Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bar-the-lona

Like this photograph of the Columbus statue in Barcelona? It was beautiful in real life. I have one similar on my camera. Bitch.

Anyhoo, where was I? OK, landing ...

My introduction to Europe was very, very European. Thankfully I've been exposed to lots of international people in my life so my expectation wasn't that it would be America in Europe. In fact, when we'd waited over an hour for our luggage at a carousel clearly flashing "Atlanta," and finally someone came out and said, "Oh, we make mistake ... luggage went somewhere else, will be here soon," I just said "whatevz."

Thrilled though I was when my luggage arrived, and impressed at how uninvolved Spain's customs check was, I was concerned that my traveling buddy J-dawg had been waiting for me for nearly 3 hours. We finally found each other and, in a haze, got a cab and departed for the Hotel Del Mar.

So, when they say European hotel rooms are tiny, let's all acknowledge just how tiny they are. Our twin beds were literally 3 inches apart. And we both were like, "You know you my boy but this close, mmmkay?" The room was really swanky though, with a fabulous bathroom. Another note to file, if you're using a bidet for the first time in your life, you should know the water temperature is also adjustable, and that warm is better than scalding hot. Just sayin'. I nearly got intimate with the ceiling of our bathroom.

The rest of the day is something of a blur, just because of the sleep deprivation. We were able to meet up with our other friends and had a late tapas lunch, which was somewhat intimidating because while I've been to tapas many times in the US, it's a very assumptive, ingrained cultural practice in Spain: the bar concept was overwhelming to me and also, as a vegetarian, I didn't want all of that salt-cured meat. A table was prepared for us in the rear where we drank what wouldn't be our last glass of sangria. Life got much better at that point.

I love to people watch. When I travel I like to observe, and I love to tell myself a story. Spain was spectacular fodder for this obsession. I was reminded of my Spanish lessons from high school and college and really "got" those sentences that I used to think were so simple and silly. You might remember the ones that go something like, "A girl is buying milk." Once I was there, and observed the culture, it became much more relevant.

An afternoon of dodging Smart cars and Vespas was met with a fantastic shower and preparation for dinner. That was when I lost the camera but let's gloss over that bitter fact and move directly into the most FABULOUS bottle of sparkling rose that I did, indeed, consume by myself. From dinner we went out to a bar for a drink and if you think J-Dawg and I didn't wind up in a cab at 3:30 a.m. downloading "The Metro" from Berlin on his iPhone and serenading our taxi driver, you're wrong.

7 hours of sleep and we bounced out of bed, eager to depart on the cruise. In the lobby we met up with some friends from Atlanta and went out for another amazing lunch, then were whisked off to cruise terminal and at 5:00 p.m. we said goodbye to Barcelona and steamed ahead into the Mediterranean. The bon voyage party was fantastic (more drinks!) and after dinner we had the distinct pleasure of being entertained by Nikki Blonsky in the theater.

I hit the sack and slept like a brick, sad to've left Spain because while we were just there for 24 hours, it felt like 2 weeks, and because already I knew the hourglass was flipped and that as the ship kept sailing, our days were diminishing.

2 comments:

walktrotcanter said...

Welcome back from a daily visitor-who I might add was a bit miffed about being left with the mullet-UPS guy for an entire week! Am enjoying the reads about your travels...glad you had a fabulous trip!

Jonathan said...

Three Hours is worth the wait for my travel partner in crime.

Just remember, I'm alone, sitting with my empty glass, my four walls follow me through my past.................