I’m in zombie mode on Air Transat Flight 268 from Toronto to Barcelona. The flight departed 10:35 pm and I was awake most of the night. The Toronto night that is. Little did I know that I would be walking around Barcelona for hours.
I landed in Barcelona at 12:30 pm, Saturday. I paid €11.80 for a round-trip ride to Plaza Catalunya via the AeroBus, then €9.95 for a ten-ride, metro pass to the Sant Jordi Hostel.
I didn’t book a dorm for the first night because the rooms in Barca were overpriced due to the music festival. Hostels were charging more than €100 for a dorm room – unreal. I had to kill time until Sunday for a room. I stored my luggage at the hostel and walked around Barcelona.
I returned to Plaza Catalunya and saw Restaurante Navarra with red and wooden interior. I had to call over the hostess to question the daily menu. She didn’t enjoy her job and had a sour face. She could clearly see me standing outside looking at the menu. The hostess was just standing talking to nobody. I thought it was just me but she was the same to everyone. I suckered myself in and had a three course meal. The seafood pasta starter and the chocolate mousse dessert were delicious. But the entrée of steak was overcooked. The price for the three course meal plus a pint of Estrella was €26.55.
I made a rookie traveller mistake of eating big. It’s sometimes cheaper to eat several small snacks or meals than a full meal. This way you eat more variety. The Barcelona restaurants and bakeries offer several small meals in a bar, glass counter view setting. You choose what you want to eat at the bar.
Later in the evening, the crowds were swarming after Football Club Barcelona beat Athletic. The fans lit off cherry bombs and firecrackers from hell. “Mira (look),” one fan said. I thought he was warning me about an oncoming car but it was the cherry bomb that was beside me in a garbage can. It went off and my right ear drum went numb. “What the fuck,” I thought I damaged my ear drum. I tried to avoid the garbage cans as I walked along but the fans were also firing them off on the streets and sidewalks.
I went into the Hard Rock to avoid the chaos. Not the best place for a traveller since it is an American chain. But I had to protect my camera gear which was in my easy-to-spot, orange, Lowepro Backpack. I couldn’t afford to store my Canons at the hostel. While waiting at the bar, I saw my friend from the gym, Warren, who is an Air Canada Pilot. “I don’t see you in forever but I see you [across the Atlantic],” he said. We chatted a bit and he later left with his friends.
After my drinks I walked outside and saw Indian FCB fans celebrate by dancing to Bhangra. Yup, they had their drums too. The Spaniards saw them dancing and joined in as well.
The rest of the night was more walking, people watching and trying to avoid passing out on a bench. I was up more than 36 hours by the time I went to bed.