Val and her mom drove me to Santiago for my flight to Barcelona and I boarded the little plane with a "typical Spanish" sandwich in hand. It was salty jamón, salty melted cheese and salty bread. The plane charged for water so my determination to not pay for anything extra was well tested.
My mom met me at the airport with a bottle of water in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other. I chose the water, chugged it all down in one gulp and then started talking nonstop about my time in Spain.
Mom had flown in earlier that morning, slept in our hotel all day and then headed to the airport to meet me. We were staying in this really nice hotel in the middle of a bunch of factories that was (sort of) close to the airport.
It was late and we were both tired but hunger prevailed and we headed out into the city to find something to eat. We ended up at a little cafe selling pizza. I tried to stop my mom but she ordered two pizzas, a pasta, a salad, and a cup of wine that ended up being more like a vat. People in Spain eat late and stay out late, and there were children roller skating into tables and jumping over chairs all over the little square.
The next morning we packed up our leftover pizza and headed out into Barcelona. With all of our stuff. We spent the whole day sightseeing with all our luggage on our backs. Good thing we packed light!
Our first stop was the Sagrada Familia. Of course, we got off at the wrong station. So we were wandering around Barcelona, trying to spot this giant cathedral. Eventfully we got back on the metro and found our way to the right stop.
My mom bought our tickets the night before so we got to skip the giant line and walk right into the giant cathedral. I wasn't impressed.
I mean, it's a huge building. It has statues and stained glass and it's kind of cool that it's still being constructed. But after seeing all the old cathedrals in Spain, the Sagrada Familia came up short. It is modern and bright and colorful and the columns are different colors and nothing seems to go together. The "quiet area for worship" is just a roped off portion in the center with metal folding chairs. It doesn't feel sacred inside, it feels more like an airport terminal designed in the 80's.
The best part of the cathedral was the locker room where we got to store our packs during the visit. My bag was starting to feel very heavy and it wasn't even lunch time yet.
We were only in Barcelona because that's were our ferry to Italy left from, and I didn't have high expectations for our visit. I was happily surprised by how much we saw and how pleasant it was. We spent the afternoon wandering the narrow streets, admiring street art and sipping hot chocolate and coffee at cafés. Barcelona hot chocolate is like molten chocolate pudding and the coffee is rich and dark. The only thing better were the macarons and meringues adorning the windows of every bakery.
We wandered right into the Picasso museum, which displays his works in chronological order. Picasso first lived in A Coruna, moved to Barcelona and then headed to Paris. That is (sort of) the same as my journey! His art slowly transitions from traditional academic work to his typical brightly colored sketches. It seems as though he is growing backwards, which I guess he is. He says he spent his whole life learning to paint like a child, after all.
We strolled down Las Ramblas, admiring the people posing as statutes and the wares on display in the artisan booths.
After getting lost in the metro and trapped in a station, we finally found a place to eat dinner. I ordered one last goat cheese salad and my mom got tapas. She didn't ask what kind of tapas, how much food it was or even the price and so she ended up paying 23 euros for a giant platter of crab and octopus that she barely ate.
It was getting late and we had a boat to catch so we headed towards the docks and an entirely different kind of adventure.