Barcelona: The City of Thieves
Barcelona Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
October 28th, 2009 - October 31st, 2009
After getting off the overnight train from Paris to Barcelona my new friend and I headed to the metro where I was pickpocketed. Someone had 'marked' me by spilling coffee on my backpack from a bridge walking from the train station to the Sanz metro station. Another person came up to me and told me I had dirt on my backpack. I continued to walk, ignoring the guy. Going down the stairs to the metro another gentlemen had told me I had something on my backpack. He gave me some kleenex and I continued into the metro. We bought our tickets and it wasn't until we were inside the metro waiting for the train to come that I put my bags down and wiped it off. I set my laptop bag right beside my backpack and started wiping it off. When the train came, I picked up my backpack only to realize my laptop bag was missing. In panic, the guy I met on the overnight train tried to reassure me everything would be okay and we went over to the train staff. They told us to go to the police. Every second that passed, I began to panic even more. In this bag was my Eurorail pass, my passport, my computer and other valuables. We finally made it to the police station, in what was the longest time of my life, only for the station to be closed because of a leak. Just my luck, the Canadian Consolate was across the street, so we went there. They were extremely nice, helped me get a new passport in 24 hours, calmed me down and let me call home to tell me mom. The first 5 minutes of Barcelona ended up being the beginning of the worst day of my life. I spent all day between the Canadian Consulate, the police station and getting passport photos, by the time I finally found the hostel I didn't feel like doing anything, so I went for a long walk down Passeig de Garcia. I found a restaurant way down by the water, in a dark, old alley that served great chicken Paella and played some local spanish music. Paella by the way is a rice dish with a bunch of vegetables, in a black pan-like dish served right out of the oven.
The next day I needed to get out and stop worry about my stuff and try to enjoy Barcelona. I found myself by Port Vell *which is actually half the city - I know, because I got lost in it) where sailing ship was docked. I met a Canadian member on board that told me all about the crews peace mission and how they'd been traveling from Mexico through America across the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and about to head to Italy and back to South America. The port is beautiful, with tons of sailing boats. Made me want to meet a sailor and learn how to sail (unfortunately, that didn't happen - not this time anyway). Down the road is a monument of Christopher Columbus pointing out to the sea (I never did find out what he's pointing to - I believe it's south america). Later that day I headed over to the famous Parc Gruell, a park designed by Gaudi himself. To get to it, you travel up 7 escelators to the top where the park entrance is. I know because the little girl behind me said 'daddy, this is the 7th one, do you think there will be anymore?' At the top, there was a hang drummer, the noise echoed through the park with such magnificant sounds. It wasn't until a 20minute walk through the park that you see Gaudi's masterpiece, Parc Gruell, a park designed by Gaudi for Gruell and the rich and famous of Barcelona. Here you see buildings with Gaudi's signature broken mosaic tiles pieced together perfectly to great such rich images. As you continue up the staircase you witness Gaudi's signature creation, a lifesize mosaic geco that is just magnificant to see up close. The broken tiles are all pieced together so carefully that the vibrant colours make the giant geco appear to come to life. As you continue up the stairs, Gaudi designed a lookout of the entire city with benches designed with the broken mosaic tiles. It's no wonder Gaudi worked so long to create his buildings, they contain such detail I never seen before. Later I ventured through 'La Ramba' for the first time, where I saw some amazing costumes. The most elaborate I'd ever seen in my life was a two-person design in gold and black. One had been sitting in a King-like chair with a puppet that only showed his face when you gave them money, and the other, sitting with his legs crossed 3-feet in the air holding nothing but a staff. I still don't know how he was suspended to this day. That night I ventured outside of the tourist areas and tried some traditional Spanish tapas, 'Calamares a la Romana' - aka. fried squid. That night the hostel I stayed with was organizing an event out. We stayed in the hostel until 2:00am drinking 'Sangria' - an alcoholic spanish drink that tastes like grape juice and red wine mixed together - quite delicious. We ended up going out to a club finally at 2:00am that cost 12 euros for a drink. A tad bit ridiculous, but the girls were hot!
The next day I ventured out of Barcelona on a gorgeous day (it must of been 25 celcius plus at the end of October - shorts weather). I took a train an hour outside of Barcelona and hopped on a chairlift to the top of Montserrat - a village ontop of one of most unique mountains in the world. After travelling to the top, I walked along a religous path that had statues of Jesus and various worshippers on the way. After taking a second chairlift, I followed a old monk path, first crossing an old monestary and continuing up to caves and a secret staircase the monks used ot use. The valley was absolutely breathtaking, with rock formation unlike anything else. It was the perfect way to spend a sunny day - outside in the sun. When I got back into Barcelona at night, I decided to eat out by the sea. I picked a restaurant that offered Cured Ham, it was suggested to me by Mike (a real friendly French gentlemen now living in Barcelona that I'd met on the overnight train). It was a little disappointing - all it was was a bunch of thin sliced peices of ham, like blackforest ham from the butcher I eat in grilled cheese sandwhiches. It didn't come with anything else, just a big plate of sliced ham. That night the hostel went out again, this Tommy, the hostel organizer came out and we went to two clubs on the beach of Barcelona. Great clubs, great atmosphere, great girls! This is where I heard Sexy B*tch by Akon for the first time. The DJ's in the second club were some of the best in the world!
The next morning I got a chance to finally visit the famous fish market in Barcelona. It was incredible, and I don't even like seafood. There was fresh fruit, fresh seafood (the legs on the crabs were still moving [not the most pleasant sight for me]) and tons of chocolate and candy. It was so colourful. I got some deliously, juicy pineapple and some chocolate for lunch before heading to meet a biking tour. Every day in Barcelona I'd been going to Plaça Sant Jaume to meet a Sagway tour and every day they wouldn't show. Finally, I decided to join a bike tour instead - there loss. We went throughout the city in hours, including the old town and cathedral, and even where the Saint of Barcelona lives. He pointed out where people would be burned to death and told of a story about a girl that was tortured to death. She was first stuffed in a barrel with broken glass and tar and rolled around the streets of Barcelona for a day. The second day she was stretched out from her arms and legs. And when she was still alive on the third day they burned her to death to set an example not to worship Jesus. She was only 13 years old. Three years later, Barcelona became Roman Catholic. We ventured past the Opera House Gaudi created, although you can hardly see it with all the other buildings so close. Then through a park, which had a Arc of Triumph - similar to the one in Paris, but less grand. We biked through a park where a bunch of local spanish girls yelled 'Olla' to us, and I of course yelled Olla back - and they giggled. haha. At the end of the park was a beautiful fountain that made the fountains at Versailles look like child's play. While everyone was admiring the fountain, I took the opportunity to have a photo op with mounted Spanish police. We rode past where Bull fighting takes place - unfortunately it wasn't bull fighting season (I would of liked to see what it was all about - as contraversial as it is). The next stop was the famous 'La Sagrada Familia', Gaudi's legacy - which won't be completed until 2030. From the distance, it looks like vertical calcium buildup in a cave. But upclose it's a masterpiece. Too beautiful and perfect to express in words. When finished it will have a total of 17 towers, going as high, but not higher then the Mont Montjuic. Gaudi didn't believe any man-made building should be created taller than that which God himself created. 12 towers represent the disciples, 4 the apostles, and the largest Jesus himself. After that, we headed over to the beach to grab some lunch. It was awesome being on the beach, the sand between my toes at the end of October. After that we completed the tour and I headed over to the chairlift to get to Montjuic. It cost 9 euros to go by chairlift over the port (Not even return - what a rip off). It cost another 8 to go up to Mont Juic and back. It was a rip off, but there was some nice views. I went back to the famous 'La Ramba' for dinner where I had two tapas (fried squid again) and Paella. That night Russell, the Swede and I went out to a Jaxx club. We wouldn't pay the 20 euro cover to get into the Jaxx club so we went to the Irish pub instead. 5 Euro beers in Barcelona - thank god for the Irish (in Barcelona, that's a steal). On the way out we saw 3 guys being arrested for pickpocking (atleast the police got someone).
The next day I flew to the breathtaking country of Switzerland for my Swiss experience.