Barcelona was my first encounter with a) traveling with friends and b) a language that is not my first. I was nervous and excited and not at all sure what to expect going to Spain. After all, it took the four of us (Mystie, Abby, David and I) something like three hours to book our flights and hostel.
The planning was really the first part of the adventure for us. It was confusing and a long process, but we somehow managed to get our flights and somewhere to stay! A couple of days before we Facebook messaged about what we'd like to do when we were there, and narrowed it down to a few big things.
So without further ado, we took off to Barcelona! At 3 a.m. Without sleep. Luckily, we could sleep for a couple of hours on the plane and we certainly did. This was especially fortunate considering what it takes to land in a foreign country...
- Getting through Border control (aka a long, long line of people filtering slowly through customs)
- Exchanging currency took us roughly 8.2 hours to get through the line (that's an extreme over-exaggeration, but it was still quite lengthy)
- Figuring out how to get from the airport to the hostel, which I realized the night before was on the other side of Barcelona (Again, we were fortunate that the woman at the airport spoke English and could give us directions easily! I tried my Spanish out for a second, but on 2 hours of sleep it came out more in mumbles than words.)
- Making out way to the train, where we no longer had the English crutch and bought our tickets.
And all of that was just at the airport! It was pretty overwhelming, and a huge relief to sit on the train, knowing to look for the station the woman had told us to go to. We took one more train to Maragall, and that is where the hilarity began. Here are a few things I learned while trying to get to our hostel:
- I can't really read a map. If I think the map says to go one direction, it's really the complete opposite from where we should be going.
- Barcelona is on a mountain.
- If a hostel is really nice and inexpensive, it's at the top of a mountain.
- Barcelona is sunny and gorgeous.
- If you have to climb a mountain, the sun will make you hot.
- Always sleep if you have to climb a mountain the next day.
- But most importantly...
"It's easier to go down a hill than up it but the view is much better at the top."- Henry Ward Beecher
Cheesy, yes. But it is so very true. You can see all of Barcelona from where we stayed.