Thu 10 Apr 2008
One great thing about having people come to visit you is that you can do all of the touristy things that you have been wanting to do, or the things that you love all over again. This was definately the case when Vicky and Rachel came to visit. When Vicky and I first got into Barcelona, I let her check into her hostel so that we could both shower and sleep off a little of our early morning tiredness. However, we planned to meet up with Jack and Staci, two of our other friends who were in Barcelona for the week as well. The four of us walked down Las Ramblas, the main touristy street to show it to Vicky, although Jack and Staci had already been, all the way down to the ocean and Port Vell area, where we decided spur of the moment to see an IMAX film. At nighttime they only were playing double features, so we ended up seeing two films for 12 euros-not too bad of a price. The names of the two documentaries were “Los Alpes” and “Animales Profundidos en 3D” or something like that. Basically we had the good luck to watch to awesome pictures in Spanish, which was good for me since I had just gotten into the habit of speaking English again (I accidentally said thank you instead of gracias to the bus driver when we got off in Plaza Catalunya).
Afterward, I took the three of them to one of my favorite little spanish bars in the Raval zone off of las Ramblas, called La Ovella Negra-the Black Sheep. It is kind of like a beer hall with long wooden tables and a bunch of foosball tables. We played darts for a while–team Jack and Caitlin won of course–and then took off for home.
The next day Vicky Rachel and I went on a free walking tour tour of the city that I found on a flier in some cafe. Of course this was all my idea since I was so enthusiastic after the one in Lisbon and my predictions turned out to be correct-the walking tour of Barcelona was really cool. It took us through all of the Gothic district into every single little plaza and nook and cranney that I had no idea existed. For example, I finally saw the Roman ruins that are above ground (although I have seen the ones under the city history museum), the oldest Jewish synagogue, and a doorway dedicated to St. George, the patron Saint of Catalunya.**
**Sidenotes about St. Jordi, as he is called in Barcelona. He is also the Patron Saint of England I believe so I recognized a lot of symobolism and stories associated with him when I was in London. For those of you who don’t know, St. George slayed the dragon and wherever the blood touched, roses grew. Anyway on his saint day in Catalunya, traditionally women all receive roses and men all receive books as gifts because it is also the anniversary of the death of a famous writer from Catalunya. Apparently book and flower sellers make something around a quarter of their annual profits on this day- April 23.**
Anyway, the walking tour was quite fun-certainly a highlight of the week for me. I let Vicky and Rachel do a number of other things on their own, many of which I had seen more than enough times including park guell and the boqueria. I did, however, accompany them on their dining experiences around Barcelona, because since I mostly eat at home during the weekend and weekends I am in town, I really haven’t sampled much of what Barcelona has to offer in terms of restaurants. I also got to spend a little time showing each of them some of my favorite things in Barcelona-the beach with Rachel and el Parque de la Ciutadella with Vicky and Jack. I took all of them to a few of my favorite nightlife spots including Chupitos a shots bar where they light things on fire (mostly for show), Dow Jones- a bar based on the stock market where drink prices go up and down based on who buys, and a Mirabe, a mansion-esque club high up in the mountains of Tibidabau where I live with a fantastic view of the entire city.
We all had a good time, but entertaining guests is a lot of work so I was ready to get back into my normal routine again once they headed out.