

After resting for a few hours, Joe & I headed out to explore the city. We headed down our alley to a busy street, crossed over, hung a right, and found ourselves in the middle of a Christmas market at the base of the Catedral Gotic. We wandered around the market, then through alleys full of gargoyles and roman arches, and then we emerged on the waterfront at the base of a Roy Lichtenstein statue. We wandered towards the aquarium, over the drawbridge, to the base of the Statue Colum, and up the famous La Ramba. Again, I was surprised that there were fewer people than I expected. It was about 4:30pm at this point, so Joe and I stopped for food. Tapas & Estrella Dam of course, all of which was tasty except an octopus dish with little flavor. I suppose that's the point - order as much as possible and see what you like!

At this point, we were feeling pretty tired and decided to hit the supermarket and head home. When we headed back outside, I finally saw all of the people. I get it - they wait until later to come out, and when they do are so many! Walking through giant streets, surrounded by Christmas decorations, a group doing a giant drumline, tons of people... this was what I expected!

We headed to the supermarket, which is all of one minute from the apartment, bought some essentials, and came home. I was asleep by 6:30pm! I'm not quite working on Barcelona hours yet, but I'll work up to them.

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