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.  

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