Milano e Barcelona

I woke on my own accord this morning. I got up and decided to take a shower instead of a bath. I turned on the television and decided that I had an hour to catch American Dreams. To pass time, I attended the complimentary breakfast. It wasn't the best breakfast, but it was free. These are the luxuries afforded to those who decide to stay in European hotels.

After checking out, I had nothing to do but hike back to the train station to wait an hour for Jason and Aisha. I pictured them tired, worn and lost as they walked down the platform. Then music would begin and we would all hug as if we had not seen each other in years. Well, that didn't happen. They did not look lost at all. Instead, they looked like veteran travelers with their bags in hand. I gave our greetings and I led them to the line to get our reservations for the next train.

Our train from Milan took us to Bern, Switzerland. We had a four hour "layover" until our night train to Barcelona. We found lockers (not such an easy feat) and then got something to eat at Burger King. Normally, I would not have enjoyed the BK, but it was interesting to see what a Whopper tastes like on this side of the earth. On top of this, Aisha was elated to learn that they serve beer in Burger King. Jason and I learned that our credit cards are outdated and do not work everywhere. In Bern, your credit card must have a microchip in it to work.
"Run your hand over the scanner... no more fishin' for your fish."- Goodie M.O.B.

After eating, we walked around for about 45min until it was time for us to go to the platform for our train. We settled in our sleeping chairs and began to relax. I realize that this was the first time that we actually had time to talk to one another. Though our seats were not together, they kept me company until I went to sleep. I told them all about my students and various happenings. I honestly think we angered some around us who were trying to sleep, but I had not seen them in so long and had so much to talk about.

The morning came swiftly. Waking up on the train was not as bad as I thought, but it was not as nice as the hotel bed. (Funny how dramatic the change was in only 24hrs). We stepped off of the train and into Barcelona. Our first task was to find the hostel. I ended up calling to get better directions and we found ourselves on the popular street called Ramblas. However, there was no hostel in site. We walked up and down the street for about an our and a half. I used up all of my minutes trying to call the guy at the hostel's front desk. Finally, I got frustrated and asked a group of young tourists where there were staying. They recommended their hostel so we found it and set a reservation (check-in wasn't until 2pm).

Since Jason and Aisha had been traveling a lot already, they were out of clothes. We used our waiting time to do laundry and get food. The Laundromat was in a square that also had a fitness center, Irish pub and a small university. It was quite an interesting space. What was more interesting was the pub that we ate at. We were in Spain and everyone that worked at the Irish pub was literally Irish. It was great.

Checking into our hostel was flawless. We walked up, paid our deposits and got our keys. All three of us were looking forward to a great warm shower (though it was already warm outside) to feel refreshed. However, the shower had to have been the worst nightmare for me. I would not say it is the fault of the hostel or our roommates (five guys we still hadn't met), but just circumstance. The floor in the bathroom was wet and filthy, so I had a hard time navigating with my "foot- phobia" at work. However, I was able to get clean.

After showering, we went to see Sagrada Familia. We got the hang of Barcelona rather quickly. We figured out our trains and made our way through the town. I was a bit disappointed because the cathedral was undergoing renovation (and I forgot). I didn't really want to pay to go inside (which worked out for the best later on). We took a few photos outside and then headed back to the hostel to get ready for dinner. On our way, we found saw an array of interesting things- cool fountains, a guy in stretchy pants and a clothing store with a DJ & back-up dancer. The coolest was this store called Disegual. They had it sold everything from high end suits to urban wear. The music they had playing was great- Reggae and "non- mainstream *** hip hop". One of the workers told us of a club that played that kinda of of music, so we decided to find that club later that evening.

When we reached our hotel, the lady at the front desk suggested we try Toppas. It is a style of eating in which you try a lot of little things to eat. We found a nice little place outside of the Barcelona Cathedral and had a good ole time. We experimented with foods we had never seen or thought of eating but the experience was nice. I didn't get full, but we felt it was best to search for desserts. However, we didn't get more than 15 meters outside of the restaurant when we saw an awesome street performer. You will have to visit Jason's blog to get the full effect. He was awesome.

After that, Aisha and I got dessert similar to Crem-Broulette- called crema catalan. It was really sweet and really filling. We were so stuffed, that we needed a nap when we returned to the hostel. We were pumped about going out, but we are also old, so sleep was in order. Jason was not tired at all and decided to go to an internet cafe until we woke. Well, we laid down at about 9:30 and I didn't wake up until a little after midnight. On top of that, Aisha was knocked out. There was no way we were going out tonight. Maybe tomorrow.

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