Saturday, December 31, 2011


 The plane ride to a new adventure can be the first challenge. I took an evening flight from the West coast to Frankfurt for the first leg of my flight. Crying infants and other noisy passengers make it hard to sleep. Food allergies or special diets make it difficult to get enough to eat.
Personally, I have a fish allergy. The dinner they served was a fish-steak over rice. If you have a food allergy, check with the flight attendants before the meals are passed out to make sure you get the option of meals WITHOUT your allergen.

My favorite part about a night flight is the sunrise. When you are flying over the clouds, seeing the pink light flooding the skies is the most majestic thing I have ever seen. Relish it.

After the long, country, ocean, and continent-crossing flight, I took a short flight from Frankfurt to Barcelona. There were no harmful foods served there. Simply a pastry and some coffee.
After landing, and a frantic wait for my bags to arrive on the conveyor belt, I hopped in a black and yellow taxi. We drove for twenty five minutes through crowded, windy streets as motorcyclists dodged between cars at alarming speeds. Finally, we arrived where my sister, Rana, and her husband, O, were waiting.
Chocolate ice-cream cake
They took me to a small restaurant for dinner. Mediterranean dishes with a Bohemian twist were served and eaten ravenously. (I regret not having photographed them to share with you, reader, but was truly hungry.) The desserts were delightful in design and flavor.

Nevermind (punk bar)

Following dinner, we went to a few bars. The first was a "punk" style bar, complete with Nirvana and AC/DC music blaring and graffiti inspired art all over.
Then we went to another themed bar, named Bullocks, which played various rock music. After that was a Beer-bar, filled with alcohol from various parts of the world, including a Japanese beer and beers from the Rogue Brewery.

 The final destination of the night was a more typical Spanish bar, with Pinchos (small snacks served with drinks) and whatever alcohol you prefer. We ordered several types of Pinchos to sample. Bread with olive oil and tomato juice; croquettes (a cheese sauce with meat, fried), and Spanish Tortilla (cheese, potatoes, and eggs).

 Today began my tourist days in Barcelona. We enjoyed a great amount of walking the streets. We are staying in a very Gothic portion of the city, with beautiful buildings, so close together a car can barely squeeze down the tiny streets. European streets, in general, are very narrow. With tall buildings. In cities, most buildings have a place of business on the bottom floor and flats (or apartments, for we common USers.) on the upper levels.
 We walked along the Rambla, a famous merchant street in Barcelona, where many artists were attempting sales at passing tourists.
 The fresh markets are a site to see. Produce piled high, the fruit stands are an amazing mix of color. And fresh squeezed fruit juice makes a delicious breakfast.
 There are all kinds of things for sale in markets like this
Fresh fish... So fresh, they still have their eyes!

A leg of ham is a very common household item in Spain. It is cured, not cooked, but ready to have a slice sawed off for gnawing at any time.

 The Cathedral of Barcelona is quite grand, like all Catholic Cathedrals. Visiting religious buildings is a must while in Europe. Personally, I am an agnostic, but these masterful pieces of work are well worth your time.
 Inside the Cathedrals, especially in Gothic Cathedrals, are these amazing arches, there to support the towers on top. The building is made almost entirely of stone and decorated heavily with statues of saints, portraits of Jesus and the mother Mary, and metal fences to keep tourists out of prayer chapels.
A statue of Mary and Jesus

 This sculpture depicts Saint Jorge as he slays the Dragon.
St. Eulalia is said to have been a thirteen year-old girl who was tortured to death by the Romans because of her belief in God. In her honor, in the Cloister, the priests keep thirteen geese at all times. And, the cross that was her symbol, is a simple X, which is scattered throughout the Cathedral.

There are many sky-walks in Barcelona, connecting one building to another. It is always worth-while to look up when walking through the streets of a European city.

For lunch today, we enjoyed more Pinchos in two bars. The first was much like a buffet style, in which each Pincho had a toothpick in it, and at the end, the server counted how many toothpicks you had to determine how much you were to pay.

The second bar was a Wine bar, in which we tried the Barcelona meat known as Fuet. It looks a lot like the sausage-style jerky found at convenience stores in the states, but is much more palatable.

Tonight is New Years Eve. At midnight, while at a bar, we shall each put twelve grapes in our mouths, then swallow them with champagne.

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