The first night I sleep soundly for over 12 hours, not only do I awake rested, I have quickly adjusted to the 6 hour time change.
The weather forecast is for near perfect weather for the next several days, a forecast that proves to be accurate. I quickly become a typical tourist and visit a number of the most popular tourist spots including Sagrada Familia, Parc Guell, Montjuic Castle, The Magic Fountain, Etc. I take both routes on the narratted Hop On Hop off bus, my favorite way to get an overview of an unfamiliar city.
I had considered a day trip to the nearby country of Andora, but with it being much colder in the mountains, I decided to forgo that for this trip.
Despite having kitchen facilities, I eat all of my meals in the local cafes within a few blocks of my apartment. the neighborhood is more of a residential neighborhood than a tourist area. I encounter no one that can speak English, but picture menus, and friendly patient shop owners overcome any language barriers. One of my favorite cafes is owned by a Chinese family where the eldest members work in the kitchen, the next generation behind a service counter and bar, and a young boy about 7 or 8 cleans tables as he takes a break from doing work in his school book. This is definitely a local spot as I recognize a couple patrons drinking beer at the bar each time I am there.
I find Barcelona a very clean friendly city. Traffic congestion is minimal. Drivers are courteous and patient, one seldom hears a horn blown. Even when crowded, there is no shoving or pushing on the Metro. One aspect I did find a little difficult to get used to was that elderly passengers are nearly always offered a seat by younger riders. Sometimes I would accept, other times I would decline. I just don't consider myself elderly.
Most of the Metro is handicap accessible with elevators. All the newer stations have escalators, and only a few of the oldest smaller stations only have stairs. The 10 different lines intersect at different stations throughout the city. The connection can be as close as the otherside of the same platform, or a 10 minute walk through an underground passageway. In one station the connection was about 150 feet vertically made by taking 5 escalators in succession. I'm sure glad the escalators were working when I was there.
On Friday others begin arriving. I had considered meeting them at the airport, but this was one tourist that was just too worn out by then. Besides, they are all very able to find theirown way to their apartment. We do communicate by text message, and everyone arrives safely even if late. We make plans to meet at Sagrada Familia Saturday morning.
Besides the people I expected to meet, the group is joined by Chris and his friend from London. Friends for several years, they came to Barcelona just to visit Jenn, Adrienne and Steve.
The temperatures have dropped into the 60's and there is an intermittent drizzle. Most of the group is headed to Parc Guell. Having been there a few days ago, I take a pass, but do invite everyone to see my apartment as it is only 5 minutes out of the way, and provides a good restroom break.
The Hola Barcelona Travel Card is the way to travel within the city. For a few dollars per day, you can enjoy unlimited metro passage. Taking an extra train of two is easy and there is no financial consequence to be considered.
Since she is here, I have Alyssa help interpret the instructions on the washer and dryer. When she leaves I don't feel I got my monies worth for her college education and the study abroad program she attended here in Spain. Regardless, I will figure it out.
My landlord left me with a bottle of wine, so I make plans to meet up with everyone else at the much larger apartment my daughters have rented. It is about 30 minutes away by Metro. While yes it is larger, with 6 people sleeping there I might actually have more square feet of space per person.
Being our dinner time we head to a local place on the corner. The rain and the hour and it is no problem making a table for the 9 of us to eat inside. Not only does our waiter speak English, they have menus in English. definitely a location in the tourist area of town.
As has been the case everywhere, the food is good. After dinner we return to the apartment where we are joined by more friends headed to the ship. I think we have wine not only from Spain, but wines brought from Egypt, Great Britian, and Scotland.
Before midnight, I head back to the Metro to go home. Surprisingly, no drunks, no bad behavior. This certainly is not a US city.
Tomorrow it is time to head to the Symphony.