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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Barcelona

Probably what most impressed me as a young traveller in Europe on my first visit were the trains. Ever since I’ve loved trains and I try to travel by rail whenever possible. I started out by taking a Valenbisi bike from my apartment to Valencia’s Estación del Norte. The TALGO train to Barcelona was 15 minutes late in leaving—not very Spanish, as I’ve found trains here to be a marvel of precesion. We still arrived at the scheduled time at Barcelona Sants station which looks more like an airport than a train terminal. The train was completely booked as this is a holiday weekend for Valencianos (October 9th is when they celebrate the reconquest of the city from the Moors by Jaume I).

From Sants Station I descended into the Metro, bought a ticket, checked the map, and walked through the bowels of the city to my platform. It was a direct line to the Liceu stop and the sign indicated that the next train was due in three minutes. From the metro stop to where I'm staying is about three blocks. My big complaint about Barcelona is that I can't use their bike share system. Unlike Valencia's model theirs is only for residents. It's too bad because they have stations everywhere.


As I was packing earlier in the day I was sweating. This probably explains the fact that I only brought along one pair of long pants. Waking up this morning was the first day without total sunshine that I have experienced in about four months. I just can’t break out of the summer mentality. It’s not like I risk freezing to death; I just feel a little under-dressed, too casual. I can get away with it because I’m just a tourist after all. I made a decision not to bring a rain jacket. I fugured if it was going to rain I could just visit a museum or two. On my last visit to Barcelona I didn’t go iinto a single museum.


Between the tourists and the immigrant workers you hear almost nothing except bad English here. One of the features of living in the Barri Gotic is hearing all of the late night-earlyu morning revelers, almost all of whom are speaking pigeon English. If it isn't bad English then it's even worse, mostly cringe-worthy Spanish.


*The photo above is the Valenbisi station at the Estació del Nord

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