Lyon to Barcelona.
We left Lyon after only a short stay and headed for the Spanish border. We passed through the Pyrénées mountains which forms a natural border between France and Spain. We stopped at a truck stop at the border and grabbed some food as well as some free Wi-Fi. Free Wi-Fi is something that you learn to grab at any chance available. We all jumped on, checked facebook, sent emails home to family and checked our bank accounts to see how budgets where going? Then back into the Coach until we reached our Barcelona campground. We set up camp and then our awesome tour staff gave us all a “Value Added Extra” a carton of Sangria each. This was the start of the end for many of the group. Everyone got stuck into the Sangria and loaded up on the cheap booze that we all brought at the campground. Unfortunately I did not make it out that night, I was struck down by an old injury which every now and then pops up and gives me no end of pain. When I was 15 I fractured my spine in a mosh pit and now I am paying for it. Any way I stayed at camp resting with a cocktail of sangria, pain killers and some deep heat that my beautiful wife massaged into my back. Lucky enough by the morning I was much better and I was able to walk around and enjoy the city.
We went up to the Montjuic to get a great view over Barcelona and what a view it was. Pity I do not have any photo’s to show you. If you have read my previous posts our camera was stolen in Rome, sorry still a saw point. We visited the 1992 Olympic Games complex which we couldn’t get into as it was all closed up. However we were treated to a cool display of remote control aircraft, these tiny little planes buzzing around like giant bee’s was a cool look into social life in Barcelona. We wondered through the side streets and made our way to the Sagrada Família church, designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). Although incomplete, the church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This massive building is totally awe inspiring and seriously popular by tourists. We arrived there far too late to even consider lining up to enter and climb one of the breath taking spires. However the Sagrada Família church did have its use’s on our tour. One of the guys who was lost the previous night found his way to the church and just waited for us to turn up. He had no idea if we were going to that church, he just assumed it was a site to see and hoped that we would turn up some time. It turns out he got pick pocketed and had lost his phone and wallet. So really a good start to our tour hey?
My new friends, my wife and I all headed to my first ever Hard Rock Cafe for lunch one of the days in Barcelona. I was pretty excited to be in a Hard Rock Cafe and to be eating in one in Barcelona was quite a little bit exciting for me. I brought my very first ever Hard Rock Cafe shirt and a Hard Rock Cafe breast cancer band which I still have not taken off.
That afternoon we went out to watch a Flamenco Show at the Agua de Luna where we learnt the saying “Ole Wapa” sorry for my bad translation, which we were told to yell out at the Flamenco dancers and afterwards hit the Porte Olympico to party. This time I went out, however it was a Sunday and was a little slow out on the Porte. We wondered through the bars and found ourselves chilling out at a Shisha bar. Where I was offered once again some more pot, when I said no thankyou he then offered me coke. So be aware again travellers, drugs are very easy to get in Europe but be careful you never know who is selling to you.
The Shisha bar was a great place to spend the night. We sat around smoking all the different flavours, drinking and getting to know our group. I noticed that the Shisha bar had some Arabic writing on the sign, I can not read Arabic however I had just come from Egypt and thought I would give my very basic Arabic a go. I said hello and thankyou in Egyptian Arabic. Sorry I am not even going to try and write them. This worked a treat and we were waited on hands a feet. The waiter sat and spoke to us in broken English and we had a great, chilled out night. Needless to say that night we had a crash course in European tipping, being Australian’s we do not tip so we do not understand the tipping culture. So we gave this great service a pretty good tip and he was hugely appreciative.
Barcelona is pretty cool city however I was a little disappointed. I was rather surprised that the city pretty much shuts down on Sunday’s even though there were plenty of tourist around. Walking the streets and wondering through some Sunday markets was a nice way to spend our time in Barcelona. I just feel that I did not get the vibe that I have heard all about from this city. I witnessed some street life along the tree-lined La Rambla as well as bunch of “Performers” I use that term rather loosely as they are just more scammers but are pretty cool to watch and try and figure out how they rip you off.
I found myself watching this guy with 3 small boxes and a ball bearing. It was the simple old game that you played when you were kids. All you had to do was follow the box with the ball bearing and choose the correct box. I watched for ages and no one was winning. I knew it was dodgy the second I spotted the man however I was intrigued on how he was performing the scam. I was playing along and I could pick the winning box every time, it was not hard and I was perplexed on how he was scamming everyone. I gathered that the people playing along where in on the scam which turns out is correct. The man pointed to me to choose a box so after watching for probably 10 mins or more I had realised that it was a slight of hand trick. I am still not certain when he did it. So I went to touch a box with my foot, he quickly grabbed the box and asked for money to play. I quickly walked away. It was so intriguing what he was doing and even how people get scammed by this man. If any of you know how he does it please let me know. I look forward to returning to Barcelona and to really experience Spain.