Sunday, November 30, 2008

Barcelona, Spain

Last Saturday, I met Tom at the train station and we headed to East Midlands Airport, just over an hour away from Sheffield. Tom's a bit of a nervous flyer, so we got there a couple hours early. I guess it was worth it, because we got to have some beers with (Dr.) Karl Kennedy-- apparently, he's a big deal in England. We grabbed a couple beers and I had a Pepperoni Feast from Pizza Hut. Anyways, Tom did a great job of making new friends on the flight; eventually, we arrived in Girona and took a bus into Barcelona. Barcelona has a really awesome bike rental system, but you have to be a member to use them. So, instead, we grabbed a snack, took the Metro to our hotel and dropped off our stuff. We grabbed some party favors for the hotel and wandered out for falafel sandwiches, anchovy stuffed olives and sangria. Somehow we got up with a group of kids out for someone's birthday-- one girl was training to be a Spanish-English translator and showed us around. She turned out to be real cool and brought us with her to L'Ovella Negra. Some Spanish dudes crushed us at foosball, but at least we had a setup where we could pour our own beer. Shit got kinda crazy, so we wandered outside and drank beers with locals. The hotel was great and the sea was just across the street. The next morning, we set off to check out the city: grabbed breakfast, checked out a festival, walked through the Gothic Quarter and down La Rambla. Speaking Spanish was very useful in finding our way. We grabbed a late lunch and went by La Sagrada Familia. On Sunday night, I got us some tickets to see FC Barcelona play-- probably the highlight of the trip. Camp Nou is an unbelievable stadium-- but, no beer inside, so we partied before the match. Barcelona drew 1-1, but at least I got to see Henry and Messi play. The streets were packed afterwards, so we grabbed some beers and a nice dinner before heading back towards the hotel. The next day, we walked over to the beach before returning to the Gothic Quarter and La Rambla-- there was a great market with a lot of great food. We ate at a great vegetarian place called Organic. We grabbed a couple beers with this guy (and a pitcher) on our way up to Parque G├╝ell-- another Gaudi attraction and a cool part of the trip. The park was huge and the weather was great. We saw some nice views of the city and a lot of people relaxing. Some girl asked me to take her photo who happened to live in Sheffield. We decided to celebrate the coincidence with a pitcher of sangria. She thought that was such a good idea that she thanked us with a round of beers... and another pitcher. Before soon, it had gotten dark and we were back near La Rambla. We grabbed a late meal and had a smoke with one of the coolest restaurant owners in Spain. While stumbling home, we stepped into a neighborhood pub and spoke broken-Spanish/broken-English with some amigos. Our flight back to England was the next day, and we had to be up early to take the bus. Needless to say, I haven't had a drink since I got back from Spain.

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