Housty, Michael, Barcelona

For any fans of the film I’ve paraphrased, there will be no passionate love triangles logged in this blog entry. Sorry to disappoint.

After a late night at the beach, I woke up just before our free breakfast finished at 10am off the back of five hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation when travelling is among the worst feelings because you never want to make a day to lazy if there is a lot to do in the city you are staying, like Barcelona. Elke from the night before, was at breakfast and we chatted over a poor knock-off coco pops and toast. Elke was supposed to be in Barcelona with her friend, but her friend had to get surgery and cut her trip short. Fortunately for me, Elke had two tickets to Casa Battlo (yes, the place I was too poor/cheap (take your pick) to go to yesterday) and said I was welcome to come. Considering how expensive many of Barcelona’s top attractions are to see, I couldn’t say no.

We left almost instantly after breakfast, giving me just ten minutes to get ready in a mad rush. We finally made it there less than an hour after I had risen from my slumber. *Insert joke here about me looking like an extra from The Walking Dead*

What can I say about Casa Battlo? It’s a warped building with a lot of interesting themes to it. It’s got a feeling of Alice and Wonderland to it. Something too weird for this world. The whole house has a nod to aquatic life, with turtles, fish and boats being used as inspiration, as well as mythical creatures such as dragons. It’s strange to think that 150 years ago, Gaudi was coming up with all these intricate designs. Also, thanks to Elke again for the ticket. I owe you!

From there we walked to the Botanical Gardens. The statues and structures there are very Roman-like, especially at the far end of the park where a great waterfall and fountain lay. Very chilled out part of town, even if I was internally and externally dying from the heat.

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We parted ways when I decided to check out some museums. I was going to meet with her and a few of the others at the beach later but I was too tired to think about it. I checked out the Picasso Museum first, or at least I tried to. It wasn’t open the day after the summer solstice celebrations. That museum passport I bought off Vanessa really coming in handy. Instead I walked to the CCCB, a contemporary arts museum. Contemporary art for me can be hit or miss, but this one was pretty good, albeit not the most riveting.

The current exhibition focused on photobooks (think regular books, but lots of photos) and their historical meaning. Many were political, some were cultural to a certain part of the world, and some were just downright awful and that was their reason they were being shown. Compared to the other contemporary art I have seen so far on my travels, it’s not the greatest thing I have seen, but it’s worth checking out. Plus, there’s currently a Bjork exhibit on too, but you need to pay more for it.

I grabbed some food (a small pasta Bolognese, a pasty of some sort and a can of fanta) from a local café for 6.95. I was a bit disappointed in how little it filled me up, but I was heading home anyway and I had some pasta to look forward to. I started walking towards the metro through the squares near CCCB where children through firecrackers for some reason BECAUSE THEY’RE MENTAL and apparently creating loud explosions is cool. Sure there’s a few suitable jobs for that kind of thing worldwide. Then through La Rambla, the place where you would have no trouble buying marijuana because you will be asked at least five times by random street vendors on your way down the street. It might be the hair.

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I had a lazy night after that. I applied for some more jobs and sorted out a few errands from back home as well as having some time to relax. I was up too early in the morning to be having a night out. Pasta was cooked, jobs were applied for, but surprisingly, I forgot to do my blog. My bad. You get a double instead today. You lucky thing.

I’ll try and remember not to hit the snooze button in the morning.

 

BUDGETING:
LUNCH: 6.95 euros.

Barcelona Total: 56.95 euros. It can be done on a budget. Just a little difficult.

 

BREAKFAST: Cereal, toast, orange juice. LUNCH: Pasty, Bolognese, fanta. DINNER: Pasta.

June 24

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Mi Espanol es Bastante Mal

After my usual mulling around in the morning, my roommate asked me what I was going to do to which I had no idea. I really don’t seem to plan these trips out very well. Anyway, the Colombian guy from the night before turned out to be my roommate called Sebastian.

One of the most interesting things about hanging out with him was realising how poor we are at speaking each other’s languages. It was a great learning experience for me as I worked on my Spanish for a day while I taught him how to swear in English because my teaching is clearly more useful. We travelled uptown via the main train station (I had to reserve a ticket for a future train before, which took forever) before grabbing another McDonald’s, again out of convenience and because Seb wanted one. Culture.

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Once we boarded the train, we checked out the Sagrada Familia from the outside. This was due to you needing to buy tickets for the grand, incomplete building, a day in advance. It’s a shame we couldn’t see from the inside, but we moved on to the Casa Battlo, another architectural masterpiece by Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi.

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Again, we couldn’t see it. It was 25 euros to get in. Nah.

Again it was a great place from the outside, but we decided to move from there and to someone that was at least free. Parc Guell. It’s one of the city’s largest green spaces, but also a long way up a hill to get to. One saving grace to exhausted tourists who wouldn’t know what 35 degrees felt like if it hit them in the face, is the outdoor escalators that aid you to the top for the most part.

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Once up there, you can see the whole city. The views at Parc Guell are unrivalled. You can see La Rambla in its Central Park-esque form surrounded by looming trees. You can see the busy cranes at La Sagrada Familia and you can see the beach stretching for miles along the Mediterranean Sea. Just down from this viewpoint were a few more. Seb and I walked up to the top before he stopped for a smoke. We befriended a bunch of German girls, all from Turkish and Kurdish backgrounds who were heading to the top as well. I feel like I tell a tale like this often where I just chat about life in their native country, but it’s always cool to meet total strangers and leave them feeling like you gained something out of the conversation.

We took the long walk back down towards the city centre once again. There we bought some food and drinks and got the metro back to the hostel, ready to go out at night.

It was a Friday night, and so came the Summer Solstice Fiesta. It’s basically a big party on the beach to celebrate the longest day of the year (even if a couple of days out on this occasion). Myself and Seb were heading there, along with our new roommate from Italy, Mohammed. Just before we left (my pasta was taking infuriatingly long to cook) we met more people from the hostel going. Two more Italians in Rikhard and Jose as well as a German girl, Elke. Is there a version of the Fantastic Four, Fabulous Five or Magnificent Seven for a sextet? Because we were certainly that. The Splendid Six? The Sexy Six? The Sick AF Six? All the newbies are cool. Good mix.

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I was pretty buzzed at first when down at the beach. I had a couple of drinks, danced around and jumped into the ice-cold water like many people there. Then the tiredness kicked in and I needed my bed, despite being five miles from home. Matters were not helped by Seb’s friend hanging out with us, with a whole bunch of Spanish-speaking people.

My Spanish is decent when I can concentrate, but I really just needed my bed at three o’clock. The late nights are catching up. I got the metro myself (they run all night on the Summer Solstice night) and crashed heavily to my bed. Buenas noches.

BUDGETING:
MCDONALD’S: 7 euros.
GROCERIES: (4 beers, chorizo and croissant): 4 euros.
TRAIN TICKETS: 16 euros (reservation and metro pass).
GIFTS: 2 euros.

Total: 29 euros.
Barca Total: 50 euros. Decent all things considering.

Breakfast: Cereal in hostel, Lunch: McD’s. Dinner: Homemade pasta.

June 23