Arriving in Barcelona after Costa Rica was a welcome shock to our systems. We left our sleepy surfing town on a tuesday morning, and by wednesday evening we had traveled through 5 countries and landed in Barcelona, Spain. We were greeted with open arms by our friends from Colorado (now living in Spain) David and Kathy and their two kids Tyler and Carter.
They insisted we stay in their home while we were in Spain and we felt so welcomed. The fridge was stocked, events and activities were planned, everything was in place and ready for us. We arrived in Spain a little after midnight, but our body clocks thought it was about 4 pm, so we were wired and ended up staying up talking till about 4 am. It was great to catch up with our friends of over 10 years.
Our first morning (actually it was afternoon, we slept in until around 2 pm) was a journey into Barcelona. We all hopped on the subway and headed down to the old part of Barcelona. It was amazing. The city reminded me a lot of many cities Erin and I visited our first time in Europe. It was a nice mix of Paris, Venice and even some Italian. Spanish is one of the main languages spoken in Barcelona, so we felt right at home with our previous 6 months of spanish. There was also a lot of English spoken and printed on signs and menu’s, so it was a very easy city to get around and understand.
We ventured down side streets and alleys, wandering through the amazing culture and architecture of Barcelona. Every corner we turned led us to another completely different visual experience. Erin and I immediately fell in love with the city, so much so that we already look forward to going back in the near future. In our short 7 days in Spain I found Barcelona to be one of the cleanest and most interesting cities I’ve ever seen. The streets were pristine, the subways were clean and efficient, the buildings were unique and well manicured and everyone seemed friendly and happy to be there. And the energy of the city was fantastic. The energy reminded me of New York City, but smaller, and cleaner.
Throughout our stay in Spain, Erin and I kept expressing how unusual it was for us to see the sun up for such a long period of time after living in Costa Rica. In Costa Rica, the sun comes up around 5:30 in the morning and goes down around 5:30 every day. It never really changes. Our bodies got used to the fact that when the sun goes down, it’s time to wind down, get dinner rolling and shortly after, put the kids to bed. Our first night in Barcelona we walked into a Tapas bar to have a “snack” before dinner and I looked at my watch and was shocked to see that it was already 7pm. It was still very light outside and would be for another few hours.
The kids were not even close to winding down (7:30 pm was their usual bedtime in Costa Rica), and while jet lag played a part in that, so did the sunshine. They played outside riding scooters while Kathy, David, Erin and I enjoyed some phenomenal tapas.
After tapas, we continued to explore Barcelona on foot. It was wonderful. After a while, Kathy volunteered to take Carter and Abby home via cab to get some rest while the rest of us took the scenic route on foot and eventually made our way home on the subway.
Our first day in Barcelona was a great one. Everyone loved being there and having “tour guides” that lived there made it all the better. We were able to explore and learn without having to guess and waste time figuring out how to do things. It was a perfect way to spend our first non-travel day outside of Costa Rica.