29M

Thursday, March 29, 2012
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and Canary Islands
I made it to Spain!!!!

Today was an interesting day, to say the least . :) The flight here went great. I lucked out and got an aisle seat on an exit row. I slept so well that I missed breakfast service! I heard on the plane there was a general labor strike today, which apparently isn't anything new. They were all over the country. There were signs all over that said "29M."  I took a taxi from the airport to my hostal. Because my room was not ready, I went to the restaurant next door for some breakfast. I took a walk to La Boqueria, which is a huge market on Las Ramblas. Rambla means "stream" in Arabic, so Ramblas is a succession of several streets with a pedestrian thoroughfare in the middle. It's also known as pickpocket central.

My room at the hostal is small, but clean and quiet. I have my own bathroom, and once I checked in, took a much-needed shower.

The strike affected a lot of things. Not only was mass transit not running, but many of the tourist sites were not open. I took the opportunity to stroll the areas in the neighborhood . Visited Placa de Catalunya (huge plaza), the Barri Gotic (Bar-ee Go-teek) the Gothic Quarter, strolled Ramblas to Port Vell (harbor), went on a "sweet" stroll and found a library (not open).

There are TONS of tourists here right now. It seems like it's a lot of younger groups like high school kids possibly on spring break. I was a little nervous about the whole pick pocketing sitch, but so far I feel fine (knock on wood). You just have to be alert and not act like a stupid tourist. I was happy to discover that Granja la Pallaressa was open today. Here, I ordered churros (Spanish donut) to dip in chocolate as thick as pudding and a cafe con leche (coffee with milk).

Around 5:30, I made my way toward Placa Catalunya because I heard a demonstration would be happening. I thought, hey....this would be a cultural experience. There were marchers and people with signs and lots of spectators and it all seemed fine. I started walking away from the square when I saw about 12 police cars lined up . I thought, that doesn't seem good. So I kept walking in the same direction, which was toward my hostal. All of the sudden, all the police cars took off toward the square. I was outside a jewelry store when I heard the man who worked there say to someone, "don't go near there. Trouble."  Whoa...apparently this is not one of those peaceful demonstrations like the ones I witnessed in Madison a year ago. With that, I decided I had had enough culture in this area. Now, as I'm writing this post, I'm seeing images on tv of some of the demos throughout the country. From what I understand, these demos were pretty tame compared to other years. (ok.....)

I got back to my room and decided to lie down for a bit. Around 8 pm, I headed toward a restaurant in the area called La Crema Canela, a Rick Steves recommendation. It was fabulous! I had a buffalo mozzarella salad, fresh salmon, a glass of merlot, chocolate sponge cake with mascarpone and a cafe con leche. It was all sooooooo good. The restaurant was cozy and had an all-white, super cute interior. The sponge cake literally melted in my mouth.

I'm hoping I can get to some of the tourist stops tomorrow. In spite of the strike today and the weird protest stuff, I had a great day! Barcelona is beautiful and everyone seems very friendly.
Need to hit the hay as tomorrow will be a busy day!

Hasta luego!
Jamie
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Comments

Colleen
2012-03-29

Fab! glad you're safe.

jmatczak
2012-03-30

Oh yeah. :) My friend who studied abroad here this stuff is nothing new. She said, "now I know you are officially in Spain."

Scott Bader
2012-03-30

Yes....great to hear you arrived safely. Now grab me some of those...how you say...churros. Those things look good!! Have fun!!

jmatczak
2012-03-30

The churros were great! Are you just getting home from vball ? :)

aunt Sandy
2012-03-30

Jamie glad you are there safe and sound...I thought about you as I watched the news...you go adventure girl!...it all looks so great...the bacon on the breakfast platter could feed a family!! Be safe, have fun, and watch the pickers...they are veeery slick and sly..take care and enjoy. Love ya.

jmatczak
2012-03-30

So far I have not felt a pick pocketer presence. Or maybe I just look too on guard and they see me and walk over the someone else. I like that thought. :)

2023-09-26