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!
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Fab! glad you're safe.


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

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


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

aunt Sandy

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.


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. :)