Thursday, November 10, 2011

Travel Thursdays (4): Viva Barcelona!

Travel Thursdays...Part 4: Viva Barcelona!

Wish I could bIame it on some technical glitch, but no excuses...just plain late with the post.

If you're just tuning in, the last few weeks I've been revisiting the build-up to my European vacation last summer.

To start from the beginning, take a look here...

If you've been keeping up, read on...

After a lifetime of dreaming and mere weeks of planning, I was finally on board my flight to Barcelona!!

I'd been hearing for years about what an amazing city Barcelona is and now I would finally know for myself.

It was so unbelievable to me that I was actually doing this...and doing it alone for the most part.

The flight was uneventful except for a little scuffle I got into with an airline attendant who guilted me into switching my seat...which I accommodate a couple who were sitting apart. Luckily they reimbursed me for my troubles with those mini bottles of wine.

We touched down at Barcelona International, a gorgeous, modern airport.

As a bonus, it was fully staffed with gorgeous Spanish men...good start to any trip.

I took French in high school and had only I was anticipating some challenges in the language department.

I had a pocket dictionary and aside from that, the plan was to wing it...and hope the Spaniards were English-friendly.

I took a bus from the airport to the city center. The first thing I noticed was all the Vespas!!! The streets and sidewalks were filled with them.

I loved seeing middle-aged women in dresses and men with briefcases riding away on their bikes. I learned later they call it a "moto."

One day I'll own one...I'm mildly obsessed.

My first test of Spanish...asking around for the street where my hostel was. I looked around and couldn't find the street signs anywhere.

I knew I was jet-lagged, but this was ridiculous. I went back and forth from corner to corner looking for a sign and there was none to be the street.

Second thing I noticed about Barcelona...the street signs aren't on the streets, they're on the buildings.

Thankfully it was just a block or two away.

Best thing about growing up in NY is that everywhere else seems more manageable.

Thank God, cause I was so exhausted...don't think I could've dragged myself or my suitcase much further.

I was definitely nervous about staying in a hostel. The last time I did was almost 10 years earlier when I studied abroad in Australia. I didn't know if I could be as tolerant as I was back then.

I found Somnio hostels online and it got solid reviews, so I was hopeful.
I remember going into the building and taking an elevator that just barely fit me and my suitcase and had to be manually closed. Scary.

I got off the elevator, realized I was still alive and met my temporary home for my time in Barcelona.

It was a cute little space; from what I could see it was friendly, clean and modern.

There were single, double and dorm rooms. You get a locker for your luggage and the bathrooms are first-come, first-served.

It's a little like college, but that can be a good thing when you're traveling.

I negotiated my first night in a single room and the rest of the time I'd stay in the dorm. I pretty much dropped my luggage and passed out.

The best part was that it was in the heart of the city, right near Las Ramblas and Passeig de Gracias, two famous streets.

Later on that day I grabbed my camera and headed out to explore. It was still early so I had most of the day left.

It was the first time I was really using it. At first it felt kinda, not the camera. It was the newest Canon Powershot...small enough for my bag but packing enough power as an SLR. Got it right before I left and it was really the first time I ever had my own camera to walk around with. Strange to say it now but I really never had anything worthy of carrying around.

I didn't know what to take pictures of. By then end of the trip I couldn't put it down.

I couldn't walk a block without seeing something worthy of taking a picture. I still see things that way and it's something I'm really grateful for.

I realize now looking back how amazing it was to be starting the trip and my relationship with photography on that same day. I've been neglectful lately but I'm definitely in love.

Here are some pics I took that first day. It started raining but that didn't stop me from admiring the scenery.

I promise they get better...

really, floral sidewalk? - I think I'm gonna like it here

 The architecture was absolutely amazing!

Despite the rain it was still beautiful.

Much more to come...have a great weekend!!


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