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!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Day 9 - Valencia

Transportation!  Next to accommodation, this keeps me pretty occupied.  The fastest route to downtown Valencia is via tram and metro, I was told by my hosts.  "Go out the door and turn right," they said.   

And right, I would like to add.  Perhaps they thought I was a clever one and could figure out certain stuff on my own and maybe and probably that language issue is so daunting that there is only so much you can tell.  

As I walked down the streets, I watched the trams come and go and could see that there was no station where I expected.  So I just kept observing.  And there it was.  

The machine to buy the tickets was similar to Barcelona and it also had an English feature.  The last instruction was to be sure to validate the ticket.  What?  The tram arrived and I had no idea of I was to validate it on the tram or where.  I sat down on the bench.  The tram left.  A person arrived and took a card out of his pocket and put it on another machine.  Validate?  I took my ticket and did the same thing.  

And I was on the tram.  I had studied my stops, paying attention to the one before my stop.  And in 10 minutes, like I was told, I was at the transfer.  "Get off the tram and go down into the Metro."  Yep.  The Metro was right there.  And off we went.  I looked at the name of the next stop and realized I was going in the opposite direction.  Off the Metro and over to the other side.  

A person has got to keep their wits about them.  

When I came above ground, I decided not to look like a tourist opening a map on the street.  I went into a shop, ordered ice cream and opened my map.  The ice cream was my camouflage.  The streets in downtown Valencia are not parallel.  But the most problematic issue was that I had no idea where on the map I was.  I had to ask. 

"Donde esta Plaza de la Reina?"  

The server pointed me in a direction.  And I located myself on the map, sort of.  Mostly every time I turned a corner, I noted a significant landmark.  

Downtown Valencia is an amazing blend of old and new.  Cathedrals next to Louis Vuitton.  

I found Plaza de la Reina and the Bus Turistic.  As in Barcelona, there are two routes where you can hop on or hop off and receive the tour instructions in the language of your choice via headsets.  

Valencia is a beautiful city with a lot of greenery.  At some point in the 1950s, the city which was prone to flooding, had a disaster where quite a few lives were lost.  The decision was to divert the river.  The old riverbed is now mostly green space with gardens and play areas.

I learned a lot about the history of Valenica of which I remember very little.  Here is what I heard over and over again:

"In the year _____, the ruler of the country, __________, rebuilt the city in the style of __________ who was one of the great architects of the city along with _________, _________, ________ and ________."

An hour and a half later, I was back at the Plaza.  And I hopped on the second bus which took us down to the waterfront where again there were some impressive buildings.  Valencia is devoted to arts and sciences and these buildings are the proof of it.  

I must say that these tour bus companies have a good idea.  I am quite fond of the idea of getting an overview of the city.  

And I was back in the Plaza de la Reina.  Finding my way home.  

I happened again upon Sephora so now if anyone needs any help in either Barcelona or Valencia in getting to Sephora, I am the one to help.  

Strolling the streets of Valencia is a great place to walk.  The empty street is not typical.   The city is the third largest in Spain - and it looks like a lot of people like to visit.   

Day 8 - Travelling to Valencia

I caught the sun between raining engagements.  The plan was to explore more on Ibiza before I caught the flight to Valencia.  

I would call myself a "sun opportunist," in that I keep it in the periphery.  I had some work to do - packing up and finalizing my accommodation in Barcelona.  This one was not easy and what I had been working on for several days.  The amount that I was quoted was less than the actual amount when I went to book. 

Eventually I found out that I was being charged a weekend rate.  I was barely aware that I was booking on a weekend.  After several closed bookings and the disappointment of not staying in those places, I finally secured a bed in Barcelona.  I am grateful that there are lots of choices.

Once that was done and the sun came out, I went down to the Sea and wandered around, watching from the shade.  Two reasons:  I was wearing a black shirt (what???) and I would be tempted to go in the water.  

Ibiza - morning of my departure

I had a lovely last stroll through Sant Antoni de Pontmany.  

And I found my way to the bus station, winding my way through the streets.  The walk is about 15 minutes though I would be hard pressed to find it on my own.  I had a real sense of accomplishment at saving myself 6 Euros by not taking a taxi.  It amuses me to no end when I do something that seems difficult at the beginning.  

And then it started raining.  Again.  

Mini flooding.  I was quite fortunate in that I never got caught in the downpour.  Other passengers were not so lucky.   We picked up a couple along the way who were waiting underneath a bus stop, not very much protection.  They were wet.  When we got off the bus at the airport, the man lifted my suitcase off the bus for me.  Generosity in the midst of his own trials.  Thank you.  

The flight from Ibiza to Valencia was 30 minutes.  Maybe.  I explained to the flight attendant that I had a sore knee and I got a front row seat.  I am mostly having trouble with stairs but what was entertaining was that when we boarded the plane, I had to go down 3 flights of stairs to get onto the tarmac to go up to the plane.  My knee was saying, "what the hell!"  Probably that was my mind.  My knee was probably begging, "Can we just go slow?"  

I am doing remarkably well with the knee.  I faithfully do the exercises prescribed by the Victoria Athletic Therapist, Eryn.  I am frequently caught unawares by the amount of walking that I am doing.  And the surprise stairs.  

Landing in Valencia was easy.  I went by cab to my new abode.  I am staying with a delightful family of 3.  I felt quite welcomed!  There are several house guests including one from France who also speaks English and Spanish fluently.  She is priceless when I get myself into language pickles. 

I know quite a few words in Spanish.  The challenge now is to string them together.  I find that people are quite helpful and can understand me when I don't need anything too complicated.  And I had a conversation with the man of the house yesterday - several sentences!  It went like this:  

- How are you doing?  
- Well.  I am a little tired.  And you?
- I am well.
- Did you go downtown today?
- Yes.
- On the tram and Metro?  
- Yes.  

The short sentences were me.  

The home is beautiful.  Below is a picture of the front courtyard of my new place:

And the inside:

My room

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Day 7 - Ibiza

Beach day!  I wasn't so sure in the morning when I woke up early and went out on the balcony.  The bathing suit had a much better chance of drying in the bathroom, out of the humidity.  I brought it inside, went back to bed and 10 minutes later the rain was pelting down.

The hotel owner said that this is the first time in 10 months that it rained.  I was in Ibiza for 3 days and it rained some of each day.  But it is that kind of rain that I have come to expect from being a Manitoban.  The rain happens and then moves on.  Like a good house guest.  

Once the sun came out, I was ready with my itinerary.  The bus to Cala Bassa.  I was staying in Sant Antoni de Pontmany, which is on the opposite side of the island from the airport and Ibiza town.  This is Catalonian as well - the name for the main city is Eivissa.  

The second most prominent feature of Sant Antoni, besides the sea which is really what beckons all of us here, is a statue in the roundabout entering the town.  It is an egg, hollowed out with a statue of a ship, the Santa Maria.  

Sant Antoni is one of those places that lays claim to be the birthplace of Christopher Columbus.  They wouldn't be so proud if they were from our part of the world - CC doesn't have a good reputation where I come from.  

Apparently when Columbus was trying to get funding from Queen Isabella, she didn't think that it would be a good bet.  He convinced her by asking her about the possibility of an egg standing up on its own.  When he showed her, apparently by cracking the bottom, she was sold on the idea.  

The route to Cala Bassa took me through the town, past the tourist hotels and the marina.  So I got to see a little more of the island.  Except not really.  There are apparently 120 beaches.  I got to see 4.  Many people say you have to have a car.  Since my beach days were a little dubious anyways, this was perfect.  There is no doubt that I have to come back.

Cala Bassa is an impressive place:

Here was today's lesson:  Don't go to the beach hungry.  The food on the menu started at 17 Euros to 32; that is about $25 to $45 Canadian.  So I had a water.  It was definitely the most expensive water I have had yet - $3.50 Euros - about $5.00.

Impressive bottle though! 

When I got back to my hotel, the owner told me that there was a cheaper place down the beach.  

My next meal was a hamburger at the place I was staying.  It was impressive in its own right - hamburger, tomato, onion and ketchup PLUS ham, cheese, pineapple, egg and bacon.  Yum!  Sort of a pizza.  Sort of breakfast.  

And then I changed into the bathing suit and went to swim in the ocean.  For my third time!

I did not swim at Cala Bassa.  That was most difficult.  In the morning, I decided that I would prefer to take photographs rather than swim.   When travelling alone, it is a question about what to leave on the beach for safekeeping.  It is the law in Spain to always carry a photo ID which I probably could in a plastic bag but so far no plastic bag is leak proof.   And I have nothing to protect a camera.  So the choice for me that day - swim or take photos.  

This is definitely one of the cons of travelling alone.  

But there are many pluses.  

- moving to my own rhythmn, I go out when I want - I come back when I want
- I meet a lot of people, sometimes because I need someone else to figure things out and sometimes it is a friendly person on a park bench
- Observing the world, soaking it in, and being engaged in a different way.  
- I have been getting some primo seats on planes and buses because one seat is easy to find.  

Ibiza is one cool place to hang out.  And the people who know this best are Brits.  They flock here in droves.  It is evident in the menus, signs and even the way of life.  Restaurants are always open rather than the closing that happens in the afternoon that I saw in Barcelona.  

This island also has a reputation for party-ville.  Electronic music, dance clubs, and consumption of alcohol.  

I didn't see any of that but I did get to experience a bit of the life being influenced from the English visitors.  My only wifi was in the reception area where there were several TVs playing a lot of soccer (futbol) and loud!  And when that was not happening, there was MTV with the video countdown.  All in all this was my preference.  

But you can have what you want in Ibiza.  They do promote family vacations.  

I spent a total of 3 nights on Ibiza - that could have easily been more.  Especially if the sun is shining.  Which apparently, it does, 80% of the year.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Day 5 and 6 - Travelling and Ibiza

"If you don't have a paper ticket, you will have to Terminal 1," said the guy at the wicket.  "Your flight leaves soon.  You will have to hurry."  

"Is there no place to print a ticket here?"  I asked.

"No.  Maybe you can go and talk to Ryanair."

There was a lineup.  I had already read the Ryanair fine print, and there is a lot of fine print.  An electronic ticket I thought would be allowed.  But there could have been something that I missed.  And indeed when I got my turn, the Ryanair rep breezed me away.  And the moment of slight panic was gone.  

Ryanair is the discount airline in Europe.  And indeed their fares are enticing.  I saw some flights that were between 15 and 30 euros which is about $21 to $42 CDN.  We need Ryanair in Canada!  

There was a massive lineup at the boarding gate.  Eventually I found out that we would be travelling in a 737.  That seemed like a lot of people for an island. 

I said hola to the woman next to me.  She spoke English (Italian, Spanish and French).  I said "Ibiza is an island, is it not?"   "Yes," she said, "you are going there and you do not know that?"  

It really was one of those second guesses that prompted my question.   What if you just totally got something wrong?  

This day was a major travelling day.  I caught the Metro to the central plaza where there were buses that went directly to the airport.  Except there are 2 terminals.   It actually was relatively easy.  Once upon a time when Monique, BJ and I travelled to Mexico, we joked about how much more it cost to arrive somewhere than leave it.  

My arrival from the Barcelona airport to my host's place was $26 Euros paid directly to one taxi.  On the way out of the city, I paid about $7 euros.  

Here we are disembarking our plane, getting onto a shuttle to the terminal.

The next travel was to find the bus that went from the airport to Sant Antoni, a community on the other side of the island.  The bus leaves every hour.  We only had about 15 minutes to wait.  And then I arrived at the bus station.  Once I got off the bus, I realized I had no idea where to go.   My decision was to hire a taxi, and I was there in minutes.  I would have walked around in circles because the Apartamentos where I am staying is on a street with no cars and it is very short.  

And the cost of the taxi exceeded the bus ride.  

That is the story of travelling.  

I arrived early, early enough to walk down to the sea.  Except I was pretty much done with closed-toed shoes.  I stopped at a store and bought a pair of flip flops for $4.25 Euros.  

My first view of the Mediterranean on Ibiza.

It was time for a swim!  It was a bit of pondering how to take care of my things.  I got a safety deposit box and packed my key and driver's licence in a plastic bag which I stuffed into my swim suit.  This was Aimee's suggestion, clever girl.  

What I wished for was a secret pocket with a zipper.   The plastic bag didn't feel that secure.  So I swam with one hand on my chest.  I wonder what the observers on the beach thought.  I know what they thought.  Nothing.  They were watching the girls who were on the beach topless.  

On my second day in Ibiza, there was a rainstorm.  So I stayed close to home and watched The Lego Movie.  Late in the afternoon, the sun came out so I got that bathing suit on and went directly down to the beach.  Not one to miss out on an opportunity.  

So my routines have been - beach, back to the room for a shower because salty and sandy bodies are not fun, back to the beach for the sunset.  This last one has been accompanied by a sitting at the Golden Buddha with a Pina Colada in hand.  

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Day 3 and 4 - Barcelona - The Modern Traveller

There are those kind of travellers who book their vacations months in advance, schedule tours, research everything about the place and read their guidebooks.

I am not that kind of traveller.  I am more the kind that books accommodation for a few days and then figures out the rest.  

The world, gratefully, is better for my kind of traveller.  Wifi abounds!  So far, it appears that I get better bandwidth in Spain.  

So Day 3 in Barcelona was spent near the computer booking accommodation and transportation.  And in my dandy Barcelona apartment.  It was huge!  Four bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, living room, 2 verandas and two doors to the outer world.  An elevator.  And a doorman, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I kinda feel for those guys.  There isn't a lot to do.  I made some work for them, trying to decipher my Spanish or Catalonian.  And they also held the key while I was out and about.  

Day 4, I ventured out into Barcelona city.  That day's first destination was La Broqueria, the big market downtown. 

This is all different kinds of mushrooms.

And this is kinds of candy.  

Before I made it to the market, I went for lunch.  I met a couple from Nova Scotia, Cynthia and Malcom, who just came from a canal journey in France.  More ideas!  

I went for a walkabout in old Barcelona.  Narrow streets.  And many wonders in the shops at the bottom.  

And many people.  Barcelona is the kind of city where people gravitate.  

Back home for my dinner of broccoli.   I have a vegetable deficit.  I don't think croissants are a food group, even in Spain. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Day 2 - Barcelona - Seeing the Sights

There are two things about a double-decker bus:

1.  They are way more awesome when you are in them than when you watch them go by on the street.
2.   If you are in the top portion, going under a tunnel is freaky. 

I was more of a stay-on passenger rather than a hop-on, hop-off.  Except when the tour came to the beach.  What an impressive beach with an amazing number of people.  You see, I was told, it is still summer in Spain.  When I look in the mirror at my hair that is unruly in the humidity, that is summer.  According to the tour spiel, there are 7 beaches in Barcelona.  

As you can imagine in such a cosmopolitan city, the shores of the Mediterranean Sea are lined with promenades, restaurants, bars and boats.

View from Casa Mexicana - my dinner choice - the Mediterranean Sea

So here's the deal with the Barcelona City Tour.  For 27 Euros, you get a ticket that allows you to get on and off the bus all day.   The bonus is that there are two tours in the city, one in one direction and one in the other.  Don't lose that ticket though.  At the beginning of the tour, passengers are given headsets with a commentary in the language of your choice.  

Lots about this city is architecture.  

Like this:

And this:

But the man of the hour is Antoni Gaudi who lived from 1852 to 1926.  This architect was quite influenced by nature as shown in his designs.  His most famous work which he worked on for 40 years and was incomplete at his death is the Sagrada Familia.  Here is a part of it:

The queue to go inside this wonderment is 2 hours.

What I learnt on the bus tour is that Antoni Gaudi was run over by a tram and died 3 days later.  This was repeated 3 times on the commentary.  Perhaps it is more significant than I know.

The tour was perfect!  Actually I went on both tours.  I got to see a lot of Barcelona in its splendour.  The 2-dimensional map just doesn't do the trick.

My second highlight of the day actually happened before I got on the tour.  I was sitting in the Placa de Catalunya, having a conversation in English with a woman from Maine.  This is significant because I don't get a lot of speaking English.  There was a spot between us; a woman sat down.  My English companion went to take pictures.  

And I said hello to the woman now sitting beside me.  Actually, I believe I said, "Hola."  I could have said "Buenas dias," but it was not morning.  I would say the chances were 99% that I said, "Hola."  I believe she said, "Hello."  And then we proceeded to have a conversation for an hour.  Which is a big deal.  Because her English was not as good as my Spanish.  She was impressively persistent.  Which is probably what she thinks of me.  

She was a delight!  The kind of person that would be my friend forever and ever.  Except we don't know how to exchange phone numbers or emails.  

We talked about our children.  Except I said children as in very young.  I figured telling her their ages would clarify the whole matter.  Eventually she did get the point that I have one of each - hombre y mujere. 

But when she asked me about the type of work that I did, I pulled out the iphone translator app.  I told her that my work was helping people find work.  If there was a translator close by, this is probably what she heard, "Me work help people find work."  She looked a little puzzled, probably wondering how one even gets paid to do that.  But she smiled, eyes sparkling.  

She told me about restaurants that were close.  She may have even invited me to lunch.  I will never know.  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Day One - Barcelona - Getting Around

I heI just wanted a map.  My question on the first morning was where am I?  (There are two questions in life that everything seems to boil down to - who am I?  and where am I?)  

I am in an apartment that has only 2 per floor which means that I get to see quite a few directions outside of the windows.  Which way to the sea?  That seems like the best way to orient myself.  (Today I figured it out thanks to my Find Friends app.  I looked to see where I was.)

After breakfast, I quizzed my host, Maria.  Heading out of the building, I had two pieces of information - the name of the Metro stop and where I could buy a map.  

When I checked the time, I saw that it was 1:30 pm which meant that it was lunch time.  Restaurants are open for lunch and dinner but not in between and their hours are much different than home.  Lunch is about 2 pm - this is the big meal.  Dinner is at 10 pm. There are various other snack times during the day to tide one over - tapas - my kind of meal.    

I found the Italian restaurant that was elusive the first day.  La Tagliatella.  The waiter was most kind.  Would you like to see the menu in English?  The enthusiasm I displayed was probably excessive given the situation.  Let's just say that I like to know what I am ordering.  Before the meal, they place a plate of olives as an appetizer.  Little, green ones.  Unbelievably good!   The meal was outstanding - pasta with pork in a creamy mushroom sauce.  

By the time I walked to the main drag, I was less interested in the idea of a map.  I wasn't looking for a particular street and I didn't know where anything was.   I notice that relatively simple quests at home are elusive to me here - where to find a super market or a pair of flip flops.  I do know, BTW, where the Sephora is if you need some help with that in Barcelona.  

I found my way to the Metro.  Which is the underground subway.  What if, I decided, that my goal today was to get myself downtown and back?  Buying tickets?  Which direction?  And I found my map, on the wall.  I repeated the name of the train inside my head.  And I was being whisked downtown.  

When I head came out of the ground, I was on the edge of a busy street.  This must be Las Ramblas I thought.  Indeed.  This street is just for pedestrians and is packed with outdoor markets, shops, restaurants and cafes.   

I headed in the other direction.  In the plaza, Placa de Catalunya, I found an information booth where the woman told me that this was the start of Las Ramblas, a 1.2 km This was the first place all day where I heard people speak English on the street.  

My meandering on the way home brought me past about 4 patisseries in my neighbourhood.  This is one pastry kind of city.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Long Distance Travel

On September 16, 2014, I lost 9 hours of the day.   That is what happens when you cross an ocean.   But it sure doesn't feel like it, especially when I spent most of that day awake.  This is the glamour of travel, I thought, as I repositioned my pillow against the window and wrapped the airplane blanket around my legs.

In many ways, I chose my flights wisely.  I was determined not to begin my trip exhausted by getting up at some unfriendly hour.  I also wanted to arrive during the daylight.  I caught my first flight in Victoria at 9:30 am and arrived in Barcelona at 6:30 pm the next day, a total of about 14 hours in the air.  The longest flight of the four that I took was 9 hours from Dallas, Texas to London, England.  

Flight from Victoria to Vancouver - You can see the right arm of our pilot.  That is one small plane.

I was a bit nervous about taking such a long flight, having never done it before.  But somewhere along the way, I realized that I had already done 12 hour Greyhound trips.  On this one, they feed you - twice!  And serve drinks.   But then I thought, that is a long time to be flying above water.  And actually, it was only a few hours.  There was a good deal of time flying over Canada.  

Dallas to London - Boeing 767.  That is one huge plane.

Still there was a phenomenon, I had a time wrapping my head around - I was actually in the air that entire time.  This reminds me of a Louis C.K. video I saw.  It is quite astonishing that we can be sitting in a chair in the sky.

Now I have landed.  I was so excited to be horizontal.  And after being awake for most of the day and night, I was exhausted.  An hour after falling asleep, I was awake.  I was wakeful for most of the night, like most of the people I know in Canada.  I was on Canadian time.  Eventually I did sleep.  I am in a wonderful home in Barcelona, found on AirBnB; the transition has been a delight.  

I have been up and about now for 4 hours but feel like I am just getting going.  According to iPhone's World Clock, it is about 4 am in Victoria.  

Well, perhaps time won't be a big matter on my trip.  Apparently people from Barcelona, called Catalonians, like the night life.  Yesterday's grocery store that I went to is open until 2 am.  

I explored the neighbourhood last evening in my typical fashion.  My host drew me a map to a great restaurant and the market.  I promptly got lost, walked several blocks out of my way until I found the grocery store she mentioned, bought myself water and some food.  On my way home, I found the restaurant but I was so tired, hot and bedraggled that I really couldn't see myself sitting at their table.  I just want to say that by not going into that restaurant, I saved Canadians' reputation.  

Blue skies are calling me outside.  After a day spent mostly inside planes, airports and waiting areas, I am grateful to wander where I can.