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Posts Tagged ‘Barcelona’

Lindsay and I left overcast, rainy, and windy Edinburgh for sunny Barcelona only to be greeted with overcast, rainy days. After Barcelona had two straight months of clear days and no rain it decided the best time to change this was the week we visited so our beach holiday became a cultural one (we have left with a new love for everything Guadi – especially La Sagrada Familia). Our trip was not short of it’s hitches but nothing a good sense of humor, good company, and sangria couldn’t fix. To give everyone a better idea of the commotion I’m setting this blog up for trip tips to follow when traveling.

1. Money

It is best not to wait until the last day to take out money from the bank to exchange at the post office, in case it happens to be some obscure United Kingdom holiday, such as . Also, if the bank is closed forcing you to go to the cash machine at 10 in the morning this would be a good sign notifying you it is a bank holiday and thus the post office will be closed so maybe you should wait to take out the money when you arrive where you are travelling. Not that I did this. Not that I ended up exchanging my money at some exchange place, therefore losing 20 euros in fees.

2. Airplane travel

It is best to avoid sitting by small children as they tend to cry for the entirety of the trip. Similarly, as we learned on the return flight, it is best not to travel with 15 12-year-old boys as this will be equally loud and even more so annoying. A good rule of thumb for this one is to look at the chaperones faces, if they look like the wished they’d done a better job of using birth control it is probably best to buy some nice drugs to knock you out for the flight. (or in Lindsay’s case be so incredibly sick you pass out without noticing the loudmouth, obnoxious teenagers)

3. Hostel living

When sleeping in a 16 person room in a hostel, do your best to not be one of the two only girls. This way when you wake up you won’t be gagging from the putrid smell of a boys hockey locker room, a dirty bar room floor, and a strip club all mixed into one.

Lindsay and I have decided, besides the chorus of snoring, our favorite night was when two of the boys came home drunk at 6 in the morning and had the following conversation.
Boy 1: Man I am so drunk.
Boy 2: Yeah, I know.
Boy 1: oh man, my bed’s all wet. Why’s my bed all wet?!
Boy 2: I don’t know
Boy 1: I’m thirsty. Give me the water.
Boy 2: you drank it all.
Boy 1: I’m thirsty. (pause) Why’s my bed wet?
Boy 2: there’s only a little left you drank it all

This went on for an unnecessary amount of time.

4. Breakfast

When breakfast is included in your hostel stay. Don’t get excited or factor this in as a benefit.

5. Cervesa

Ask how big “largo” really is…

These were as big as our heads. we were the only one to accidentally order them...awkward

6. Try not to get “Spring Breaked” from the beach

Lindsay and I got to enjoy one and half days of beach and sun. The first sunny day was on Wednesday. We were able to find a nice spot on the beach, lay out on our towels and enjoy the symphony of “massage-y, massage-y,” “aguas, cervesas, coke-a-cola,” “Mojitos,” of the vendors while enjoying the sounds of the waves crashing on shore. Or at least until some boys crashed the spot with a boom box playing rap music yelling sexual obsentities and derogatory terms onto the beach. Their comical conversations of not needing sunblock because they are “russian italians”, their waving down the vendors every two minutes for empanadas, cervesas, and mojitos, and sporting some new cornrows on their stark white scalps was fun for the first twenty minutes but died down soon after. The talk of the “bitches” they scored with, the “hot” clubs they went to, and the advice of avoiding the ever embarrassing “monica lewinsky” the locals play as a joke on tourists, eventually became a little too much. (I would describe what a monica lewinsky was if it was so inappropriate) Lindsay and I called it a day but were able to spend the rest of the evening laughing over their awesome conversations. (and for those of you who are wondering, they weren’t american! finally! they were, however, Canadian.)

7. To Catch a Thief

Become the stereotypical tourist before you exit the plane. Wear your backpack in front. Take a money belt. Don’t carry a purse. Don’t carry a wallet. Don’t use your phone. Don’t use anything nice. In fact leave anything valued over $30 at home (15 pounds for you U.K.ers)

Before every trip I’ve taken people have always warned me to watch out for thieves, pick-pocketers, and purse-snatchers. As in all large cities and holiday destinations they are more prevalent. Before Barcelona, Lindsay and I heard the same advice, even a few stories of people knowing people who had been robed, therefore we were definitely on our guard when we arrived but nothing prepared us for how true it was.
The street vendors and buskers were all aggressive, having no problem invading anyone’s personal space. The dozens of “massagey, massagey” ladies who roam the beach offering 10 minutes massages for 5 euros don’t take “no” for an answer but use it as a chance to change your mind. They often start rubbing your back or your legs trying to persuade you. The men on the streets selling flowers won’t turn and leave you alone after one “no” or even two. They will stand by you speaking broken english in attempts to sell a rose. So when we discovered how aggressive and non-discreet the thieves were, we weren’t surprised. 4 people in our hostel were robbed this past week. Me included.
Walking home early one morning with Lindsay, I had my purse wrapped around my wristed and clutched in my hand. A group of boys, fairly nicely dressed considering, came up behind Lindsay and I. They ripped my purse from my wrist. I, who for some reason still continues to think I can take anyone, took off running after them. My flip-flops flying in the air as I sprinted away in my dress, yelling obsentities to get my purse back. I caught up to them and grabbed at my purse as though it were a baton in track but still not strong enough was unable to keep a firm grip and fell forward. This did not stop me. I kept up with them until I almost reached them again. The culprit finally threw my purse down on the street. Thankfully, all they took was the cash, leaving me with all of my credit cards and identification.
Another person in my hostel was not as lucky and was unable to catch up with them, and another was scammed by one of the street dancers. Someone had an iPhone knocked from their hands as well.
(While I should have not have chased after my purse and I am lucky I didn’t get hurt, I couldn’t help but feel lucky not to have to be going through the pains of cancelling cards, finding money, and trying to get new i.d.’s.)

So what have we learned. Traveling in Barcelona is no joke.

8. Sunshine days

out in the sun as early as possible

If your last day in Barcelona is the sunniest and best day of the whole trip and you have 7 hours to kill before boarding your flight that does not mean you need to spend all 7 hours on the beach to make up for the previous cloudy days. If you do this, reapply sunblock. Thankfully, I am such a paranoid freak I reapplied like crazy. Some of us were not as lucky though.

I’m aware this post is not painting an awesome trip but it truly was. Even though it was not what was planned or anticipated Lindsay and I had a great time. We made some excellent new friends. We had a great time laughing at the comedy of errors of our trip. I Learned a new dutch sentence. We discovered how awesome Gaudi was. I was absolutely blown away by the enormity and amazingness of La Sagrada Familia. I do not have words to describe what an incredible magnificent catherdral it is and how lucky I am to have visited it. I believe everyone needs to make this trip solely for La Sagrada Familia.

gorgeous(having trouble posting pics of segrada so look for them on facebook)

This trip was stressful, however, so I’m happy to be home and back to work. Although with a few nights in at the hostel and some early mornings I was pretty productive for a holiday.

Cheers,

Jess

p.s. As usual I apologize for all typos and what not. I’m tired and wanted to get this up before diving back into my work tomorrow. P

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