Tag Archives: Spain

Day 39 – Ferry to Barcelona

I’ve had a bit of rest back in Boston now. I’m about 50 days behind on the journal, but all of the days are completely outlined so I just need to expand them all. This might take a complete month to finish, but I will attempt to remember as many details as I can from all the stories.

Where was I. We got onto a ferry from Civitavechia in Italy to Barcelona. This day was a bit eventful.

I woke up on the ferry several times and was having a lousy sleep on the row of chairs I had seized for myself. Finally I got up and walked around the boat. I went up to the top deck and it was absolutely windy beyond belief. I really had to struggle to walk because the wind was so forceful. It was a bit fun too. Almost pushed me into some walls.

I went and got a crossaint, which was terrible, and took my computer to the lounge where I relaxed and updated the journal a bit. Mode joined me and we decided we were really hungry so we went around the boat looking for food. At the bar they only had two sandwiches left, and so we decided to get them. This is what I later remembered as the absolute worst moment of the trip. I say this not because something terrible happened, but because this was the absolute worst meal I have ever had. It was a panini (italian for sandwich), which had tough condensed manufactured bread, a piece of cold cheese, and a piece of raw ham (?) meat. They had “toasted” the sandwich, but by toasted I mean they put it in a microwave until the very edges of the cheese were slightly melted. Despite this effort, the sandwich was cold as a 7-11 slurpee made in Antarctica. It tasted absolutely terrible, but we were so hungry that we ate it anyway. I usually have the saying that “hunger is the best spice”, but that spice was not enough to mask the absolute horror which was that sandwich.

Enough about that, we landed! And walked to the hostel we had reserved. Now in prior planning, we had accidentally assumed that the ferry ride would not be a complete day. When leaving Cinque Terre, we realized this, but were unable to contact the hostel we were going to so to tell them we were going to miss our first day. This was a mistake. When we got to our hostel (which luckily wasn’t too far from the port, even though we had a bit of difficulty finding it), we found they had cancelled our reservation because we missed the first day! So suddenly we were homeless in Barcelona. Abandoned and hopeful, we set off looking for other hostels. Found one with some room, but it seemed really really sketchy. Then I looked in the Let’s Go recommendations (the book we were using), and they suggested the Hostel Levante. We went there and luckily they had something available! It was an apartment outside of the hostel, but it turned out to be really nice! We were pretty excited about it all, and I started to do laundry and Mode started to take a shower…

And then the lights went out. The power was suddenly cut from the room. Damn. So Mode got dressed and out and we walked all the way back to the hostel to ask what was up. They said we just had to reset the circuit breaker, and they loaned us a candle to find it. Came back and did that and everything worked again. So I worked a bit on updating the journal while Mode finished his shower and stuff. Then we went out for food.

Because we had had such a terrible meal on the ship, I decided we needed something amazing, despite costs. We went the the Plaza Reina (?) and found the recommended “Les Quinze Nutz”. That isn’t its real name, but it was something very similar. Now because of our tragic experience prior, this turned out to be some of the most amazing food ever. I think I got a very nice lamb dish, and I can’t remember what Mode had. We washed it down with the delicious local ambrosia known as Sangria, and were satisfied.

Afterwards we went over to the square to chill out. There were guys going around selling beer by cans, which I thought was a genius crap job, though very illegal and sketchy. So we were hanging out by this lamp post and all of a sudden some girls sitting on the center fountain motioned for us to come over. I looked around behind us but there wasn’t anyone there, so they must have meant us. So got up and went over there, and with a bit of difficult communication, they explained that this one girl thought I was cute, and wanted to know if I could be her boyfriend for 3 or 4 nights.

… Well that’s never happened before, and it was the easiest chase I’d ever made to get a girlfriend considering I didn’t even have to. I agreed, she seemed to be cute and alright, and it was a done deal. Suddenly I was in a “relationship” with a girl named Michela. They were some girls from Rome Italy actually, so I could practice my Italian with them too. We hung out for a while, decided on where to have our first date the next day, and Mode and I went back to the apartment to sleep.

Day 42 – Barcelona

Started the day chilling at the Sant Jordi Hostel. We went up onto the roof and talked about dreams we had and what not. I apparently had a dream about some weird bird in fruit juice. And Mode had a dream about the devil and his rivalry with him.

We went out to buy some food and made some amazing spaghetti with wine and I think we had a meat sauce. Sat around some more enjoying our meal, and could not finish it by any means. Then we headed out to see the Magic Fountain, which I had heard about from the guys in Dublin. Got there by subway and got a good seat. Met a girl from North Carolina and talked about music and what not. Her favorite band was Fleetwood Mac I think. Anyhow, the fountain show was really cool with all sorts of lights and music and special water effects. It started to get really crowded too and people were piling all over the steps.

We then headed to the Plaza we liked so much, Reale? Something like that. We found another Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra poster in much better condition which I put into my bag. Then got some drinks at Glacier, which were pretty good. Then met up with Micela, and mode split off for his own adventure.

Went back to her hostel briefly and met her friends. We all hung out and I think we played some cards. Then started walking out to the beach. One of Micela’s friends then called and said she got her stuff stolen, and so we sidetracked to the police station. Since I was over 18 I could act as someone to confirm their story, so I did. Then we went back to her place to sort out the deal. Finally Micela and I headed out to the beach for her friends to meet up with us later. The next day got a bit interesting…

Day 43 – Barcelona to Madrid

So there we were, chilling on the Barcelonita beach. Me and Micela, my Italian 3 day girlfriend, and spending our last night together watching the stars. It was very nice, and I was not paying attention to where I had put my bag, which was something like a foot behind my head.

This was around 5:30.

Suddenly someone from another group on the beach walked over to us, and in poor English asked me if I knew the person who had just came by and taken my bag. I had no idea what he was talking about, but sure enough to my horror I looked around and my bag was gone. I asked the guy how long ago it happened and which direction the person went in. It all happened about 2 minutes before then and as soon as the guy pointed off into a certain direction I started running (without shoes) and asking people if they saw a person with a green bag. I ran and ran and ran, getting into a bit of hysteria, but could not find anyone. There was a handful of people who all looked suspicious, and I kept on running trying to find out where he could have gone. I found a security guard and told him the situation, but he wasn’t able to help me. I went to a pay-phone and called the police’s number, and tried to explain everything that had happened. There wasn’t much they could do. I came back to Micela who by that time her friends had come by. They also helped search the beach with me, but to no avail. So in all futile exhaustion I walked back to the police station I had ironically been to earlier that night. Micela came with me and little was said, but I was really appreciative of all the support she was giving me. I kept on telling her that she didn’t have to go with me but she insisted on going. On the walk to the police station there was an absolutely gorgeous sunset, just kind of plainly showing that despite tragedy life will move on. I was pretty calm and over it by the time we reached the police station. I filled out all the necessary forms, and tried to be as precise as possible. Left there feeling exhausted.

This was around 8:30.

The main contents of the bag were the following: My US Passport, My $500 camera, my 3 year old iPod, my Swiss Army knife I had bought in Switzerland, the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra patch I really liked, the cool poster from the bar last evening, the trip notebook and some information, various receipts, the hostel key, and to become the next part of the story: The train ticket for Madrid that day.

Micela and I headed to the subway station. We said our goodbyes, and said to keep in contact. Goodbyes never seem good enough.

Anyhow, headed back to the hostel. Made some emails. Then woke Mode up and gave him the bad news. This was a pretty tragic tale, but we did what we had to.

We then went to train station and tried forever to figure out how in the world I was going to get on the train. I was sent from department to department, and no one could help me. Finally I just got so pissed off that I got onto the train and just showed the conductor my police report when it was asked of me. He said that was fine.

Finally we got to Madrid and went to the hostel to check in. It was a bit of a walk but nothing too strenuous. After checking in I went immediately to the embassy to find they were closed, and I would have to come back the next day to start the application for my new passport. So we walked down this large street and there wasn’t very many people in Madrid. We saw this creepy Brady type family. We went back to the station to figure out the Eurail stuff. That was also closed. Walked back to the hostel but picked up some amazing Doner Kebab on the way.

Then we headed out to this monument in a park. There was a pretty awesome drum circle happening and this extremely gorgeous girl we tried to keep an eye on. After a while we got bored and headed out to try to see some Flamenco.

Found a restaurant and just barely squeezed in before the show started. It was quite amaizing, and a really nice cultural entertainment. We had some really amaizing sangria too. (Amaizing in reference to Isaac in Florence). I actually almost fell asleep during the show, considering I had had almost no sleep. Anyhow, the show was amazing.

We walked back to the hostel after a long day, and finally got some sleep.

Day 44 – Madrid

In the morning I went to U.S. embassy. I got a number and stood in the waiting room with the hundreds of other people waiting for whatever. It seemed most of them were immigrants, waiting to be approved to move to the U.S. Then again, they could have just been travelers. I’m not sure. Several hours later I got out of the embassy. They told me they would either have a permanent passport in 4 days when we left or they would provide me with a temporary one.

After that I headed over to the station to try and get my Eurail pass replacement. They told me that I needed to go to the other train station to get the replacement. Afterwards I went back to the hostel, met up with Mode and we walked around the city.

We tried to go to the market – El Rastro – but it was closed. We went to the supermarket and I picked up some chocolate eggs that had toys in them. I think I got a helicopter, and mode got some sort of chicken. And there was some sort of weird robot as far as I remember. Those were great to play with for a while, and then we decided to head over to the Palace Royal.

While walking down the street we saw some people on the side waiting for some sort of show, so we stopped and watched a royal procession go by. One of the horses decided to crap right in front of us, but amusingly the car with what looked very much like the King rode by right afterwards waving to us. I’ve seen the King of Spain!

We then continued walking to this ancient temple place. It wasn’t all that impressive, and I think it was closed because it was a Sunday or something. We sat down on a bench just relaxing while watching some dogs fighting/sexing it up.

Walked back to the hostel briefly and headed back out to get some tapas. Tapas, which I’ve never had before, is really really strange. In theory, this is the kind of food I would love because it’s small snacks that make up an entire meal. Kind of like a European sushi. But like sushi, and unlike what I would consider good, it was cold. I’d think that miniature sandwiches would at least be grilled and warm when served, but apparently not. There was a little confusion with the order as well, but whatever.

We headed back and then played a couple rounds of chess before heading to sleep. The hostel had some amazing sangria, but I don’t remember if we ordered any that day.

Day 45 – Madrid

Started out the day chilling at the hostel and then got some Doner Kebab for lunch. We realized there wasn’t very much to do in Madrid, and I think there was a vast expanse of not doing anything for a while.

After that we went out to find a cheap place to eat, though didn’t find one. Then we went to meet Dana in the main square, right next to the bear statue. Dana is the girl that I had met in Belfast, and we had spoken over email and found that we were both in Madrid at the same time.

So we met with her and then continued to go find a place to eat. Found some hole in the wall type place and they had AMAZING gazpacho, and just ok steak. We went back to the square to meet more of Dana’s friends. While we were hanging out there some kind of religious guy came over to us and started asking us about heaven and hell. For our own amusement we got into this large conversation with him. He kept on insisting we were all going to hell, and I kept on replying that I thought hell was a bit illogical. Accompanying him was some woman and also this cute young girl about our age. Her and I talked about it on a more on-the-level way, and had a very long conversation about it which was interesting. Anyhow, Dana’s friends had shown up and we needed to leave.

We first went out to a bar they knew of. It was an irish bar of some sort and we bought two sets of buckets of beer. Drank a lot and a lot more. Then we left and went to another place with live music.

It says in my notes that we went back to the hostel, but I don’t remember that. We did go out to another bar and danced a bit.

Then we were exhausted and went back. Dana had to go back to her hostel on the other side of the city and it was kind of meh neighborhood so I walked her back.

Eventually got back to the hostel and slept.

Day 46 – Madrid

I’ll have forgotten a lot of parts of this story.

I woke up and had a long art conversation with Tania, the Australian girl, in the lobby of the hostel. After this in my outline was written “ripped up piece of paper” but I cannot remember exactly what that was in reference to. Though a glimmer is coming back to me, and I think it was that I was ripping up some piece of paper into interesting ways, as well as making paper airplanes.

I’m not sure if Mode was already up, or what we were waiting for, but him and I eventually headed out to the Prado Museum. It was quite a walk, and as I remember it, not so inspiring. There was a few famous paintings that I completely forgot about. I think one of them was with these painted cabinet type things…

After that we went on a walk through the nearby park. It was this big lake with a long path all the way around. There was this area with a whole bunch of drumming people and musicians. There were a couple hot Spanish girls there too. We chilled for a while there listening to the drums, and then headed back.

Took a nap.

Then got up to get Paellas with Tania. There was a really really long wait for our food. We then played various card games with the Australians at the hostel, like Asshole, Blackjack, Hearts, and others. Then we got tired and went to bed.

Day 4 – Plane to Barcelona

Plane got to LHR late
Had to change tickets
Got the 2:05 flight
Wifi search and Ham sandwich – tasted like depression
used computer store for internet
got on plane
slept most of the way
got off plane
wifi search
converted money
shuttle (totally did not think about a bus or train)
got to place
left note for Anthony
walked around
finally got wifi
Plaza Rieal
Paella and Sangria
walked arund
loud parties outside (st patricks?)

Day 5 – Barcelona Day 1

Got up late
Breakfast at cafe
bad croissant
vending supermarket
Sagrada Cathedral
Walked to hospital
Tapas lunch – anchovies, octopi, etc –
Gaudii Park
metro to Paral-lel
Wrong stop
Walked to Magic fountain
Only Fri-Sat
sat around
Metro back
put stuff down
headed out to dinner
couldn’t find place
walked in huge circle
found right where we started the circle
Taverna Basca Irati
Walked around finding other bar
Bar next door to plan
nice bar lady owner gave us recommendations for crema catalan

Day 6 – Barcelona to Girona

Breakfast at La Pallaresa, the place the bartenderess recommended
pretty good crema catalunya
took the metro to Barcelonita
Saw place where my bag was stolen and phone booth I used to phone police
Walked down the beach
Saw fish statue
Got metro back to room
Got bags and went to marketplace
walked around marketplace
got sandwiches
good photos
train station
got on train to girona
walked to tourist information
went to nearby hostel and it was fine
put our stuff down and went back out
walked around the streets of the old town
walked to wall of city
tons of kids
good view
walked up to top of some tower
people carrying dog down the stairs
sadly hilarious
really amazing view with light rays on the city
walked down to the main cathedral
we were really hungry so made that our next priority
bridge photos
found a nice place and had three amazing dishes for a quite reasonable price
very friendly waiter (gay?)
then got gelato
walked around a bit more
went back to the hostel
went back out
anthony got a new jacket at some fashion store
girls who were raising money for red cross talked to us
told me I was like frodo
magic fountain! not
went to wine and cheese restaurant
great cheese of all varieties, okay wine
really hungry late at night so got shwarma next door also
creepy guy watching television in the hostel
played ping pong and cards
no one else was really social in the hostel

Day 7 – Girona, Figueres, Night train to Madrid

breakfast at the hostel
left bags at the hostel
walked around girona some more
some more photos
train to figueres
walked from station to dali museum area following other tourists
through market
stopped at local coffee shop
really good coffee
chess sets but no one playing
dali museum
way too many people, and way too much eurotrash
disrespectful kids
some really cool art, some really odd art
jewelry museum next
walked around
found a really great place for food
decorated a lot
went back to train
got next train back to girona
had lots of time
went to cinema museum
pretty cool things on display, including dick tracy’s hat, TMNT mask, and Leto’s robe from the Dune movie
walked more around Girona getting more photos
Really windy and cold
got our bags
Sat in a chocolate store drinking chocolate and beers
got some tapas there
got more tapas elsewhere
got on night train to madrid
shared compartment with some African man
I couldn’t really understand him that well
kind of uncomfortable but I was used to it, Derrick and Anthony weren’t
Met Jodi from Oregon
talked to her in the food car
had some toast
after talking to jodi for forever, went to bed

Day 18 – Lagos to Cordoba

Got up early
Walked through the rain to get to the bus station
Gave map to these guys just getting there
Waited at the bus station, very tired, a bit hungover
The bus ride was very pleasant. Fell in and out of consciousness
Nice cities that we passed by
Bus to Seville
Got off bus, had difficulty finding directions to the train station
got on another bus
Made the train
Got into the station
Walked from the station down the park to the hostel
Checked in. HI so kind of sterile…
But had a nice view
Got some “Lunch” whatever that means
Went out and walked around
Checked out the cathedral area
Went to square and got Oxtail, which was delicious (Anthony had paella)
went to the supermarket and got some supplies
Went to get frozen yogurt at Smooy
Saw a few processions around
Nice sunset
Went out to see some Semana Santa ceremony
Very religious, not festive at all
People singing and some woman shouting in Spanish
Band playing, kids being disrespectful
After a while we left
Walked down to the Roman Bridge
very nice looking at night
We were tired so went back to the hostel and slept

Day 19 – Cordoba

Got up and got breakfast
Anthony came down at 9, but they said breakfast was closed, weird, it was supposed to close at 10
Anyhow, got some directions, headed out
went to tourist information center, they weren’t helpful at all
Walked around jewish quarter a bit
Walked around old city a bit
Went to the Inquisition museum, which was full of all sorts of torture devices. And as much as I wanted to think about it in a historical context, I couldn’t help think about how people these days use these devices as sexual fetishes
Went to main church/mosque area
Some religious ceremony in progress
Weird lulav like shakers and people with olive branches
Priests walking to the gateway, saying some words, making some blessings, then walked back
We weren’t allowed in the church, didn’t know why, guy was really mean
He let other people in but not us? Why? I have no idea… That got me really pissed off
I didn’t like cordoba
Went to the jardinez de alcazar
walked around the gardens, it was nice and pleasant but to go up to the towers was excruciatingly painful because of so many people we had to wait for going up and down narrow stairs
Got some nice shots of flowers
Roman bridge
Couldn’t get to the waterwheel
Walked around more
Went to the San Francisco area
Then found the Roman Pillars
Behind a lot of construction and fences, not interesting
Went to the roman bath house, even more unimpressive and somewhat neglected too
Went to the main square and decided to wait for the Semana Santa festival
Got ice cream
The festival was not really a festival…
it wasn’t even a parade
it was a procession. Really solemn faces. In KKK like hoods
Religious floats being carried
Between them there were bands and kids in KKK costumes holding giant candles
It was… really boring
Across the way there was a beautiful woman who I snuck glances at, but she turned out to be married with a kid.
Stayed there for three hours
Left, but almost impossible to get back because the procession was throughout the city
Once we got back to the main church there were all sorts of people hanging out
We found a churro cart
DELICIOUS churros with chocolate sauce
Ended the day

Day 20 – Cordoba to Granada

Got up at a good hour
Had breakfast
Found out where the Barclays ATM was
Packed and headed out
Anthony forgot something so he had to go back and get it, that was ok since we were ahead on time
Stopped at the ATM on the way to the station
Almost at the station when we saw a clock…
It was strange since it looked like a pretty important clock, but according to our time it was running an hour ahead
That’s when we realized we had spent the past two days in Spain on a completely different time zone, thinking it was an hour behind, which is why Anthony was rejected from breakfast
So we ended up being 30 minutes late for a train that we were going to be 30 minutes early to
Anyhow, since we missed the train we found a bus that was leaving not too much later
Sat around, had some lunch, walked around some park area in the north of the city
Finally got on the bus
Made our way to Granada
Beautiful countryside, filled with green and olive trees
Really fantastic cities on the way. Maybe it was a good thing we took the bus.
Got into Granada
Got conned into buying a map for a Euro
Took the bus to our hostel
Really amazing nice place, friendly woman who was managing the desk
Gave us a good map and explained exactly where to go and what to do
Learned that we had to reserve tickets for the Alhambra, so put it on our to do list
It was a bit cloudy but we headed out anyway
Walked up the hill
Started raining so we purchased cheap umbrellas
Since we couldn’t reserve tickets decided to get up early and do it the next day
walked up to the st nicolas viewpoint
Very cloudy view of the castle
Not so great
Lots of tourists
Tried to find nearby tapas
found an amazing place
Had Fried Eggplant, made like french fries and doused in honey. it was absolutely amazing
and the other food was also good.
Walked around the hill area
Tried to get up to a lookout point
Found a great place
Stayed there for a while watching the sun set over Granada
Got some great photos
Even a rainbow
Walked over to the flamenco club area
They couldn’t take us that night so we made reservations for the next day
Went back to the hostel
Decided instead of going out we would take advantage of their kitchen and make some pasta
Met our friend Tim from Florida
Went and got spaghetti
Made spaghetti and wine
Somehow afterwards I think … did we do something? I can’t remember

Day 21 – Granada

Woke up way too early and headed to the bus station. Got the bus along with other tourists and we headed up the windy road towards the Alhambra ticket office. When we got there the line was already very very long.

met couple, south africa and italy
can’t remember names
got coffee
waited for a long time
finally got tickets for the afternoon
split up
anthony and i walked back down
explored the cathedral area
tourist market area
water fountain
coffee and croissant, funny guy tried to charge me too much
walked around back streets
walked back up to the alhambra area
went into carmen garden place
very pleasant garden
walked up and over hill with olive trees
walked to viewpoint and took some photos
came back towards the castle and had lunch in the cheapest place we could find
horrible food
brought out my pizza first, i almost finished it before they brought out anthony’s food
met up with couple again
explored the alhambra
first the generalife
and then the alhambra
very nicely decorated…
intricate design work
started to rain a bit
said goodbye to couple
finished touring the place, getting a bit miserable because of the rain
walked back to the hostel through the rain
went to grocery store and got dinner
made spaghetti with Tim
very cheap
drank a whole bunch of wine
went to flamenco
walked fast and made it just before they started
really interesting, but different than my experience in 2007 in madrid
Afterwards headed back and then to bed

Day 22 – Granada to Ronda

Laundry situation
Had to wait for that
went out
Morning Tapas
beers and free tapas at knight place
pretty good food
back, picked up laundry
went to train station with tim
Train to Ronda
said cya to tim
walked from station to hostel
amazing view from porch
very nice kid managing the place
headed out
went to bridge
walked around
went down pathway
lots of photos
Can’t remember lunch…
Lunch (Tapas)
bought Cheese and cake
ate on hostel porch with view of bridge
went to dinner across the street
lots of tapas, pretty good
finished the day, sleep