I seem to start every day with how I mess something up. Today was no different. The hotel has schedule shuttle busses to take guests to Las Ramblas, the heart of Barcelona. I came down at 830a for the 9a shuttle which I reserved last night.
At 9am I saw two airport shuttles. About 10 minutes later I was told that that one of them was the city shuttle. Great. I kept my temper in check, after all, I did see it and should have asked the question. Not that anyone should have told me what the shuttle looked like or anything. Whatever.
A taxi would be about €20- that would mean I wouldn't be able to eat lunch in the city. Then I was told if I just got outside and wait for the 165 take it to the end of the line then take a metro for four stops I can be at La Ramblas too.
I walked out the front door only memorizing "165, 165" and where exactly outside was I supposed to go? I mean a vague wave of the hand looks stylish but doesn't actually give directions. But I just wanted to go. I was thinking of leaving earlier, but lapsed into "I'll do the easy thing." And for some reason on this this, the easy way out hasn't been working for me.
Luckily, I've got an angel on my shoulder working overtime. I saw that there was a bus idling across the street and surprise, surpise, it was bus 165.
I got on, I gave him €2 because that's what it was in Milan-they're starting to run together-when Mr Bus Driver said "mas" so I held out my handful of change and he picked out another €0.15 because I was in Barcelona where the bus rides are €2,15 as they put it. I was the only rider for a good 10mins.
It was a long 45mins. It's always long when your uncertain of where exactly it is you are going to. The only reason I knew it was the end of the line was because ever rider stood up and left.
Before I left Chicago, I invested in a Barcelona Bus Turista ticket. It gave me the hop on/off bus tour. I also noticed I got a 2day pass. I knew I was going to regret sitting in the room yesterday, but now I've got clean clothes!
When I stepped off 165, I saw a double decker Barcelona Bus Turista bus! I made a beeline for the bus and got my pass. There are three lines, the red line takes about 2hrs from start to finish. The blue line takes about 90mins but it takes you to Sagrada Familia (one of the only things I knew Barcelona had). The green line takes you around the beaches of Barcelona.
Priority was Sagrada Familia, I heard about it from a story NBC's Matt Lauer had done during the 1992 Olympics. I knew I just didn't have the time and the €15 was also a bit too much for me.
I got off the bus and bought some postcards but no stamps. No problem. Then I got back on the bus where after the Sagrada Familia, I actually fell asleep on the bus! I would jerk awake just before I'd topple over in my seat but still, I fell asleep.
That didn't seem to be right. My eye was getting better and the cough wasn't as bad, so why was I so sleepy? I decided I'd get off at the Pc. De Catalunya where I could walk to the famous La Ramblas.
There was a lot of people at La Rambla and there was many warnings about the beggars and steet performers how most are dishonest! I was expecting some kind of circus atmosphere. It was just a bunch of tourists walking around. There were street performers and some guys were selling this little thing you put in your mouth to make an annoying noise. Didn't see anyone taking them up on it!
I heard there was a shop that took me through the whole history of ham and at the end, free tastings. I got distracted by the wet market about half way down La Ramblas.
That was a great place, it was an attack on your senses, lots of different smells, from the crazy overloaded sweet shops, the the fresh fruits that look like they had all been photoshopped with extra vibrant colors, to the fresh meat and fish.
I saw two places that had counter space for lunch and both were full of people. I didn't have enough money to do a full sit down lunch, so I strolled around.
They had meat on a stick for €1 and they had breaded and deep fried sea food. I hadn't had anything breaded and deepfried yet so I went for something that was just €3.50. Then I went for a cold coconut drink that was really good.
I love that kind of local stuff, we don't have wet markets in Chicago. We're all too scared about food poisoning and salmonella. We ARE the country that invented anti-bacterial everything.
I finished off my ride on the red line and took it to Placa Espanya where I had originally started my Barcelona Bus Turistic rides.
Of course, being me, I got distracted by this church on a hill with a fountain and columns and, you get the idea. Placa Espanya is a circle intersection with a statue and a fountain in the middle, I ended up walking all the way around each corner until I got to the bus stop that my bus stopped at. All I had to do was once I got off the tour bus, I needed to just cross the street at that corner instead of sight seeing.
When I got back to the hotel, it was later than I wished so that's why this post is a bit late, I passed out in mid-writing. Then I had to wake to catch the airport shuttle, which is another story.
I do regret wasting my first day doing laundry, I enjoyed Barcelona immensely and should have given myself more days here. But I've a sensitive nose and although I don't care if I offend anyone, but when I offend myself, it's time to get the soap out.