12 October 2010

Barcelona Part I: The Arrival

OK, so maybe I won't be writing about our trip to Bilbao, I will be going this weekend again for our excursion class and Elley and I were there about three extra times this weekend...it has lost its excitement for me.
INSTEAD, I will tell a tale of our trip to Barcelona, Spain. I feel like I need to first clarify that Elley and I bought plane tickets through RyanAir about two weeks ago and planned on going to Barça from the afternoon of Thursday the 7th to the afternoon of Monday the 11th. We would take a bus from Vitoria to Santander, where we would fly to Barça and do the same thing on the way back. This plan did not work out so well...
I will back up to last Wednesday, the day before departure. Being the smart traveler that I am, I made sure to look up the name, address, phone number of the hostel we would be staying at and checked our flight as well as the time for the bus in the morning. Everything was perfect and the timing was just right.
Thursday morning, we got up early so we would have a few extra minutes at the bus station, but when we got there, the ticket window was closed and there was a sign saying that it would open again at 9:15am, the exact time our bus was leaving. We weren't sure what to do and when we asked at another desk the lady just pointed us to that same window for tickets to Santander. So we waited for the window to open and found out that our bus had left at 9:15am like it was suppose to and the next bus was at 2:15pm, the time of our flight. We did our best not to go into panic mode instantly and asked the man at the help desk, he said we could go to Bilbao first and then to Santander and it would get us there in time. Apparently we didn't understand him completely, he told us to get a ticket to Bilbao from the window and we thought he said we could get our ticket to Santander at an automatic ticket dispenser, so we did both and ran to the bus headed to Bilbao. Feeling relieved, we looked at the ticket to Santander from Bilbao and saw that the time the bus would leave was 2:15pm. We shrugged it off and hoped that we could just change our flight without much difficulty.
We got to Bilbao and wasted some time while we waited for the bus. Got to the bus station early for the bus and about 10 mins before the bus was suppose to leave we looked around and couldn't find it, so we asked at the information desk and she informed us that the reason we couldn't find our bus was because our ticket was from Vitoria to Santander, NOT Bilbao. Great. We quickly got another ticket to Santander and luckly it was leaving just a few minutes after. We felt so stupid for not paying more attention and we could have been to the airport already if we had known. So we got to Santander and went to the airport where they told us to change our tickets was gonna be about £300 each and the next flight was the next day. Obviously not worth it. But a nice lady told us that we could just take a bus down to Barcelona instead and it would be a lot cheaper. So, we went back to the bus station and go tickets for the overnight bus to Barcelona...cause it was already about 5:00pm at this point.
Now we really felt relieved, but also very stupid, since we had extra time we ate dinner and bought ourselves a box of wine and went and drank it in a park. ha! It was too long of a day to not have a drink!
I hardly slept on the bus because it was hot and packed full of people and about half way through the ride, my feet were swollen from sitting so long. Also, our bus stopped in Bilbao AND Vitoria on the way to Barcelona... But, nine hours later and 15 hours late, we finally arrived in Barcelona at 6:30am Friday morning. We got off the bus and walked for over an hour to get to our hostel before we decided to just get on the metro. We walked for almost another half an hour after that and got to our hostel at 8:00am, only to find out that we could not check in until 1:00pm. Awesome. The guy did let us keep our bags there in the office and thank goodness cause we were so tired and didn't want to drag them around for another five hours. Elley decided that she really needed to sleep before we did anything else, so she found a bench on the walkway and slept for about a half hour. ha! I was tired, but not tried enough to sleep on a park bench! We were both so tired and frustrated that we couldn't get in the hostel and just sleep for a few hours, but we got some breakfast and along the way stumbled upon Casa Batlló, a very famous building designed by Gaudi. For me personally, seeing that improved my mood. Then we just went shopping in the shopping district to waste time.
We checked into the hostel, rested for a while and decided to go find the beach. Luckly, Elley knows how to work metro systems cause it made traveling around the city so much easier! We stayed at the beach for a while, but we got kinda cold cause it was a cloudy day...and nothing dries by the ocean, so we stayed wet forever! When we got back to the hostel, we met the other people in our room, a group of Portuguese kids who were taking some time out of school to travel around Europe. They were so great! We ended up going out with them that night, we were all suppose to go to some outdoor festival in a garden, but left too late. We ended up just hanging out around a plaza and had our own dance party in the streets. It was so much fun! Probably the highlight of the trip for us.

Well this post is already too long, so I will write about the rest of the trip tomorrow to save your eyes and interest.
But as a ending note, Elley and I have decided to make a list of the travel lessons we have learned because this trip started out as such a disaster!
The second half was much more successful ;)


Elley and our Portuguese friends

Me at the Mediterranean

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