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Spain (minus the s)

Hi there again!

Ready for another update?

This one will be interesting because I have thus determined Spain simply isn't for me. It's nothing personal, we just didn't mesh together well and the vibes were off. There were still aspects I liked obviously which I'll discuss, but overall, it's a no from me.

My first stop in Spain was Barcelona arriving via plane from Tuscany. If you read my last post you'll know my arrival into Barcelona was fraught and I alluded to a dramatic tale. It really was my decent into Hell.

A delayed flight late at night, loud passengers including half a chanting soccer team and small singing children. Not being able to meet my couch surfing host for another min 8 hours. The wrong bus to a hotel. Hotels being fully booked despite saying not fully booked on their websites. Booking a hotel accidentally for the following night instead of the current dwindling night. Etc. Etc. It was just problem after problem.

Eventually my guardian angel arrived and offered a room from a not-yet-arrived guest at 5:30am with checkout not till the following morning after my actually booked evening.

Cue me spending my first day and night in Barcelona asleep.

But it wasn't all bad. I made it to my hosts house the next day very well rested. He lived right near the Sagrada Familia which was a pleasant shock to walk out of the metro and see looming directly above you.

I spent my first afternoon exploring as much of Barcelona as I could possibly take in. Including some of Gaudi's designs, the Arc de Triomf (competition with France?), the Picasso museum, some beautiful gardens and numerous streets. I smashed out another 25,000+ steps and felt pretty spent by the end of the evening.

As is the way in Spain my host and I went for dinner at 9pm and had tapas and Sangria. Very, very good. I was dying from the heat though and it was only in the mid-30s. The worst was yet to come.

My second day in Barcelona was slower, I took it a little easy (kidding!) I walked up to the Bunkers de Carmel (hiked is more accurate) and got a beautiful 360 degree view of the city.

Check it out:

I then stayed up there for a while because I was melting a little.

After about an hour I came down and went in search of the photography museum, which I found out once I arrived is planning another exhibit and was closed. Also, given it was Monday, pretty much every other museum was also closed.

I ended up spending the afternoon in a park reading with a slushie. Not all bad! I then went over to Blair St (ie. the Tapas street) and gorged on some incredible, cheap tapas. We're talking 1-1.5 euro per item. To die for!

That night I caught an overnight bus to location number two, Madrid.

If there was one word I would use to describe Madrid it would be HOT. I literally melted, died and melted again constantly.

I arrived around 7am and after figuring out the metro and dropping my bags at the hostel, I set off in search of coffee. 8am is like the middle of the night for a lot of Spanish people and therefore I faced a real dilemma trying to get a coffee. But I pulled through and found a Starbucks! I know, not very cultured of me but I was hungry and tired and needed something safe.

I then, like a good daughter, gave my mum a ring to tell her I was in fact still alive and having a great day on my holiday. She seemed grateful for the update.

At 11am I went on a four hour walking tour of the city and entered one of the circles of hell as it was breaching 40 degrees by the time it finished. The guide was fantastic and Madrid certainly has an interesting political history but the heat was nearly unbearable.

I particularly enjoyed learning about the Kings that Madrid has loved and hated though, very entertaining.

In the afternoon I checked into the hostel, had a cold shower and tried to recover my mental capacity to do something.

I made friends with a girl from Georgia and at about 6pm we headed over to the Prado Museum which is free between 6pm and 8pm (trick of the trade!)

I was very very excited to see this museum for one main reason. Goya. A friend had recommended I go see his series of 'Black Paintings' and I was not disappointed. They are the creepiest works of art I have every come across. They literally sent a chill down my spine.

For those of you who don't know about these works they were painted onto the walls of his home in his later years of life and were never intended to be showcased. They are a creepy look into his pessimistic views of humanity, and I believe demonstrate a decent into madness or at least an image into the darkest part of his mind. Truly creepy stuff that is totally different seeing in person.

After the gallery we got some easy food from the grocery store nearby and hung around the hostel. On my final day I took it incredibly easy as the temperatures soared. I read a book in a café for a few hours then headed to the airport early for my flight to Brussels.

Overall, although there were obvious aspects like the museum that I loved about Spain I found the whole thing a little opposing to my nature. The heat was unbearable and the hours that Spanish people function on are completely different to my normal early morning schedule. Like I said, nothing against Spain, but I just don't think it's for me.

Till next time,

Rhi xx

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