I'm outta here!
I am very fortunate and grateful to be able to travel to Spain today. It started out as a bit of a joke between Matt and I. After some office drama about short notice for a vacation request, I said, "Matt, I'm putting you on notice, I would like to go to Spain next year." It seemed like such a ludicrous statement, it was the height of holiday party season, none of us had taken more than a day or two here or there, and so we all had a good laugh. But here I am. Thanks to Matt, Tara, and the whole HeirloomLA team for making it possible for me to take this trip. I truly appreciate it.
I made a rookie error - although I had made my own flights only a few weeks ago, I guess I looked at so many flights that I confused myself, so I somehow got mixed up and thought my flight left LAX at 8:30pm. Of course, it was actually 8:30am. I honestly would have shown up 12 hours late had I not started to think, "Hold on, if I'm arriving in Barcelona at 8am local time, and it's 16 hours of travel, PLUS a 9 hour time change....Oh, crap!!" Thus the mad scramble across town this morning. Yet another one I owe you, Matt.
[edit to add: I try my best to explain and describe accurately, but sometimes I'm just flat out wrong. If you find something to correct or amplify, please let me know!]
Gray at LAX
I'm trying out a new image editor and new settings, so let's see how this goes... Also, I'm gonna put this whole entry as one page rather than breaking it up. Once that starts, just hit the Continue Reading ... link to see the rest of it.
Like most airlines these days, Delta charges extra for breakfast, and it's still not good. Behold, The Muffinata - English muffin, cold, dense sheet of eggs, cold cheddar, cold turkey, cold bacon, chive mayo. Somehow fatty, salty and dry at the same time. I eat these things so you don't have to!
Even though I had been packing my rolling case and backpack for over a week, in the mad rush I forgot a few things - my prescription sunglasses, the data cable for my camera and BlackBerry, earplugs, electric shaver, large map of Barcelona, and a few other random things [edit to add: money clip, mini-power strip] . I also left one of my guidebooks in my first flight to JFK. Oh, well. Nothing I can't replace or do without for a few weeks. I'm a little out of practice with traveling!
Sunrise from the plane, somewhere over Bilbao, I think...
I took the AeroBus from the airport to Plaza Catalunya, the center of the old part of town. Although I had made arrangements for my cell phone to have international roaming, it's not working. It SUCKS not having a phone and email! I made my way over to the Boqueria, which is kinda like the Original Farmer's Market at Third and Fairfax times a thousand. The quality of the seafood is toptoptop notch. Gorgeous, glistening fish, clams, langoustines, everything. And a bunch of shops selling jamon (Spanish hams) and sausages. Fruit stands, produce stands, etc. Not many locals, although I was there a little bit late.
It's always tricky picking a place to eat when it's clear that a lot of it is tourist food. The "Basque" place sells English breakfast and pizza, so I'll pass on that. I did three or four laps before choosing. There are quite a few places selling tapas and whatnot at the market, I chose the one with the grumpy, crusty cook who looked like he's worked his whole life there, I think BarCentrale. Pretty good call. I had tortilla Espanola(not like Mexican tortillas, rather an egg fritatta with potatoes and onions), pa amb tomaquet (tomato bread) and butifara de Pages (a simply spiced but delicious sausage). I have more pix of these on my phone, but I can't get them off the phone at the moment. I'll insert them here later.
This is the street that my pension is on. A pension is a B&B, a rented room in someone's flat or apartment, they give you a little breakfast. I waited until the last minute to book my accomodations, so I didn't have much choice, but it turned out great. Super convenient location right off Las Ramblas (the paseo/walk street where people gather) Less than half the rate of a hotel, wi-fi included too.
Right now gonna take a break and then go out for a "late" dinner. Spainards often have a snack then have their dinner meal at 9 or 10pm, apparently.