Sunday, September 28, 2014

Day 12 - Barcelona

Will it ever stop?  I came back from breakfast where I had the best croissant and fresh squeezed orange juice.  And it started raining.  

My host loaned me an umbrella.  Forever grateful.

I walked the streets to the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, the grand work of architect Antoni Gaudi.  There was a long lineup even in the rain.  

Every person who has told me about this site has told me that I must buy my ticket on line to jump the queue.  Everyone else must be told the same thing.  So why is there a line up at all?

I turned up the Ave di Gaudi, another one of those streets mostly about walking rather than cars.  

Life is quiet on Sundays in Spain.  But here restaurants and bars were open.  

At the end of the street was the Hospital de la Sta. Creu i Sant Pau:

This is bigger than it looks - it covers 9 blocks and is divided into 46 pavilions.

And it rained.  And rained.

On the way back to my room, I found a patisserie with mini croissants.  (Yes, it is becoming a food group.)

I stumbled upon another store that was selling prepared foods.  I got paella and pasta.  Both were incredibly yummy.

And it rained.  And rained.  

Day 11 - Travelling to Barcelona

The powers of observation.  I had stood in the queue for a while before I noticed that we actually had to get a number.  

By this time, there were quite a few people ahead of me.  And finally, it was my turn.  

When I got to the wicket, I opened up my iPad to show my electronic ticket.  This was the message in front of me - iPad is disabled.  

I couldn't even explain to the Renfe train rep that I didn't have the confirmation number for my ticket.  

I waved my hand.  And went to the sitting area. 

Usually I copy down travel information in my Moleskin notebook I carry with me.  But I had not.  

And then I remembered that Renfe had sent me an email confirmation.  I download messages on both the iPhone and iPad.  And there it was!  

Here's the goods on the iPad.  It is out of commission until I can get it on some home turf, like a wifi it recognizes or the computer.  An iPad becomes disabled when there have been 6 false attempts.  None of it was me directly.  I carried the iPad in my bag (note to self:  next time power it down) and with the movement as I was walking, I figure that the number keys were being pushed.  

I miss my iPad.  It has all of my entertainment for the long flight home - books, movies, even music.  The iPhone does not have that.  

I am annoyed that MY iPad is inaccessible to ME.  Allegedly for my own good.  

And I am doing what you do when you are travelling and something goes wrong.  You just gotta go with the flow.  

Just figure it out.  

The appeal to travelling is never quite knowing what is going to happen.  As Pema Chodron says, getting comfortable with uncertainty.  

Taking a train - what a great idea! 

I get to see it all.  But fast.  There is a display in the coach that shows the speed at the time.  We reached a maximum of 199 kms per hour.  

And I got to see:

And cities and tunnels.  

I arrived in Barcelona in the early evening where I had begun 10 days before.  The new host had given good instructions.  A new Metro for me.  

And maneuvering new streets.  And I landed at my new home for 2 days.  

I am in a building with the window in my room facing the back.  Quiet!  

My host was prepared - guidebook, map, and explained it all clearly and succinctly.   Today I found out he is a teacher.  

Out for dinner and then I was done!

Day 10 - Valencia

I heard the rain before I opened my eyes. My plans - beach and laundry - were swept away.  

By late afternoon, the sky had lightened up enough that I made my way to the beach.  

Most of the other people there were either fishing or one of those walker types that have a mission.

And then it was time for dinner.  I am getting used to eating at 9 or 10.  This evening I had the company of two other travellers, both from France.  

They each know 3 languages (at least) and luckily for me one of them was English.  What a delight to have conversations beyond logistics.

After dinner, one of my companions suggested that we go for wine at a local bar.  The walk was one of those kinds - where one person thinks it is just down the street and the other thinks - are we going into another town?  

The latter was me.  

The trick is to have good company.  

Red wine and a shared cheese cake!  And when I turned into bed it was 2 am.  Impressive!