Nice

NICE – 11:00 am, April 11th We spent our last day in Barcelona yesterday. We had to carefully schedule our day as war protests completely shut down all transportation in the city between noon and 2pm. We got to see tons of people marching, carrying signs, blowing whistles, banging pots and pans… No need to worry parents, everything we saw was peaceful. We have begun to see more and more American tourists as our journey continues, Italy should be just as full as Barcelona. We went to the Picasso museum yesterday during the main protest time, even the museum ticket office stopped selling tickets for 15 minutes at noon in protest. We had some falafals for lunch and then it was back to Las Ramblas once the metro was back running. Mel went crazy window shopping in all the shops, but to Jeff’s suprise she has not purchased an article of clothing, just souvenirs.

We took the night train from Barcelona here to Nice last night. This time we decided against the couchettes and roughed it in the regular seating compartments. It was not too bad, normally the compartments seat 8, but there were only 3 of us, the third being a hip french dude (non smelly). It was a little discomforting to be woken at 3am by the police searching every compartment for a thief and wanting to know if any of our belongings had been taken during our sleep. We where OK, we had locked our backpacks together and to the train with a cable (nice work Mel).

We watched the sunrise over the Mediterranean this morning while on the train. Beautiful and strange, since we are used to the sun SETTING over the ocean. The weather is not as warm as we had hoped, but the forecasted rain has not yet arrived. We are feeling a little grubby without a shower and in the same clothes as yesterday, but know it will get worse as we leave Nice tonight (overnight) for Rome. We found a park and ate breakfast and will go searching for a comfy bar to do some relaxing later. We found the most expensive hotel in the city and treated ourselves to a refresher in their WC (water closet — bathroom). We can say that wetnaps have become our best friends in the last couple of days.

We are hoping to get some pictures uploaded soon, but no promises! Jeff has gone a tad crazy with the digital camera and has taken over 500 pictures so far! Mel has made herself the designated video camera operator and has captured quick video of all the big sights.

Next update from Rome!!!

Barcelona

BARCELONA – 4:00 pm, April 9th It´s hard to believe we have been here in Europe for two weeks, it´s even harder to believe we still have three to go. Barcelona is a big city, but doesn’t have the big city feel that London and Paris had. There are many more young people here, not so many older business people rushing about. English is spoken by most people and is on almost every sign of importance, this is good!

Monday night we had dinner at a great restaurant called Les Quinze Nits in Placa Reial. This place was very modern, could have been a restaurant in San Diego, the food was great, we both had appetizers, a main course, desert, and drinks all for 50 euros, it seemed like it should have been 100! Oh, and when we say drinks, we mean drinks! Mel had a litre of Sangria and Jeff had a litre of house red wine. The guy taking our drinks looked at us kind of funny when we ordered, and then everybody around us looked at us funny when our large pitchers of booze arrived. Oh well, we finished everything and went back to the hostle happy.

Yesterday was our “Gaudi Day” Barcelona is crazy about Antoni Gaudi, an artist/architect who lived and did many works here. His most famous was the Sagrada Familia, a church that is still being built today. It was very cool! We went inside (kind of, the inside is not finished and is actually still “outside”) and where able to go up into one of the towers. We then went to Park Guell, a cool park with tons of Gaudi mosaics and a great view of the city. Then we went and saw Casa Mila, a Gaudi building without a straight line in the entire design. These sights where all great, Mel loved them because of the mosaics. We also went to the train station to make our Thursday morning train reservation to Nice. And you will never believe it, there is a train strike that morning! Wow, came as a huge surprise to us. So we made a reservation on a train overnight that night. Mel is a little worried, we have a Thursday night train to Nice, we spend 15 hours in Nice and then take another overnight train to Rome. Talk about smelly and tired!

Last night we hit the town for some dancing and drinking. We took a nap from 830-930 and left our hostle at 1130, this town is a late starter. We went to the touristy nightclub area, little did we know we would be spending the night in Tiajuana! For those of you who have been to the club scene in TJ, this was a lot like that! Let me give you a few examples of the interesting people we saw:

  • The 45 year old woman who had too much to drink and was dancing like a crazy person, all being captured on film by her husband.
  • The 30 year old Italian in the dark Italian suite with the black turtleneck, buying all his friends drinks. Very mafia.
  • Eminem (or his body double)
  • A man who decided to take out a city map in the middle of the dance floor and try and figure out how to get home, while dancing. We think this was some sort of pickup technique, because we saw him later buying drinks for a girl.
  • And too many Britney Spears clones!
  • But we had fun, and drank toooooooooo much. Mel decided to go drink for drink with Jeff, this was a bad idea and the night ended for her on the bathroom floor. We slept in until 130 this afternoon and had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. No sightseeing today!

    Barcelona

    BARCELONA – 7:00 pm, April 7th We arrived here in Barcelona this morning, we took the overnight sleeper train from San Sebastian. Yesterday we had a wonderful, relaxing day in San Sebastian. We took a walk along the beach, probably 2 miles each way, laid on the sand and took a nap, people watched in the central square, and met a friendly bartender who took the time to show us the ropes of tapas and the local drinks. Our train out of San Sebastian was supposed to leave at 23:00 (11pm) but was an hour late (what else is new). The couchettes, as the sleeper cars are called, are VERY SMALL. They pack 6 people into a room, tri-level bunk beds on each side and barely enough room between the two sides to stand. They seperate the girls and guys and Mel ended up with a old snoring lady. But, we survived.

    After checking into our hostel this morning, we had a siesta and then went for a stroll down Las Ramblas, the main drag here in Barcelona. This street has everything, street performers, restaurants, bars, a fresh produce/meat market, small booths selling small pets, flower shops, street artists…. Now it´s time for a little relaxing before going out to test the Barcelona nightlife!

    San Sebastian

    SAN SEBASTIAN – 11:15 pm, April 5th Quick update, we had our first McDonalds experience tonight. In an effort to “do something comfortable” we went to McDonalds tonight. This was quite different than we expected. First of all, they serve beer at McDonalds here. So, we ordered: “un numero ocho, un numero dos y dos cervezas grande.” Second of all, it was PACKED with people, mostly teenagers, Jeff was a head taller than anyone in line ordering food. Now it’s time for more cerveza and another good nights sleep. We might attempt to do laundry tomorrow, stay tuned…..

    San Sebastian

    SAN SEBASTIAN – 6:30 pm, April 5th It is our second day in San Sebastian and the weather is beautiful. This place is so clean, we left our room this morning for breakfast to see one of the owners of the hostel scrubbing the sidewalk with a bucket of soapy water.

    It was very tough to find breakfast food, definatley no Dennys here. Later in the day we found a spot that serves American breakfast, which is right next to McDonalds! Speaking of food, we had dinner last night at La Cepa, a non english speaking establishment. They had english menus, but when we were ready to point to steak and prawns our waitress could not translate the english. Aaahhh, so we ordered anyways hoping it was right and if not, we might end up with a plate of $14 slime!! Very good dinner and we got what we orderd.

    We climbed to the top of Monte Urgull, the most beautiful view of San Sebastian. Took tons of pictures, played cards and for once we relaxed. Later it was off to the local market, which we walked by a million times and couldn´t find because it is underground. Once there we found .99 cent Sangria and the best cheap wine ever.

    We visited the train station 3 times today. You see, they don´t speak english either. So when reserving our overnight sleep car to Barcelona, we realized after leaving it was just regular seats. This means Flash and Mel would have been sitting in airplane style seats for 10 hours to Barcelona. The lady at hour hostel was very pleasant and called for us, so we went back for the third time, to be serviced by the same unpleasant fellow, who proceeded to draw a kindergarden picture for us to help us understand our sleeping arangements. Boys and girls seperated in sleeping cars!!! We nodded and got the heck out of there.

    So its off to relax and drink Sangria before we got to dinner. Dinner is served here starting at 8pm and on…..