I arrived in Barcelona two days ago and I am loving the city – even more than Madrid. And this time, unlike Madrid, I decided I wouldn’t fly solo without guidebook or language guide, so I bought both at the airport. I was so busy patting myself on the back for my smart thinking that I didn’t spot the hic-up coming round the corner.It took less than 30 seconds of exiting the Metro for my hostel to realise that I’d booked to stay in the Spanish equivalent of hell. Apart from location not being as central as claimed (breach of Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 if we were in the UK!), it smelt of tramp. Mostly because there was one living on every other street corner. A very colourful scent and sight at 11am.
Eternally optimistic, I trudged the streets in search of the hostel for 20 minutes in the hope the neighbourhood would transform into something more upmarket. Alas no. On the verge of losing an inch in height through spine compression from my backpack, I hot footed it back to the Metro to get myself to civilisation pronto. I was a bit freaked out at the idea of being Bedless in Barcelona – not as romantic as Sleepless in Seattle – but with the aid of my iPhone and MacDonalds (for free wi-fi, toilets and, admittedly a sneaky burger) I managed to solve my bed problem. Phew!
Lesson learned: book a hostel in haste, sweat your ass off with your backpack while rectifying the error at your leisure.
Personal Growth Opportunity: I now know how to go to the toilet with 12kgs on my back – no mean feat!
There is a happy ending to this tale. Not only have I bagged an amazing hostel on La Rambla (one of the main streets), I’ve stumbled into Barcelona at exactly the same time as their annual four day festival, La Meche, has started. The days are filled with celebrations – odd giant sized kings and queens (the regal kind) walking round to the sound of drums and flutes – and at night there are free concerts in all of the squares. Cool! So, Thursday I dropped off my bags and headed out with a group from the hostel (lovely group especailly on account of the fact they guessed my age at 24-26 – I am not kidding! this lack of work is good for the wrinkles). I managed to lose time until 3am moving from bar to band to bar to band. Consequently, I spent yesterday wanting to vomit out of my eyes.
The plan was to treat myself to an early night but things didn’t quite work out. Not only was the lure of beach and more bars too great for my complete inability to say no, there was a bit of hot bedding going on (think hot desking in a hostel) – ten new people turned up with a confirmed booking but the hostel was already full. With some creative use of space – kitchen, living room, spare corners – everyone at least got a roof for the night. Fortunately I did get one of the beds – being a single female travel does have advantages! Anyway, there’s nothing like a small crisis and a few bottles of wine to bring a group of people together. JRight, I’d love to stay and blog all day but I’m off to the beach!