Barcelona, Spain

I left Kellie, who wanted to spend an extra night in San Sebastian, and jumped on my train. Despite the comfort of the roomy tran and being very tired due to a late night out in San Sebastian, I couldn’t sleep much. Nonetheless I enjoyed a glass of wine and put my makeup on and got ready for Friday night in Barcelona, arriving on the train at 10:15 and at the famed party hostel, Kabul, at about 10:40pm.

Unfortunately, when I arrived, they were closing the shift, and said I would have to wait about fifteen minutes. An American who had been in the same situation the night before said it would be more like an hour: it took two. During this time I had nothing to do but change in the bathroom because the change in heat from cold San Sebastian was striking, and have a few mojitos with the American and a friendly hostel worker. By the time I and the others waiting were able to actually get into our rooms it was quarter to one and I just had time to dump my things, run nearby to get a delicious kebab because I was hungry before everyone took taxis to the fancy nightclub of choice that night.

I jumped in a taxi with a very friendly Torontonian couple who had also been highly disgruntled by the wait to check in, and had had worse problems waiting two hours for a Ryanair shuttle that never came. We tried to enjoy what was clearly a good, big club with lots of different rooms, but I was so tired that I, and the others with me, left after what did not feel like long. This was also after the lady had her money pickpocketed. By the time we and another guy taxid back we realised it was nearly 4:30am! Alas, there was no food nearby to eat, unlike there would have been in Australia!

The next day I tried to sleep in as much as possible but this proved impossible with the loud amplified music of a band from Placa Real, on which we were situated, coming straight in through the open windows. I was confused and thought the hostel might have been trying to wake us up for breakfast or similar as the loud music played every half an hour or so from 9.30, and it was so loud I thought it was coming from the hostel. I eventually worked out it was just the band from the touristy Placa. Also, in my 22 bed dorm, loud people were waking up and talking and banging the metal lockers loudly with no abatement so I had to get up and go find some food as there would be no sleep in. Upon waking, I was irate to discover the fool who had been in the bunk below mine had, probably in a drunken stupor, left one of his thongs neatly next to mine and taken one of mine. Luckily I have over packed and had a spare pair.

I walked around and was disappointed to find none of the touristy restaurants in the nearby VERY touristy street La Rambla were serving breakfast any more. Not wanting spaghetti or paella, I went back to the same kebab place and ordered the hummus version. This was grossly disappointing compared with the meat version, mainly due to the sauerkraut, which I realise is very unappetising to me.

In the kebab shop I looked up somewhere nearby I could get a single room for the following night as I figured I would simply not get enough sleep in my noisy hostel. I found one on my phone before it ran out of battery – there was also nowhere to charge our phones in that hostel, except in reception, which is always queued with people.

I made my way back to the hostel, booked a single room for the following night in another hostel 20 minutes walk away, and asked reception about the walking tour that was scheduled to leave at 1pm. She told me it wouldn’t be leaving from the hostel as usual but that I had to walk to another meeting point. I asked what time they left from there and sure enough, it was 1. She was in the middle of calling to ask the lady to wait when I hurried off to meet them. Naturally when I arrived at the statue of Christopher Columbus there was no sign of them.

Peeved, I walked down into the tourist office that was directly underneath this statue and booked myself onto a 4pm 15 euro two hour walking tour that apparently focussed on the works of Gaudi and other famous architects. That gave me time to go back to the hostel and attempt a nap: however, this proved not particularly fruitful with the loud artists, clapping and shouting from the Placa Real and people coming in and out of my room. After an interlude with an American who didn’t understand me when I said the time was ‘5 past 3’, I went off to my walking tour, which was a fair walk away.

Although I regretted the one day I randomly decided not to bring my hat as it was quite glary with the sun so low, the tour proved interesting as a fairly large group of us were shown around some famous and interesting buildings that were in the modernist and neo-gothic style, particularly those created by Gaudi. We had audio packs so we could get a lot of information as we walked, and the guide told us a lot of background story.

I strode directly back to the hostel after the tour. By the time I got there – they always finish the tour not at all near where it started – I only had time to try a half an hour or so nap before getting up to get ready before the included dinner. This proved even more fruitless than the last time as a huge group of loud Irish lads crowded around my bunk talking extremely loudly and leaning on it so that it shook. When I gave up and got up and down from my bunk and began to open my suitcase, someone standing almost on top of it did not even make a move to get out of the way. Irate, I got ready, getting all my things wet in the process as this was yet another ridiculously designed shower with nowhere to put your things.

Wanting to have nothing to do with any of the inconsiderate people in my room, I went directly to the common room / bar area and sat down with a group of cheerful looking people. They were two Australian males and two Torontonian females and we passed many hours, as we had to before the club entrance at 1:30am, just talking and requesting music during the request music hour. We ate the free dinner of pasta and bread. We also marvelled at a very risque and seemingly hilarious Spanish movie that was playing on silent. I discovered via Facebook that Kellie would not be joining me at all in Barcelona, until the end of the month before Ibiza, because she had badly sprained her ankle and was stuck in San Sebastián.

Eventually we got to the club at 1:30, and despite all going together, the two Australians immediately abandoned us girls. Nonetheless us three stuck together and enjoyed Bloc Party, a famous band that was playing in this, the second largest club in Europe, and who were indeed very good. The club was packed and the atmosphere was good, but I was so exhausted I had to leave after not very long. I was also not impressed with how difficult it was for me to find the exit from the club. I just wanted to try to sleep!

After another night in which the loud Irish guys came in at probably 5am and had a long and loud conversation, I again was unable to sleep in due to the same inconsiderate people in the room, although being Sunday there was less action in the Placa Real. Being cumulatively more tired, however, I think I managed to doze in and out of sleep a bit more until I again gave up, went to get a baguette for breakfast, got my luggage together then charged my phone before the walking tour. I met with the two Torontonians who were going on the walking tour and grabbed a quick takeaway coffee from next door before the tour: however they don’t really do takeaway here so it was kind of an improvised affair in two plastic cups.

We were led to the meeting point of the tour, only to discover when we got there that due to lack of numbers it was cancelled for that day! Of course, this normally doesn’t happen etc etc, but it seems to be following me around Spain. I was assured it would happen the next day.

Still too tired to do much, I went directly back to the hostel, collected my luggage and walked to my new hostel, the Buba House, where I checked into my small but blissfully private room and had an hour long nap. I expected to want more sleep than this but after an hour I woke and was feeling better so I decided not to waste the day and head for the beach.

Head for the beach I did but I didn’t get far before I felt a bit peckish and decided to stop for some Spanish food, aware that it was my second last day in Spain. I had a random starter plate of cheese and something claiming to be Catalonian sausage, and which came in a delicious but highly unhealthy potatoey sausagey cheesy patty type concoction.

I remembered I needed to print out my boarding pass for my following day’s EasyJet flight to Nice, so after some unsuccessful attempts to access the site on my mobile I went back to the nearby hostel and got it organised on the computer there.

I then changed into jeans because it was chilly in the shade and strode off in the direction of the beach. By the time I got there it was about 6.30 but I enjoyed some atmosphere, especially in the form of a group of musicians playing on the sand. On the way back to the hostel I passed down some different streets and passed some nicer looking restaurants and bars that made me think Barcelona was not so obnoxiously touristy as had been my first unpleasant impression from the La Rambla street near the other hostel.

I also checked out a cathedral.

It took me significantly longer to get back to the hostel than I had thought, but I didn’t mind until I was right near the hostel and a youth blocked my way, darting from side to side so I couldn’t get past. Annoyed by this idiocy, I swiftly went sideways to get around him but his mate said to me “if you want I can kill you and take your iPhone”. Not fully comprehending these words I gave him a greasy of annoyance and just kept striding away, sort of sideways to get around him. He didn’t follow and receded behind. Now they either just guessed I had an iPhone because my headphones were in my ears and sticking out of my bag, or he had been following me from earlier when I took it out to check the directions. I wasn’t sure what he expected to happen though: maybe he thought he would just frighten me into giving my iPhone. There were plenty of people walking past simultaneously so I don’t know what he was going to do, but I have read stories on the internet where people have been mugged in a crowded street like that in Barcelona. Luckily my hostel was very close so I quickly went inside and won’t be leaving again today, but sheesh, not my idea of a good end to the day.

I woke up somewhat refreshed but probably not having had had quite as much sleep as I would like, probably due to my determination to sleep. Free breakfast later I walked to my old hostel to return the key half an hour late but not particularly concerned and neither were they. I wandered around a bit, heading to the pretty dock at the end of La Rambla, and had a coffee in the Placa Real before the walking tour at 1pm.

This walking tour was only an hour and the guy spoke a bit fast, but it didn’t overlap at all with the other one, rendering me glad I did that too. I had enough time to join everyone back at the hostel for the free pasta lunch, which I had no idea we received, and which they luckily didn’t check room keys for, unlike at dinner.

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