Friday, August 08, 2008

Word is, the rain in this country stays mainly in the plain


Although we had to walk up three flights of stairs and share the bathroom with the rest of the floor, I think that our hostel in Barcelona was my favorite. Our room was large – with a bunk bed and a double and a twin. High ceilings, tile floor. We had a small conservatory with giant windows and a table with chairs where we could sit and look into the back windows of the entire block.

Our sweet digs.

The view.

We're so crazy!

I wanted to purchase one of the canaries that the vendors were selling on Las Ramblas, the city’s main pedestrian drag. To my mind sprung a picture of a little yellow bird swinging in his wire cage in our conservatory. We could try and take him on the train, I reasoned, as a fragile and complicated mascot. Or we could have staged some sort of do-gooder freeing ceremony where we flung the bird into the air and watched him fly to liberty, his feathers blending with the setting sun.

Here's me checking out the price of birds.

But, as it turns out, the birds were 40 euros, not even counting the cage, so it was not to be.

All for the best, I suppose. Our freeing ceremony, although good intentioned, would probably have left the bird unable to fend for himself after years of captivity, fighting pigeons five times his size for crumbs of paella and trash. Eventually, we would find him with a five o’clock shadow on his little feathered cheeks and fingerless gloves on his orange feet, whistling a tuneless song, a tiny little hat at his feet to catch contributions.

I don’t want that on my conscience.

So we left the birds at the pet shop and enjoyed our time in Spain anyway. We bought breakfast from the same little coffee shop (The Times) every morning, carrying it back to our hostel to enjoy in the conservatory. Our days were spent rambling on Las Ramblas, learning the Metro, visiting La Sagrada Familia Cathedral, and finding the beach.

Barcelona is in the Catalonian province, and I was worried that everything would be in their own special, secret language of Catalan. But our stammered and fuddled high school Spanish was enough to get us around.

Laurilee and Jannell have a conversation on Las Ramblas.

Sarah and I buy some bread for dinner at the market.

Paella. Probably the most accurate-looking food known to man. There's no mistaking what you're getting yourself into with a plate of paella.

The interior of that eternal work-in-progress, La Sagrada Familia.

On to Italy via the south of France! Note the discrepancy in backpack proportions.


Holly said...

This is riveting (these tales from your trip, that is)! I finally had to comment. Also, I like the bit about the bird. Additionally, paella is not my favorite. In fact, when I was in Spain, I tried all manner of ways to get out of eating it. Instead, I was given double the amount as my flailing arms and vigorous shaking of the head was interpreted as "please give me more". Or "por favor, dame mas", as they say in Espana. Carry on!

GreenEggsandSam said...

yes please.