Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Day 6: Lisbon, Portugal to Barcelona, Spain

The alarm went off waaaay too early this morning. 6:30am. We were still up after midnight again last night. But it was a quiet night and we both slept well! (Couldn't get yesterday's blog post to upload for anything!)

Quick showers and packing and we were out the door by 7:05. There was a line of taxis right at our corner of Rossio, so that was nice. The aerobus didn't start running until 8am. 

There was some lady at the front of the line who waived at us. Way too eager to get our business, and I don't particularly trust women, haha. But we got in anyways. Of course as soon as we got in she jacked the price up in her little meter...adding on surcharges or something like that. Ridiculous. I would of said something if I wasn't so tired. She drove crazy. And fast. Pretty sure we got air going over one of the hills. I mean, she would floor it right up to the red light (which you could see blocks away) and then slam on the brake. Crazy women drivers... At least it was fast and only 10 Euros. 

Got to the airport about 7:20 and it was busy. The check-in process is a little different, and it took us a couple of minutes to figure out where to go. We had to look on a board to find our flight and then it told us which gate to go check in at. So we went that way...and it was a zoo. Hundreds of people in a giant line that zig zagged back and forth. Ugh. I started to freak out. But ours was on the other side!! I didn't even look over there at first because there wasn't one person over there. But sure enough, that was our check-in!

This line went on forever, the entire length of the check in desks. 

Our line. (And that lady came after us!)

Since this flight wasn't a big international flight, we were going to have to pay to check bags. The website said they had a strict one carry-on bag policy. But the guy behind the desk didn't really seem to mind that we had two. They just had to fit in the little wire thing that was supposed to be the size of the bins on the airplane. I was determine to make mine fit.  Matt said I was being "slightly ridiculous" and the guy was giving me weird looks as I was stomping on my bag and stretching the bin, haha. It was just catching on a shoe, and I knew it was going to fit!! It eventually did. Persistence pays off, the guy tagged it for carry-on!

Matt's bag is a little bigger than mine. He walked it over there, held I up, and said no way. So I took it, sat on it, jumped on it, zipped it up smaller (it has a zipper that lets it expand) and shoved it in. Success! The guy knew I wasn't giving up and was almost laughing by that point. But hey, we saved 60 Euros! And we don't have to wait at baggage claim in Barcelona!

It fits!!

From there we went through security. Somehow I managed to set off the metal detector - no idea how because I didn't have anything on, but I got body searched. It was a little invasive, haha. 

When Matt started putting his toiletries back in his bag (that they made him move from a gallon size Baggie to several quart sized ones), I saw his sunblock. He forgot to put it on again today, so I grabbed it and put some on my hand before he could out it away. He looked at me quite annoyed and said, "Is this really the best time for that?!" As he was trying to get all his turf and get out of the security area.  He thought I was going to make him stand there blocking the line while I put sunblock on him, but I just wanted to get some on my hand while it was out for when we got to the gates! And then I lathered him up. :)

Found a cute little bakery for some breakfast. I had strawberry yogurt and Matt had banana, which tasted exactly like a banana laffy taffy! We shared a ham and cheese croissant and some fresh squeezed oj. 

Airport breakfast. 

Lisbon has a pretty big airport, and nice once you get through the check-in madness. We found our gate from breakfast, and some comfy chairs that reclined and had foot rests. 

Waited about 20 minutes until we started boarding. Europe doesn't seem to have figured out the whole jet-bridge thing. Or maybe it just depends who you fly with. We were on SATA last time and Vueling this time, and neither used them. We had to take buses to and from the terminal to the plane out on the runway and then walk up stairs from there. 

2 hour flight in to Barcelona wasn't bad. It wasn't a full plane and we had no problems with our luggage. We both slept a little, too, so that was nice. 

Of course, since I just bashed Europe for not having bridges to the airport, that flight did. Big, nice airport in Barcelona. Since we got to skip baggage claim, we went straight for an exit. We got on an escalator down, but quickly realized it was only to the taxi stand. So we turned around - mid escalator - and ran back up as it was going down, laughing the whole way. No one was behind us obviously. Oh the adventures...

Bought two bottles of water at a little shop inside (still not risking the tap water) and realized how much easier Spanish is for us vs Portuguese. I know two words of Portoguese, hello and thank you. Not too helpful. We do pretty well with Spanish. 

Anyways, on to the buses we saw. We found the aerobus - and the giant line behind it. I waited in line while Matt went to get tickets from a machine. But it noticed that if you had a ticket ahead of time, there was a girl at the back letting people on.  Everyone else was trying to buy a ticket on the bus at the front. So when he got back, we a snuck up to the lady and hopped right on - avoiding the whole line! And we even got two of the last seats.

 4 stops later, we were at Catalunya plaza. Our hostel was within a couple of blocks from there. 

Our bus

The plaza where we got off 

I pulled out my directions, which pretty much sucked, so we had to turn data on on Matt's phone to get walking directions to Hostal Campi just off Las Ramblas down an alley. They buzzed us in. 

Stairs. More stairs. I swear, there are stairs everywhere in Europe! All the buildings are so old, and elevators probably didn't exist then. 

The check in desk was on the second floor. And then our room was two more flights of stairs up. Ugh. Not cool with a backpack and suitcase. (Not cool with or without bags actually.)

Our room was small again, but not as small as the one in Lisbon. I mean, we could walk around the bed this time. And we paid extra to upgrade to a room with a private bathroom. No more sharing. We have a tiny little toilet and ridiculously small shower in our room. 

I personally liked the place in Lisbon better. It had more character, haha. This is like a super run down hotel kind of. But it is nicer I guess. I has a tv and a tiny balcony, too! Living the high life here, haha. 

We were in the rooming enough to drop our stuff off, change in to running clothes, and figure out where we were on the map. Our room is literally half a block off Las Ramblas, kind of the main tourist run in Barcelona. So we went straight there to find some food. 

Las Ramblas. Perfect weather. 

Ended up at a little pizza place again after looking at a few other places. We shared a salad and pizza, both of which were pretty good!

Continued the walk down Las Ramblas amidst the sea of people. I had no idea Barcelona was such a big and packed city. Reminds me of NYC. Nuts. 

I wanted to stop and look at every single thing. Take it all in. Matt reminded me we would never make it to the end of las Ramblas if I kept that up. 


Okay, it's 12:53am and we just for back to the room. Slightly behind on writing today! Quick highlights for now (so I know what to go back and write about):

Fruit juice - strawberry coconut
Meat and fruit market
Soccer jersey and new scarf #1
Stumbled upon another square
Found a bathroom in Starbucks
Cathedral in gothic area
Back to Las Ramblas to make it to the end
Street performers 
Snuck in to museum to find a bathroom
Walked along water
Ran to park and through it - only 2.8 miles (we're tired from stairs!)
Took break on park bench and ordered waters in perfect Spanish!
Walked to sagrada de familia 
Stopped at grocery store along the way for snacks 
Long line at familia 
Subway back to near Catalunya
Bought scarf #2 on way back to Hostal
Showered and went out for dinner
Lonely planet recommendation not far away: Pla
Stopped in mango shop along the way - Matt bought blazer
Pla packed - could come back at 10:30 for dinner
Walked around, ate banana gelato, sat on fountain in square while waiting 
Sat at bar while waiting for table
Saw Grizzly Bear (band) and said hi
Got table at 10:45 and place was still packed 
Tomato soup, shaved ham with tomato bread, lamb shoulder with licorice and honey sauce, filet for Matt, creme brûlée for dessert
Clean silver wear after every course
Glass bottle of water - barely pour any in glass
Best. Meal. Ever. 
Walked back (got a little turned around)
Street cleaners
Sleeping in tomorrow and more sightseeing in Barcelona!

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