Absynth, Awkward Moments, and New Friends
Barcelona Travel Blog› entry 16 of 98 › view all entries
Booking my last two train tickets had been quick and easy, so I went with this, and figured it would be relatively the same to buy my train ticket to Barcelona this morning. I got to the Atoche train station only to find a big waiting room full of people. It didn't take long to figure out this experience was going to be a bit like the DMV-take a ticket and wait your turn, for quite a while I might add. I had been thinking I could catch the 12:30 train, but alas everything was sold out until 4 PM, meaning I wouldn't arrive until about 9 PM. This made me realize that I really needed to do some actual planning-trains can take up most of your day, so if I booked two nights in a city, but didn't actually get there until night, that means only one full day of sight seeing, which is entirely too short for most cities, at least the ones I was going to.
I took advantage of the next four hours to sit in a cafe in the train station's garden area, sip a beer, enjoy a sandwich, and spread out my Eurail map and timetable in front of me. It was actually kind of nice to just relax, and the big garden with towering trees made me feel more like I was in a park, than in a bustling train station. I planned out my next two weeks, down to which trains I needed to take from certain stations, and at what time. Now I can actually book hostels and message people with couchsurfing requests. When I tried to plan Croatia trains, I hit a bump in the road and realized that there were no times listed for several of the routes, and I'm not entirely sure how that will all work, but there's no way I'm missing a country that promises to be so beautiful-I'll figure it out.
When finally in Barcelona, my face lit up, realizing I was finally in a city I'd been wanting to go to for years, ever since I took Spanish in high school. I was looking forward to the night life though, almost just as much as what I'd see during the day. My hostel, The Yellow Nest, was super easy to find, and as I found my bed in the all female dorm, I was eager to meet someone to hang out with tonight. The first girl to walk in the room was a Chinese girl, who wasn't terribly friendly. Disappointed, I decided to check my email. I'm on the shortlist of top candidates for the SFSU Industrial/Organizational master's program! So stoked; this is one of the best programs in the country for what I do. Dr. Warren wants to have a phone interview with me on Monday, which means that I'll be interviewing from France, so fingers crossed and praying that the whole international call works out. With the realization that I may actually get in somewhere other than CSULB, where I got my undergrad and know about 5.6 million people (ok so maybe exaggerating a bit), I began to get a little nervous. This could mean a whole new city for me, a new set of friends, completely away from anything I know. Everything will work out for the best though, and with this thought, I was back on my mission to make friends.
Now, I haven't stayed in a lot of hostels yet, but walking downstairs I was really impressed with the huge lounge room complete with pool tables, couches, stage, dining area, and even a cinema room for watching movies. I spotted a group of guys smoking at a table in the corner and went to talk to them. One from LA (Jason), and the others from the Netherlands; it wasn't long before I had an invitation to go out with them that night. Everyone was drinking beer or whiskey and I decided I should probably have at least one beer, so I headed to the store with a Norwegian and the guy from LA, then we all headed up to the terrace, complete with a basketball court and lounge chairs. Soon we had a decent sized group, adding an Italian guy, my bunkmate from Maine (McKenzie) and a girl from Walnut Creek, near my hometown (Ashley). What a small world! Ashley was soon splitting with us, as the guy she had come to travel with had gotten absolutely smashed, picked an argument, and just left her in the middle of Barcelona. What a jerk, who does that? But with promises to hang out and see the sights the next day together, we wished her good luck and were off.
Soon enough the Norweigan boys were sloppy drunk as well, and we were slightly embarassed, hoping no one would notice they were with us. We went to a really cool absynth bar that was rumored to have been a hang out spot for Van Gogh, back in the day. The place was very old looking, decorated with old bottles and chandaleirs that appeared to not have been dusted for about 50 years, which may not be far from the truth. McKenzie was all of a sudden drunk, as she had not only her absynth, but half of mine, and it was quite entertaining watching her bounce from one group of guys to another, practicing her Spanish, which gets better as she drinks, so she insists.
The next stop was an Irish Pub, with fantastic deals of only 2 Euro per beer, and a free shot with your first. Sweet! I started talking to Jason and before I knew it he was hitting on me, and kept trying to kiss me. 'There's nothing wrong with wanting to kiss a pretty girl,' he says. I don't want to tell him I'm just plain not attracted, and that I don't just go around kissing people, so I settle for the old stand-by, 'You're just not my type,' but it was still a bit weird after that, and I was ready to head back.
Finally home, I was glad to be away from the awkwardness that had become Jason, but looking forward to seeing Barcelona tomorrow. All in all, today was pretty fantastic and I already love the city!