Saturday, May 14, 2011


Madrid to Barcelona

This morning we hauled ourselves out of bed and caught the 9:30 AVE (high-speed) train to Barcelona. I don't know why we don't have these trains in the US. It took about 3 hours and we went the same distance as on our 7 hour train ride from Santiago to Madrid. Once we hit Barcelona, we spent some time figuring out how to get to our hotel on the subway from the train station, checked in, dropped our bags and headed out.

We walked from our hotel down to the water front on Las Ramblas, a very long pedestrianized walk way through the middle of the city. Our first stop? El Corte Ingles, a HUGE department store. I got a few new tops, Honore got some bling (the necklace and earrings she has on above) and a new hat. Next we wandered amongst the street vendors, kind of following the Rick Steve's tour and kind of just wandering. We saw roman tombs, had a quick lunch, and visited La boqueria market. The market had maybe the most food I have ever seen in one place. Meat, nuts, vegetables, fruit, candy.... they had everything. We grabbed some stuff for the plane ride home and walked on. I got some cigars for Peter (fine Cubans) and a couple of T-shirts for the kids as well as a book in English to read on the plane home. At the end of las Ramblas, is the port of Barcelona. This is the place that Isabel and Ferdinand welcomed Columbus back home so there were several sculptures commemorating that. There is a wooden walkway that extends out along the port which makes for a nice end to the walk. Somewhere along the way Honore acquired new sunglasses to accompany her jewelry so I had to get a picture of the fanciness. After our walk we caught the subway back to our hotel to get ready to meet our friend this evening.

We met up with our friend Josh and his sister Julie tonight. Josh is someone that Honore and I went to high school with and I went to a few years of college with him. We hung out a bit, even traveling down to Oakland together to see the Dead a few times, but I haven't really seen him since then. It was a little awkward and I was a little nervous but it ended up being a great night. We met him at his apartment where he made us a few tapas - blood sausage on bread, bombas, chicken croquettes and a salad. He was super excited about the blood sausage and it seemed like a bit of a delicacy and since there were only four of us there, Honore and I kind of had to eat some. Honore is a bit of a vegetarian - only eats fish and chicken and while I do eat meat, blood sausage is well outside of my comfort zone. However, we are polite and we were game so she ate one piece and I ate another and then I ate a second one. It wasn't awful, it wasn't good and as I am eating my second piece I hear Honore say "How do you make blood sausage?". Oh my God. I shot her a look that clearly said (mid-bite) "WHAT THE HELL" and she quickly saw that and said "never-mind" before anyone could answer her. Sisters.

Our motto for the trip has become "try something new every day" which has been kind of a joke because  we have been doing many many new and uncomfortable things every day but this certainly counted. I ate 2 pieces of blood sausage people. Unfortunately, you can't put that on a resume.

After a few beers and some kind of blue shots we all went to a bar, and then to the modern art museum in Barcelona which happened to be free tonight. We looked at modern art for a bit and then went to another bar. It was really fun to see Josh again and to hang out with some Americans in Spain. I got a much better view of what Barcelona is really like from them. Plus blue shots and blood sausage.

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