Barcelona: ash it happened
Trip Start Sep 20, 2009
14Trip End Ongoing
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Like thousands of other travellers across Europe, we were stranded. But we didn’t know it 'til we looked at the departures screen. We had been so shut off to the world that weekend that we knew nothing about Eyjafjallajokull and the ash she was spewing. Our cluelessness at that moment is indicative of the mind frame one enters when they’re in Spain. Going online or glancing through a paper while we were there never even occurred to us. Our world got smaller as soon as we reached Casteldefells, the small beach-town suburb of Barca. We only really cared about the weather
In the airport terminal, after a brief moment of panic, Nat and I decided to just go with it. Not many things scream "sign from God" like an Icelandic volcano forcing you to stay in a Mediterranean paradise. A quick collect call home and a trip to the airport internet café later and we were on our way back to Casteldefells. We wouldn’t make it home for another five days.
A full week in Barcelona worked out better for us. We devoted a solid two and a half days to the pristine Casteldefells beach. I even swam one day (in April!). We spent a day admiring Gaudi’s Barcelona – from Park Guell to the Sagrada Familia to the cathedral in the Gothic Quarter. We made three trips past the street performers, human statues, bird cages, flower stalls, artists and pick pockets on La Rambla. We sat in tapas bars surrounding Placa D’Espanya and spent an afternoon in Montjuc Park. We walked under the Arc de Triomf (think Paris plus palm trees), down the famous Diagonal, through the colourful seafood markets and along the historic pier.
Barcelona really is a city Nat and I could see living in
Our week there wasn’t without some hassle. We spent hours in line at the train and bus stations looking for information, walked miles in search of internet connections to use to book our next hotel and check the situation in the skies, and spent more money that we could afford to while missing a week of work at the same time. But we certainly handled it better than many of the other stranded travelers we saw. Note to the British guy in the internet café with us: Barcelona is a lot of things, but shithole isn’t one of them. Calm down.
We’re glad we didn’t go the frustrated crazy people route on this one. I’m sure we’ll remember the extra time in the city more than we’ll miss the money. It really is spectacular. In fact, now that I think about it, maybe we still need to go back.