Friday, July 10, 2009

Sus amigos nuevos

We found the people here to be quite helpful and friendly, especially if we engaged them in conversation. Unlike Costa Rica, we did not hear ‘Buenos’ from everyone in the morning, but this is a busier and larger city than San Juan. We would, however, like to introduce you to our three new friends.


On Wednesday we walked all over the city and found ourselves on La Ramblas in late afternoon. This is a perfect place to sit and watch the pedestrians ambling up and down from the city to the sea. Two of the wooden chairs opened up so we took them and engaged in conversation with a woman, Soledad, who told me she is 78 years old. We talked about our children and grandchildren, what to do in Barcelona, and her apartment near la Sagrada Familia.

She was impressed that two women would travel so far from home and that we were continuing to Alicante for a second conference. She repeated cinquenta cinco numerous times and we figured out that 55was the number of the bus we would take from Placa Cataluyna to see la Sagrada Familia or her home.

Tonight (Friday) we once again saw Soledad with a friend on the street as we walked to supper and we hugged each other as if we were old friends. She gave us her address and phone number to come visit on our return to Barcelona. Kathy and I both commented that we could have missed seeing her if we had waited another 10 minutes in the room to leave for supper or had taken a different route. So, as Earl would say,…Karma must have meant for us to meet again.


On Thursday we returned to an area of Eixample where we had seen the Alexandra Theatre. The sign featured Desayuno en Pelicula (Breakfast and a movie) and we thought that sounded like a unique experience. We arrived to find a small common area with a bar and bartender and a few tables. Carlos prepared café con leche and a package pastry served in china cups and plates.

Carlos took his job very seriously and attempted to explain the schedule which we eventually understood. There was one movie we could see with breakfast for 5.5 euros or approximately $8.00. What a bargain! He was very surprised that I asked to take his photograph and also quite pleased at how he looked. Carlos: “Es bueno.” (It is good) Netta: “Es guapo”. (You are handsome).

The movie, Cerrezos en Flor was wonderful and we highly recommend it, maybe from Netflix. Although it was in Spanish without subtitles, the story unfolded rather slowly with excellent character development. There were only 6 other people in the small theatre which once again emphasized the importance placed on service and tranquil activity here in Barcelona.

Breakfast and a Movie

On our last day today we decided to return to the Catedral Gotic to have a longer look around, especially because Owen loves todos Goth. We toured inside the church and were heading back toward Placa Catalunya when we saw the Trixi Tour vehicles. Although we thought might be a bit awkward to be pedaled around the city, we also thought it a perfect way to see this unfamiliar area. So….we commissioned Oriol for 30 minutes and it was one of the best uses of our euros yet.
He took us through nooks and crannies we would never have found and also to see the Arch de Triomphe and Palau de la Musica Catalana, all the while providing historical and political commentary. Oriol said his name is strictly Catalan, but he was pleased we knew the Oriole bird. He happened to be in San Francisco during the Presidential election and spoke fondly of the celebrations upon Obama’s victory. We learned to never pass up an opportunity due to feeling conspicuous and Oriol earned a little income and, we hope, enjoyed our company.

And so, tomorrow we’re off for Alicante, hopefully toward additional memorable new friends and experiences.

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