Yes. Guilty. I popped two pills of Advil to knock me out last night so I could finally recover from jet lag. We arrived in Barcelona yesterday after flying for 14 hours, including the 3-hour overlay in Amsterdam. Despite being up for more than 24 hours, I wasn’t able to go back to bed after being awaken by the party goers on the streets of Barcelona at 3 AM. Our rented apartment on Carrer de Comtessa de Sobradiel is close to a couple of pensions so that explains the noise.
[Sardana, in front of the Barcelona Cathedral]
So it was no wonder that the streets were still deserted at 9 in the morning. I get it now why they don’t get up until so late in the morning. It’s a whole different lifestyle. Imagine the mortified look on their face when they learn that Americans don’t have siestas, and that we go to bed at 10 PM and wake up at 7 AM. Que horror! Juxtapose that to the Barcelonans’ habit of waking up at 10 AM, having lunch at 2:30 PM, siesta at 3:00 then back to work at 4ish; work until 10 PM and party until 3 AM.
Our location in Bari Gotic is central to everything so we just walk to all the major sites, shopping districts and amazing tapas and bars. My first impression: What a gorgeous city! It has everything going for it: jaw-dropping architecture, mouth-watering culinary, amazing weather, beautiful people and great culture. I was actually struck by the many similarities between Barcelona and Manila. I don’t know why. I should expect it. After all, the Spaniards (yes, I know that Catalonia != Spain) colonize the Philippines for 365 years. Barcelona is, of course way, cleaner and more beautiful but still the similarities are unmistakable.
[Palau Guell, facade of the building]
Today, we followed Rick Steves’ advice and arrived at Palau Guell, one of Antoni Gaudi’s work of arts, a little over 10 am. The industrialist, Guell, commissioned him to build this house for him, his wife and ten children. I was overwhelmed by the intricate craftsmanship of the whole house. How modern must it been when it was first built, specially when juxtaposed with the rest of Barcelona of that period. You’ll forget that that it’s a very old house until you arrive at the basement where they used to park the horse-drawn carriages. The highlight of the tour was the rooftop. It was playful and otherworldly beautiful.
After having my architecture quota for the day, we went over to the Ramblas and Placa Reial on our way to La Boqueria to have lunch. Unfortunately, all the restaurants selling tapas and paellas lining the Ramblas compelled me to stop. I had to eat here. I couldn’t make it to the market anymore. It was too much to pass up, given that we only had croissant for breakfast. I know, I know. It’s touristy and stuff and Rick Steves wouldn’t approve of it but I couldn’t control myself.
I had paella marinera and sangria and my husband had three tapas and a San Miguel cervezza. Boy, was it big! My sangria cava was about 1 litre. Holy cow! How was I supposed to finish it? Five sips of it and I was already tipsy. Caramba! Had to stop.
More walking along the Ramblas and it was time to go back to the apartment for a nap. It’s siesta time! Barcelona is my kind of city and this is my kind of vacation. I’m having too much fun! And I get to practice what little Espanol I know. Until the next blog from Europe. Adios, muchachas and muchachos.