Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Barcelona Arrival

I am here after an uneventful trip. The shuttle was slick (1.5 hrs) and I passed the time (4 hrs) fairly easily in Hartsfield. In comparison to the Allegiant planes with large seats and plenty of leg room, the 767 was packed with really tight quarters making it worthwhile to be height disadvantaged. Individual TVs in the back of the seat kept me entertained as I slept only about an hour just prior to breakfast, Egg McMuffin style. I cannot recommend “I Love You, Man” and give mixed reviews to “Sunshine Cleaning”. Several episodes of a travel show by Andrea, a wine sommelier, and her tag-a-long husband John were much more entertaining. On our way out of the plane we passed through Business section where it appeared the seats converted to beds. Delta strikes again

There were several young adults on the plane and I sat next to a young man who is in Pharmacy school in Ann Arbor coming to observe a pharmacy here for a month. It won’t surprise anyone that I re-grouped my bits once more in the airport and purchased another Dash at Brookstone. It worked beautifully and I am a happy traveler.

I debated transportation options from the airport and really wanted to try to navigate on my own instead of in a taxi. The Aerobus was slick and I found the Jazz Hotel a short walk and one question for directions away from the bus stop. Hotel Jazz is centrally located, just off Placa Universitat and its modern façade in the midst of historical buildings. The room isn’t ready so I am sitting in the lobby now after walking around a bit and eating a breakfast of under cooked fried egg, greasy bacon, and French fries which the waiter and I settled on in our version of Spanglish, or maybe I should say Catalanglish. The café con leche was delicious.

Barcelona is large and sprawling, 1.7 million in the city proper, but it seems well planned and fairly easy to navigate. The plazas here are called Placas (plah.say.duh), and are the focal points for the city’s neighborhoods and business areas. The Ramblas (streams) is the very popular walking, shopping, eating, people watching avenue that serves both as a hub and a connection of city and sea. Smaller streets branch off of it and I plan to walk its 1 mile length as an introduction to my temporary residence. It’s bustling around here with tourists and locals interspersed. It’s good to see so much Spanish everywhere and I hope to improve skills by reading and speaking it these next two weeks exploring another grand city.

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