Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Chateau > Barcelona

Day 8

So in between the Chateau and Barcelona we stopped in Avignon, where the Pope’s resided in France from 1309 – 1423.  I was happy to get off the busy and get some fresh area, especially since everyone was still a bit shaky from the night before’s “P” party.  This is when it was super apparent I had mud all over my pants.

Me:  Is it that noticeable
Everyone that I asked:  Ummm (they look) Oh yea.  It is.

Super, I am in the “City of Popes,” with a literal dirty ass from drinking too much the night before.  Luckily, I did not burn up and flames and got a chance to walk around the area. It was a beautiful area and Provence was stamped on all the postcards, with lavender everywhere, so I’m assuming that we were in Provence.  We only had about an hour there, so a few of us decided to get some food.  Well, I could not wait for the waiter to bring me water to hydrate, so Ellie and I found a cute little gelato shop where they sold huge bottles of water.  We got some for our table to have for the coach as well.  The pizza sauce was very sweet (considering we ordered it in French, I don’t know what exactly I was expecting), so I ate a bit of it and obviously all the cheese.  We had enough time to eat, snap some photos (everywhere in Europe are merry-go-rounds, which I thought was precious and charming) and see some of the little artist stands that were full of jewelry, art and knick-knacks.  I got a couple postcards and we headed back on the road for a super long coach ride.  Luckily, I downloaded the audio of “Catching Fire,” for the trip, which proved to be a great idea (except as soon as I started to listen to it, I fell asleep…that lady’s voice was so lulling!).  A few more hours and we ended up at the first stop in Spain!  A sketchy ass service station that Zac was very blunt about warning, “watch your shit.”  It was here I finally got the worst news of my trip (just this particular trip, not life in general, as it was not a crisis that couldn’t be handled, just unfortunate in a foreign country…please don’t think I am a money grubbing American!)…The bank had received my email about sending my permanent card to Europe, decided that the one they since was “compromised,” and put an immediate block on it…and the temporary one I had on me, that was my only form of money (besides the money I had the good sense to take out in Fontainebleau).  I let it soak in for a minute, doing my usual, “fucking figures,” attitude and instead of freaking out, trying to formulate a plan with the 20 minutes I then had with Wi-Fi usage until we got to our hostel in Barcelona.  I wrote them back immediately explaining that it was my only form of money and I had nothing else and to please unblock it and send the new card to Europe as quickly as possible and emailed my dad letting him know. I am not the crying type but I did feel the tears hinting at exploding as I tried using a payphone to call my father, and the damn thing only accepting calling cards, which was the only thing they did not sell at this service station.  CRISIS MODE IN FULL GEAR.  I went outside to breathe and everyone was super supportive, and not too “OH GOD WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO,” which I highly appreciated.  I let Zac know, just in case I had a nervous breakdown and he offered up his phone and iPad in case I needed it, which did put my soul at ease long enough until I got to the hostel.  We got to the hostel a bit late, but it was super nice compared to the picture Hollywood had painted of them (no rich people wanting to torture tourist in sight), but Zac made it clear that we were not to walk outside at night, if we took a taxi home we had to tell the driver to take us right up to the door and basically stay the fuck inside.  Other than that, there were big clean rooms, free Wi-Fi, A/c and a patio.  Considering we were all down to our last pairs of panties and the hostel had like 3 washers and dryers, and there were almost 75 people staying there JUST in the Contiki groups, the girls did some laundry in the bathroom sinks with our laundry detergent the Contiki pack list had told us to bring, then hung it all out to dry on our balconies.  I decided to skip dinner and stayed upstairs to decompress and email with my dad (damn time difference).  We agreed western union would probably be the easiest and he would do some research on the Bank of America (I still hate them) locations in Europe.  I fell asleep writing out some postcards.


Day 9

We all woke up from a really good sleep (surprisingly for me, right?) and got ready for the day.  There was an optional Flamenco show at night, which I had decided not to partake in, since I had limited funds.  Zac had said if there was anything I wanted to do optional wise, he would let me pay back later, but I still was a little overwhelmed with the bank situation, considering I had received an email that told me that the temporary card could NOT be unblocked and if I needed anything to just call the 1-800 (1-800- FUCK YOU) number on the back of it.  After giving them a piece of my mind (putting it kindly) I ate my breakfast of bread and honey and headed to the coach.  Everyone going to the Flamenco show was told to bring whatever they would need to change into that night for it, because the hostel was too far away to come back, change and go back into the city.  We went on a shorter bus tour, see where the ’92 Olympics were held and getting a great view of the Barcelona from Montjuic.  We got the chance to get out of the coach for a few minutes and see the city and port.  Gaudi’s the Sagrada Família church sticks out like a sore thumb, but is breathtaking.  It has always reminded me of a “drip,” sandcastle where you let the wet sand drip until it creates towers and buildings in the castle….which have always been my favorite sandcastles to make.  Back on the coach and down to the city we went.  We saw Barcelona’s Arch, where the matadors USED to perform and Gaudi’s Casa Batlló   design (my personal favorite of the city).  Then we got dropped off and walked over to the Sagrada Família church. The details are so intricate, with fruit and animals and people all in the structures design.  It is still under construction from its 1883 launch with Gaudi’s involvement and is SET to complete in 2026.  Gaudi, sadly was killed crossing the street and was not immediately taking to the hospital because he always dressed like a Hobo, so he was assumed to be one.  He was eventually taking to a hospital and not given the proper care until a day later when he was recognized.  He died a few days later.  So sad.  Anyway, we walked around the church, and headed back to the coach for our drop off place in the city…actually we halled ass to the coach because Rui had parked illegally and was having to battle off the police officers.  Feeling depressed and crabby, I decided to hang with some girls in La Rambla for some sangria and shopping (well not on my part, why again did I think this would make me feel better).  I tried my first gelato in Barcelona and fell in love.  I am not usually too big on ice cream, but this was nice and creamy and not too much.  I also noticed that all the homeless people had dogs and would hold the dogs in their arms…totally playing the sympathy card and it was totally working.  We saw a few “gypsies” that just walked around with no teeth begging for money or lying in child’s pose on the ground with a cup in front of them.  It took us a total of 30 minutes to walk down the main road and we ran right into the Christopher Columbus statue in the middle of the road, right in front of the port.  Emma was determined to find the Havianas store that made custom flip flops (or jandals :) so I got to use my self proclaimed expert Spanish skills in asking the cops for directions to Los Zapatos store.  I think they spoke English and were just being kind to me, honestly.  We started to talk back and decided to check out the Market on the way.  It was incredible with all sorts of fresh fruit, veggies, meat, fish and sweets!  So many beautiful colors, not so many beautiful smells (fresh or not, fish smell is no bueno).  We all got some fresh smoothies and I accidently dropped 2€ on the ground which was quickly picked up by a gypsies, “Gracias,” and she ran away.  Whatever, what was I going to do, chase down an old lady and beat her up?  I decided to keep a better handle on my now limited funds, but not before trying some dragon fruit, a pretty pink with black seed (no not watermelon) fruit that had always enticed me.  It was ok, the consistency was a little funky, but whateves, I can check it off the old list of, “fruits that are pretty I must try.”  We finally go to the Havianas shop, only to find out their machine that makes the custom zapatos was broken.  We went to our second H&M of the trip and finally Zara.  I popped in a Mickey D’s to steal their Wi-Fi (ok I didn’t steal it, I bought a poco coke).  Emma, Kate and I headed back down La Rumbla to meet up with Brooke and Courtney to get some lunch and sangria!  We went to a place that had a nice guy come out and tell us we had to sit there.  The weather was really nice, but a little hot, so we sat in the shade, which was perfect.  We had muy grande sangrias and tapas & pizza, which was part of a deal they, advertised.  After lunch, we went BACK towards the port because we still had time to waste.  We laid at the port on the dock and soaked up some rays before going back up La Rumbla to the coach pickup.  Luckily, there were a few other people that were not going into the Flamenco show, so we were dropped off right at the beach. We played in the Mediterranean Sea for the first time and walked along the beach.  Zamir, acted like a child, running into the water, but running away from it as the wave crashed on the beach.  It was really sweet.  We walked around the beach area and as we were waiting for the bus to drop everyone else back off, grabbed some pizza from a place that was selling it for super cheap.  So much for a proper Spanish meal!  Of course a proper Spanish meal, on the beach was hella expensive.  And another thing, they were charging for people to sit down and eat, and it was extra to eat outside!  Crazy, mind blowingness.  I bought a pizza in the little place and since I asked for it to go, then went to eat it at a table, the manager freaked out and said there was no way I could eat it inside!  Rude.  There was a better atmosphere outside anyways, with the sun setting and the people walking, biking and rollerblading around.  Joke’s on you, manager!  The bus came and everyone headed straight to eat.  We decided to get some gelato (after hunting for a churro place and being unsuccessful) at a place we had been to 3 previous times, then changing our minds before even ordering anything.  We got back on the coach and headed back to the Hostel, deciding to not go out and get a good night’s sleep.  I got there with enough time to tell my dad to please send the western union money to Venice and tell BofA to send my damn card to Rome.  




Adios Barcelona! (I will be back on better terms next time, promise!)
Bonjour French Riviera! 

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