We arrived in Barcelona last Saturday evening tired but excited because of all the good things we had heard. We ended up booking a last minute stay at Urbany hostel and had been assigned a very cramped female 6 bed dorm. Before I could get too far into my siesta, two gals walked in speaking English and I figured I should introduce myself. What I didn’t realize was how that quick hello could turn into a lifelong friendship and a great new adventure. The two girls we met met were Kayley and Sophie. Both Canadian and both traveling alone. They had met each other only 3 days prior when they were traveling in Malaga, and ended up in the same room as us now in Barcelona. We exchanged stories and travel plans and come to find out Kayley’s plan was almost identical to mine. She had been traveling about 3 weeks and was planning on staying in Europe till October before heading to SE Asia and Australia. So crazy! It was like it was meant to be. We looked at each other stoked that we knew we had just become travel buddies and the best was yet to come!
That night the four of us headed to a local club, or ‘disco’, Razzmatazz. It was claimed to be ‘the hottest club in Barcelona’ with its 5 stories and multiple DJs…but we weren’t super impressed. Maybe cause we have had Vegas to compare it to haha. But regardless it was fun hanging out with them and a good bonding night for all of us.
The next morning the girls introduced Jess and I to an English guy they had met the day before, Will, who was traveling on his own as well. Oh Will, the best way to describe him is just like a human lightning bug. Always happy and smiling and ready to light up a room. So full of life. It was infectious and there was no way you could be in a sour mood around him. We also met an Australian guy that morning named Michael, who you guessed it, was also traveling alone. We had now formed a super English speaking crew: US, Canada, UK, and AUS. So funny how that worked out. That day we decided to head to Barcelonetta beach. Will, already having explored the town was our tour guide, helping us familiarize ourselves with the metro system. (The city was WAY bigger than we had imagined and took about 25-30 minutes to get all the way across town) that day was the first time we witnessed pick pocketing on the Metro. At the beach stops the metro is so crowded you can barely move. This is prime time for pickpocketers as they storm the exit and block it so no one can get out. It was mayhem for about 20 seconds and no one knew what was going on cause this lady was yelling like someone was after her, when really she was the one doing the robbing. It looked like a fight was about to happen or just chaos. We were able to jump off without having anything taken but witnessed a few others throwing their hat down, pissed cause they had just gotten robbed.
That night after our much needed siesta we headed to the Magic fountain of Montjuïc which was kind of like world of color at Disneyland meets the water show outside the Venitian hotel in Vegas. The show went on for a good hour as we stood there mesmerized like little kids staring in awe. It was so pretty! We rounded off the night with a search for Mexican food. (Yes I know this was Spain) but Jess and I had a gnarly craving for chips and salsa. We eventually found it at almost midnight and indulged in a mediocre burrito. But I was so worth it haha! Our walk home that night was actually quite peaceful. Barcelona at night was almost better than the day because there were less people out and it was just nice to explore when it felt like you had the city to yourself.
The next day we had to switch hostels and moved toward the beach. Closer now to the water, however still not too great of a hostel. (I was not too stoked on any of the places we stayed here haha) That day we checked out La Sagrada Familia and did some walking about the city. When we returned we decided it might be good to do a little laundry. Unfortunately the dryer after many attempts wasn’t cooperating and we were left with 3 gals loads of laundry to hang dry in our tiny room. And well, this is what you got… Haha
That night we headed to the FC Barcelona game at Camp Nou stadium! The atmosphere was really fun and the stadium was huge! Barca totally killed the other team cause it was just a pre season game but it was still a great experience.
The following day we hiked up to Parc Guell with an amazing 360 view at the top. The whole hillside was really awesome with its Gaudi Architecture and fragmented tiles. It was really cool to see a different style after having seen so many similar style churches and cathedrals. His style was like dripping wet sand from your hand. Effortless, additive, and functional. It was beautiful in its imperfection.
That night we headed to the Festival de Gracia. Yet another street party! Except this one was quite different. Each street had its own theme, be it music, underwater, amazon, willy wonka, you name it! And they went all out using lights and recycled plastic material as their decorations. It was like grad night meets the rose parade style of decoration. Very handmade feel that brought out your childlike imagination. I feel like this was the theme of Barcelona. Bringing about art in unconventional ways and finding the beauty with in its differences.
The last day we checked out the market at Las Ramblas and had some lunch out that way as we did our last bit of site seeing. We also tried to be productive and book our next train tickets a day in advance. We had originally planned on staying a week longer and visiting some of the southern cities like Seville and Granada but it we heard from many people just how hot it was there and we weren’t sure if we could handle the heat. So we decided to plan our next stop further up the coast to Nice and Monaco in the south of France.
We decided since it was our last night in Spain to stay out all night at the ‘disco’ in order to take advantage of the time we had left but also to be sure we would be awake to make our early 7:20am train. However, what ended up happening next was entirely different. We ended up not leaving the venue until 5:45am right after my clutch and phone had gotten stolen from basically right underneath me. I was sitting out in front of the beachfront club with some new friends and had my sandals and clutch tucked somewhat under my legs. While sitting there a guy came around trying sell us roses, leaned over to show us the flowers and must have snagged my bag in the process. I was so pissed when I got up and realized but he was long gone and I was in too much of a rush for it all to really sink in. Because of this we were late, sprinting, trying to get to the train station and still ended up missing our train and having to eat the non-refundable tickets. And for our new friend Kayley, since she didn’t have the eurorail pass, it meant having to more or less throw away 75 euros. Now it was like we had both been robbed. Such a horrible way to start the day.
Trying to figure out a new plan of attack, the ticket agent told us there were spots on a much slower local train that could take us to the border for little extra cost and we would have to figure the rest out from there. So we went with that and realized the train we got put on was more like a glorified metro. With hard plastic upright seats, cold floors, and no outlets to charge the dying 2 phones we had left. I had been the navigator for the most part this trip and now I hadn’t a phone, and the girls phones were about to die. We somehow slept a little on the janky train and laughed as we looked out the window and it started to rain. We couldn’t catch a break. When it rains, it pours, literally.
This series of unfortunate events left us pretty down and not sure what our next move would be. Kayley tried rallying our spirits and saying that maybe we weren’t meant to make that train and that would we would find some meaning in all of this. But at the time I didn’t see anything positive coming from the occurrences of the last 2 hours other than that we were moving forward. We now had a ticket to the border of France. From there we had to hop on another train at the tiny station without a ticket hoping it would take us near Montpellier where the original train was supposed to drop us. It ended up being quite a beautiful train ride along the coastline as the rain cleared. Exhausted still and hoping to make a third connection in our already 6 hour journey things were looking up. Even though we had no idea where we were even staying that night, we were together, our losses were merely monetary, and my phone was just an object that could be replaced. In a shitty situation I was still in a beautiful place. And I wasn’t going to let a little bad luck get to me.
Yesterday marked my one month of traveling and oh what a month it has been. 5 countries and 8 cities later I have experienced an array of highs and lows but luckily the good has out weighed the bad; and things I’ve realized, really do have a way of working themselves out. The journey continues. Que será será.