Yeah yeah, I know I misspelled Barcelona.  I learned Spanish here in the states and have never gotten used to their lisp.

In the intro to this report I mentioned that I grow tired at times of traveling alone.  There’s something to be said for solitude, but we were created for community, and things are generally best when shared.  So, after a short stint at the First Class Terminal, I boarded my flight to Barcelona.  It was a really normal flight to Barcelona, a brief meal was served in Business Class (which is really just economy class with the middle seat blocked off).  The meal was so brief, in fact, that I slept through it.  I was, however, awoken for a coffee by the flight attendant as we began our descent.

We landed at Barcelona’s stunning and beautiful airport and I stepped out into the wonderful Mediterranean air.  I hailed a cab and told him my destination.  He asked if I spoke Spanish, and I replied that I did, but I had trouble understanding it when people talked too quickly.  He apparently took this as an opportunity to tell me that he was really the secret emperor of a wondrous mystical land called Gorgon and had recently brought great joy to his people with a mix of magic tricks and chocolate syrup.  He wasn’t actually insane, it’s just that he spoke so fast that I had no idea what he was saying, so I decided to paraphrase it for him.  What a weirdo.

I stayed at the Hilton Barcelona.  It was a nice and modern hotel about 2km from the Sagrada Familia and the Ramblas along one of the main streets in Barcelona, La Avenida Diagonal (which means The Diagonal Avenida).  I got a good rate and was hopeful for a complimentary upgrade, but due to how early I arrived there wasn’t one available.  It wasn’t too big of a deal, since I’d be spending so little time in the room anyway.

I relaxed for just long enough to no longer feel dead tired and proceeded to meet up with my friends.  I loved the tree-lined boulevards.

a sidewalk with trees on it

Tree-lined boulevard

They were staying at a hotel just around the corner from the imposing yet beautiful (and almost completed) Sagrada Familia, which is always worth a picture but we didn’t have time to stop for too long (they had seen it the day before).

a tall building with towers with Sagrada Família in the background

La Sagrada Familia

We then headed south toward Las Ramblas, the main touristy and food area of Barcelona.  We found a nice lunch spot and had a relaxed lunch.  I love the way the Spanish eat.  It’s slow, relaxed, and you can usually get a good value for your money, even if you’re in the touristy spot.  I got to speak to the waitress in Spanish and my friends were duly impressed.  They were a little less impressed when I had no idea what she was saying in reply, but half impressed is still impressed in my book/libro.

a narrow alley between buildings


a large stone building with a rose window


a white marble fountain in a room with a stone wall and a statue

A…not sure what to call it…Water Thingy That’s Not A Fountain

We then ambled around Barcelona’s numerous old cathedrals and churches, stopped for beers and tapas, and ended up (after a botched attempt at a nicer restaurant which led to me loudly chewing out the manager as we walked out, which by probably no coincidence is the best Spanish I spoke on the trip) at a decent restaurant for a late dinner just off Las Ramblas.

a group of people holding wine glasses

Sangria at dinner

We then walked around a bit longer before bidding each other buen viaje.  As I headed back towards my hotel (before getting lost and getting a taxi) I sat for a while in a nearby square and enjoyed all the livelihood around me.

I live in Dallas, Texas, which is one of the most car-dependent cities in the USA.  Although recent efforts have been made, we’re a city of drivers, not walkers.  We tend to meet in living rooms, not bars or town squares.  Those things aren’t necessarily bad, but when you’re in a walkable city like Barcelona it’s hard not to crack a smile seeing so many people out enjoying each other’s company and the city they’re in.

I got back to the hotel at midnight and slept soundly until I awoke the next morning.  After a really nice breakfast at the Hilton, I took my time getting ready and hopped in a cab to the airport.  Barcelona’s airport has the feel of one big massive space that makes you (me) think of an airplane wing, it was just gorgeous.

a group of people walking in a large airport

BCN Airport

I spent some time in the Priority Pass Lounge while I waited for my Vueling flight over to Munich.  The flight was completely nondescript, it was about an hour and a half packed in like a sardine.  It was long enough for me to completely scrap my plan, however, to spend time in Munich, and instead revisit a place that captured my heart back in 2010.  I wasn’t sure if I would be able to pull it off in time, and that’s exactly what made me decide to go for it.  Gotta be epic!

What a great city.  I love Madrid very much, but comparing Madrid and Barcelona is really tough because they’re almost two completely different cultures.  One thing I think that ties all of Spain together, however, is the dedication to community.  They commune in town squares, local pubs, and have mastered the art of the afternoon/evening stroll.  If you haven’t been to Spain, go!

A note on traveling with friends
I think this is probably a wasted note, as most reading this travel frequently with friends or spouse/family.  I usually don’t, most of my miles travel is on a whim and alone.  This day might’ve spoiled me, there’s just something to be said about venturing around a new city with friends and getting lost together.  I’ll travel alone again in the future (keep your eyes out for posts about my weekend trip to China) but man what a gift it is to see those you know and love in a foreign land.  Absolutely looking forward to doing something like this again!

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