Day One, Part Two: Vamos a Tequila, Seniorita Bonita.

24.04.09

Right now, I am sitting in a cafe across from the Opera House.  I was just going to get a piece of bread and some meat, but the voice that tells me to take advantage of all that Europe has to offer said, “Go! Eat! Drink! Be merry!”  So, I submitted to that voice, my little inner hedonist.  So far, I’m being treated to a sliding glass door with a motion sensor that opens every five seconds or so… just whenever anyone walks by.  On Las Ramblas.  The busiest thoroughway in Barcelona.  Fortunately, it’s still nice out, albeit a little chilly.  (Uh oh… I think I just inadvertently flirted with my waiter by smiling at the picture of Marilyn Monroe behind him…)

It is so funny how obvious tourists are– especially of the American variety.  We have a walk and a particular way of carrying ourselves that gives us away.  I was so disappointed today when I was ordering my (eh hem, second) gelato, and the server immediately started speaking English to me.  I mean, come on!  I have funky black Merrells and a Pashmina!  What more could you people want from me?!?!

I am sipping on the restaurant’s “recommended wine,” so I’m sure I’ll be out 20-euros or so.  I’m at prime take-advantage-of-the-tourist time.  I am tired, I am jetlagged, I am sore, and I am hungry.  Offer me a bottle of liquid diamonds, and I’ll drink ’em up.  Nevertheless, the wine is good– red, dry, and native to Catalunya.  I have ordered a steaming hot plate of paella de verduras, which is surprisingly delicious, given the fact that it is basically just yellow rice, sauce, and steamed vegetables.  It’s warmth is off-setting the increasingly chilly breeze from the crazy automatic door.  (Speaking of which, EW!  I just saw one guy drop a cigarette butt and another pick it up and smoke it).  Ah, Barcelona.

After my Picasso Museum experience (odd, overrun by Italian teenagers, and evidence that Picasso really was somewhat sane at some point in his artistic life), I decided it was time for me to meet this Gaudi fellow that I have heard all about.  So, I took the subway up to the Cathedral of the Sagrada Familia.  As I was emerging from the subway, I wondered if it would be like the first time I was in Rome and exited a subway, only to be smacked in the face by the Colosseum.  But, I walked up the stairs and… nothing.  But then, I turned around.

Sagrada Familia

There is nothing quite like finally seeing something in person that you have seen many times in print.  It feels almost like you are staring at a giant, life-size, three-dimensional print.  It almost doesn’t seem real.  But there it is: you can see it!  You can touch it!  And in this case, this church is like something out of a fairy-tale.  It manages to be whimsical and reverent in one fell swoop.  I think I’m in love with Gaudi.

Parc Guell 2

After having my appetite whetted for Gaudi’s work, I made my way to Park Guell and beheld what I soon knew would be my favorite spot in all of Barcelona.  The park itself seems magical– fanciful and beautiful, with stunning views of Barcelona.  I sat on one of the mosaic-tiled, curving benches and resolved that, should I ever find myself living in Barcelona, I shall spend my days painting this park, singing songs for tourists, and watching the glory unfold around me day after day.  My nights, on the other hand, would probably have to involve some sort of thievery… but that’s another story.  For another day.  For now, I have appropriately toasted Barcelona with my 18.75 mL of wine, and it is certainly time to bring an end to the surreality of this day.  Buenas noches.

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