Monday, February 23, 2009

Arrival in Barcelona

So after another stressful "adventure" (as I like to call it - Suzanne prefers a more colorful description) getting into town and finding our way through the Bario Gotico (thanks again, Miguel!), we finally arrived at our apartment. While the pictures on the web looked great, we were thrilled to find that the apartment exceeded expectations. Set in the heart of the old quarter, it was an old converted carriage house with huge 5 meter wood doors that opened up onto a small plaza for spectacular views of the original roman wall literally a few steps directly in front of us. This medieval wall was over 2,000 years old and originally contained the entire town, Barcino. The apartment was colorfully lit with moorish lamps and had huge ceilings and many funky details that made it all the more charming, particularly when the roman wall was lit up at night. It was just as pretty from the outside - on our first night, several passers-by stood on their toes to try to peak through the windows to see what was inside. Perhaps the most unusual feature was an outdoor bathroom and shower, housed in an open, semi-enclosed courtyard in the center of the building. While probably a lot of fun in the summer, let's say its charm quickly wore off when we had to make late night dashes to the toilet in the middle of the cold February night. And showers in the morning were "refreshing", for lack of a more colorful term! Other than that, it was a perfect setup for us and we were right in the heart of all the historic sites, with many cool bars, cafes and shops right around the corner. Many days we would just wander up and down the narrow medieval streets, perhaps stop and see a church or exhibit and then look for a cosy place to have a nice lunch, topped of by a cafe cortado (espresso with just a splash of milk). Other than the first day, we certainly had no use for our car and it pained me to no end to fork over 30 euros a day for parking. Next time, we will take the train!

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