Who Wants A Sandwich?
Trip Start Aug 02, 2010
15Trip End Dec 06, 2010
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If your lucky I'll explain the title of this blog to you over a few beers when I return home, but for now I'll keep it PG rated so I don't scare you off visiting Barcelona... I'm just kidding it's not that bad mom!
Starting off my trip, Barcelona was one of the places I was the most excited to visit because it had been hyped up quite a bit by people who had visited before, and those who we've met a long the way during our travels. We've heard the debate over Madrid and Barcelona, but with no clear winner, and unfortunately we weren't able to experience Madrid, so I am unable to make the comparison today, but someday I will because overall Spain was incredible, and I will return.
After arriving in Barcelona, we dropped off the rental car with an experience in driving around Barcelona looking for a gas station, and parted ways with our temporary travel partner Damian. To be honest I don't think I've ever felt so tired in my life, and my body was definitely hating me after what I put it through over the past week and a half, and it let me know how much after we got to our hotel.
Parkes and I just lazed around the rest of the day, enjoying an actual shower with hot water and not the ones on the beach with cold water and the locals walking past you laughing because your shampooing your hair and washing your body on the public beach. Oh and clean facilities, instead of the ones provided by gas stations and restaurants in Spain, which were.... interesting to say the least. I don't think a shower has ever felt better in my whole entire life! It really reminded me how awesome it is to have access to those at all times, and how magnificent beds are, and not train or car seats, and definitely not the beer soaked stone steps in Bunol.
The following day we headed to our hostel, Diagonal, where I'm positive my first encounter with bed bugs happened, but was otherwise a decent hostel with friendly travelers who definitely enjoyed a good party, usually ending around 8 or 9 in the morning, well past my bedtime!
Our first night there we agreed that we'd take it easy, have a few beers, then hit the town the following night, but that lasted about half an hour once we met, you guessed it, some Australians, and headed off to one of the cooler bars I've ever been to. The place was called Dow Jones, and it was exactly as the name implied, the prices of the drinks fluctuated throughout the night, with the drinks that weren't being sold decreasing, and the ones that were increasing, and the odd stock market crash where everything was cheap!
We surprisingly did do some sightseeing in Barcelona, because the place is loaded with history like Roman walls dating 2000 + years, the Olympic stadiums from when they hosted the summer games, amazing churches like nothing I've ever seen or could even imagine, incredible views from a castle that looked more like Disney Land than something built for the purpose of markets to shop and homes to live, but in true Spanish fashion was never finished.
We had a night of great stories as well, and it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, however Parkes and I, an American, Brit, and a Polish guy, left the overly expensive Flamenco bar our hostel strangely brought us to, and set off on an adventure downtown to buy beer from the locals and drink on the streets of Los Ramblas. Our late night partying on the sidewalks of the main street brought us an encounter all sorts of interesting people, including a woman from Ottawa who dated a guy from Cochrane (I know, crazy...) and raced on skis pulled by a dog for a living,
and represents Canada as well!
Buying the beer was the best however, as there dozens of guys approaching you asking if you want to buy a can or two or three or four. We were a little hesitant at first, but I broke the ice and asked the guy if it was cold, which he guaranteed it was, and only wanted 2 Euro for one, but I was only willing to pay 1 euro, and a deal was made. He glanced around to make sure the cops weren't watching, walked over to a small man hole cover on the sidewalk, lifted it up, and pulled out a six pack of beer. Sure as shit, that beer was ice cold! I'm still not sure how, and I probably don't want to know either.
We walked around for the next few hours buying beer from different guys who all hid there beer in the same type manholes found throughout the city, stopping at random benches, assuring police offers we'd keep it down, and striking up conversations with people walking by. Truly a night to remember, and it made me wish that Canada was that laid back, but beer being sold
that cheap on Canadian streets that late at night could only lead to chaos I'm sure.
Not to disappoint either, our desired travel destination was yet again quashed by the ticket agent for the umpteenth time this trip, only to be met with laughter because it's the running joke whenever we somewhat try to make advanced plans. As usual we decided on something out of the ordinary, we thought that a 19 hour ferry ride from Barcelona to Rome to see the Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum was a much better idea anyway, and we'd try our luck to get to Switzerland from there.
So how was the 19 hour ferry ride you ask? It was... an experience. Would I ever do that again? Well if I ever quit my job, sell my things, and travel with an open agenda and no end time and I have all the time in the wold, perhaps, but I would do a few things differently. Otherwise I'll just take a plane.
We arrived at the Port around 8:30pm, but never set sail until 11:30pm, and arrived at Civitavecchia, Italy, at roughly 8PM the following day, jumped in a train and arrived in Rome around 10:00, got lost, and found our hostel at around 11PM, so about a 26 hour travel day. I thought an 8 hour car ride to Timmins from Ottawa was grueling, that put it to shame.
In the end it was all worth it though. We spent a total of three days in Rome, a city that I never thought we would make it to this trip because it was out of the way and expensive, and it wasn't even nearly enough, so I'll have to make it back there someday as well.
From standing in St. Peters Square staring at the Vatican, sitting in the Sistine Chapel, looking up at the “you have to see it with your own eyes” ceiling, getting yelled at by security to stop taking pictures, to sitting in the Colosseum, listening to our tour guide give a description that made you feel you were there in Roman times, walking through the ruins of Rome that was once a powerful place only to have it collapse and disappear, really set you back and made you think. It was amazing, and the pictures won't do it justice, but I did my best!
I didn't think it would be possible but the trip just keeps getting better and better! I hope your enjoying reading my blogs, because I've got a lot of good ones to come, like our extreme trip to Interlaken, Switzerland and our crazy night out in Budapest, and I'm actually on a train on our way to Croatia where we'll be backpacking and partying on the gorgeous islands near Split.
I'll try and keep up, but I can't make any promises! You can add your email to the blog and it will send you an email notifying you when I post something. Hope your doing well!