Before I tell you how terrific Spain and Barcelona are, I must vent one small thing.  The language here.  The whole s/th thing drives me CRAZY.  Gracias is grathias.  Barcelona is Barthelona.  You get the idea.  Now I can adjust to this.  But when we went to Barcelona, the language changed completely…to Catalan (I think that is what it is called), which seems to be some bizarre mix of French and Spanish.  I could figure out the writing, but when people spoke…forget it!  I could understand like one out of every four words.  So, here I am, in Spain, as a fluent Spanish speaker, and I CAN´T UNDERSTAND people.  Oh well.  The same thing happened in London…(but in English.  duh!)


Ok.  That is the end of my little rant.  Barcelona.  The short version…loved it!  We drove up there on Monday.  We have a little travel alarm clock with us, so I left it to Mark to set it for like 5:30 in the morning.  It went off in the dark and we dutifully got up, showered, packed the car with a a small bag of clothes and snacks and set off to Barcelona.  And then we looked at the clock.


It said 3:30 am. 


Which explains the complete darkness.  Mark tried to pin it on some clock malfunction, but I investigated and saw that Mark set the minutes instead of the hours.  So instead of putting the alarm hand near the 5, he put it on the 3, thinking 15 minutes after 5.  Oh well.  We were up and driving, so off we went.


We found Barcelona and our little hotel easily.  We got all settled in and since we had arrived a few hours earlier than expected (eh hem), we set out to explore.  We walked around for a while and noticed a place that was offering a Spanish cooking class the next day at 6:00 pm.  We noted it and put it on the agenda.  We found a place for tapas, ate, and then crashed into bed. 


On Day 2, we set out to see the sites.  We started at the rare, hardly-ever-seen-before Starbucks.  We were so excited to find a Starbucks–we´ve been without for most of the year you know!–so we just had to stop in!  Then we went directly to the Picasso Museum.  The line stretched across the whole city.  Ok, maybe not that far, but a long LONG ways.  So we decided to come back later.  Instead we got on the metro and went to the Sagrada Familia.


For those of you who don´t already know, the Sagrada Familia is a ginormous church that has been under construction for like 125 years already.  It looks like it will be under construction for 125 more.  But it was cool.  The original architect was the artist Gaudi, so there were bright colors and mosaics and just general big-ness.


Then we decided to go straight to Gaudi´s house.  It is in a park called Gruell Park and there are some of his statues there as well.  Little did we know that the walk up to the park was straight uphill.  STRAIGHT uphill. Like so steep I wouldn´t have skiied down it in the winter.  But we pressed on and survived.  Since it is located up next to the sun, the park offers beautiful views of the city.  We cruised around, rested in the shade, and eventually found Gaudi´s house.  Of course the park is full of huge mosaics.  Oddly enough, his house is not.  It is just a regular house.  But in a very cool location.


Next we headed back to Picasso.  This time the line was only like a third of the size.  So we waited in it.  It only took ike half an hour to get in.  I have to say…me not being an art connoisseur in any form…I was really impressed with that place.  They have many of his first works from when he was like 13 years old, which are quite amazing.  Then of course the art work progresses through his life.  I always made jokes about this Blue Period of his.  How some people spend a lifetime studying one of Picasso´s periods.  Ok, I will still make fun of that, but…it was cool to see how his work changed.  The last exhibit features his study of Las Meninas and they do this overlay where they show how his cubism stuff really is representing this classic painting.  I was intrigued.  I don´t think I will devote my life to the study of it, but I would definitely like to learn a bit more.  Mark was impressed, too, which tells you a lot.


By now it was time to head to the cooking class.  We got there and…it was cancelled.  So I was bummed.  We decided to go back to the hotel and have a siesta and a shower.  Then we headed to the Olympic Port for dinner.  But before dinner, we saw the most unusual sport.  These guys were playing beach volleyball, only it wasn´t volleyball.  They could not use their hands.  It had the same rules as volleyball (3 touches, then over the net, etc), but they had to use their feet and heads and shoulders.  Kind of like volley soccer I guess.  We watched it for a long time.  Then we ate–paella, of course.  We were exhausted so it was back to the hotel and to sleep. 


The next day we headed home.  10 hours in a car.  It wasn´t as bad as it seems because the scenery was beautiful, but still, it was good to be back.


We have spent the last 2 days lounging on various beaches.  Yesterday we went down to Torrox Costa and rented a very comfortable sun bed and palapa.  That bed was more comfortable than our bed in Bulgaria! We stayed there all day and all evening…swimming, reading, napping, playing smash ball.  You get the idea.


Today we went on the hunt for a little cove Mark saw while we were driving home from Barcelona.  We found it but we couldn´t find a way down the cliffside without harnesses and ropes.  So we forged on and found another one which was perfect.  There weren´t too many people, we had our snacks and an umbrella, and we read and swam and lounged all afternoon.  Now we will head to dinner.


Our plan for the last two days here is pretty much the same.  We might go into Malaga tomorrow just to check things out.  It will depend on how we feel in the morning.  Because that´s how we roll.  We lounge in the morning and then decide where to lounge the rest of the day.  The life of a lizard….


Oh speaking of lizards….we saw a HUGE gecko looking thing in the middle of the road today.  The dude just hung out there and there were like 6 cars waiting on him to move.  Hilarious!


And so I´m off, for a little more tasty cuisine and beverage next to the beach.  I know.  You´re jealous!


p.s.  Just so you know…about the reverse (since I was asked), Mark did not look in the glove compartment for car instructions…but I did.  And all that was there were instructions on what to do if you got into an accident–which was appropriate for us given that we were headed for one that very moment.  Luckily Mark´s fine car pushing skills saved us!