After breakfast a guy walked in to the lobby announcing that the free walking tour was departing so I ran to the room, threw my things in my locker but when I got back the group had already left. One other guy, Joscha, from Germany was also late out the door so we chased them down after getting the general direction from the receptionist. At the plaza we met up and our group of about 30 people was split into two groups, Gaudi and Gotic. Our tour guide was an animated Irish guy; the other was a badly hung over American who couldn’t get his info straight.
We started at the plaza where we saw Antoni Gaudi’s first work, a funky red and grey light pole commissioned by the city of Barcelona. The original designer hired died and Gaudi was tasked with taking over. The government decided since he was young and had no experience that they were justified in paying him only half of the original offer; There are no other buildings in Barcelona by Gaudi that were commissioned by the city; he refused to work for them.
Then we went over to George Orwell Plaza also known as Plaza Trippy since about 9 months ago at any given moment there would be strung out people crashed all over and dealers making offers. The city took a crazy idea and has irradicated the problem… putting in a childrens play ground! Orson wells was in Barcelona for a while and even Wrote a book about Catalunya, having joined the Republican army and being shot in the neck. Now the plaza named after the autor of 1984 and huge curvy modernist interpretation of this event are under ironical 24 hour survailance.
We hit a plaza where a school was bombed and people were lined up for a firing squad; the wall still bears the marks of those killings. After that we stopped to see a Banksy which had a little girl with the caption, “Can your inner child come out and play?”And we also saw along the way a street artist named Invader’s work; he makes small tile mosaics and sticks them up in random places.
We say the place where the first Americans were greeted by the queen(?) after arriving from the New World. Near the museum where you can walk on the actual streets the Romans walked on; they have all been excavated.
Along the way we also saw the art school where Pablo Picasso Began attending at age 14, when most of his peers were in their 20s. I have heard a story about the paint thrown on the front doors but can’t recall it. Since one of the floors caved in it has been shut for visits and is now just another ruin.
On the tour I met two girls, Lotte and Stela from Holland and a girl Isabela from Brazil who is studying psychology in France. After the tour the two Dutch girls and I decided to get lunch at the market off of the “Ramblas”. Along the ramblas we saw the group of Brazilians who were staying at another hostel so we invited them to join, but in Mercado de la Boqueria we decided to split our ways. And it was just the Dutches and I who ate and headed to the hostel.
At the hostel we convinced the English quiet guy, Tony to join us on our trip to Mercado del Encant. He had been sitting at the table writing from breakfast up to that point. When I asked him what he just said random thoughts some of what rhymed but that there was no plot or direction; all of this deduced from random mumbling he struggled to expel.
He seemed to be broke but yet planned to stay here for about 3 more weeks. In the metro station he asked if he could use my metro pass but later he had money for cigarettes and beer. The four of us checked out the market which was shutting down and mainly just like any other flea market checked out Torre Agbar then headed around looking for cigarettes for Toni but all of the tobacco stores were closed so we kept wandering around and found the Arc de Triunf. Originally for the World’s fair in around 1880 there was a work commissioned for Barcelona but the city rejected it saying it was ugly and no one would come to see it. So another guy was commissioned and built a typical arch which I think is pretty impressive but could you imagine if the Eiffel were would have been built in Barcelona instead?
I met some Longboarders along the street passing through the arc. Near the zoo there was a nice park where we sat for awhile talking and continually waving off guys trying to sell beer from a green plastic bag. There were tons of people out enjoying the day, some juggling some throwing Frisbee, couples one on top of the other and others simply alone reading. While we were talking I learned that these two girls were much younger than I ever would have guessed; 18. We were all getting cold since the sun had ducked behind the trees and was setting fast so we decided we would go to the market to buy groceries and make food back at the hostel.
We went to Carrefour and fought ridiculous 2 story supermarket traffic, forgetting to weigh produce before checking out so I had to run down and take care of that and then return to pay. As we were entering the block where our hostal was, after passing the prostitutes, a three person team of pick pockets went to work on a guy about 18-20 years old. The first guy waved his hand right in front of the victims face, the second guy took his wallet from his back pocket and handed it off to the third guy with more style than I have ever seen in the NFL all three were at top speed with the victim trying to keep up but it was no use since they split three ways and he didn’t know who had the wallet. After all of the excitement it hit me that this could have been an act for the real pickpockets but none of us had been hit.
Everyone helped and I mainly gave direction… awesome to have an army of assistants, however tony threw in the tomato with the green peppers instead of with the cucumber so our potato and ground beef curry was without peppers but then Danny from California offered to run and get a few more. And Carola from Germany cleaned some glasses, and gathered plates and forks for our extra green pepper loaded salad. The curry was going well while I cooked it but I left it simmering to come back to it at rest, and the stove off. Carola had to leave for the airport at 10 so we were afraid she wouldn’t be able to eat but it turned out ok.
In the kitchen I met a French girl making macaroni and baby spinach salad with turkey which she asked me to try in a mix of basic Spanish and English and a few words of French. I’m going to have to try this sometime; it was really nice.
We brought out the food and my Japanese friends were mid meal so I let them be as we chowed down. After six people ate we still had enough left for two servings and each of us paid only 3 Euros for diner with wine and juice to drink and some bananas and chocolate for desert.
After dinner Lotte and Tony were talking but I missed what about but when he left she said he was asking her if she heard those noises; none existed she said, confirming my earlier thought. As we were walking he asked me something mumbling then I ask him again and he said he didn’t ask me anything. Later he shushed me but I didn’t say anything. I think we may have someone needing medical attention, hopefully he gets it because he seems like a cool guy but a bit lost.
Since we had tons of food left I ran around asking everyone but most had eaten a few vegetarian but Emma from Vancouver must have been starving because she lit up at the offer of free food. Then Emily and jasmine also from Canada also sat with us talking before long it was late and they decided to go out and I staying here writing this.