We woke up and ate an overpriced buffet breakfast at our hotel, then wandered the streets of Tarragona in the baking sun in search of the Roman sites that dot the town. It was a holiday, so all the stores were closed, making it impossible to buy sunscreen, so that was fun. We encountered the ruins of a Roman theater siting casually among a quite residential area. But the coolest thing was probably the amphitheater down by the beach. Matt and I sat and tried to imagine the violent bloodsports that had once taken place there. All the while I was feeling slightly annoyed and confused by the fact that the ticket man had taken to hating me for reasons that - due to the language barrier - I was unsure of. Matt theorized that he just hated tourists in general - odd, I thought, seeing as how he had to deal with them on a daily basis, you'd think he'd be used to them by now. But his assessment absolutely proved correct once we got to Barcelona - probably one of the most touristy places on earth, and one of the places where tourists are most despised. It's tempting, of course, to despise fellow tourists as a tourist - after all, you always want to see the "authentic" side of a place, which never includes visitors. For somewhere as beautiful and full of artistic inspiration, however, I am fully willing to embrace my identity as a tourist, and refrain from judging the other tourists around me.
Before I go on to describe Barcelona in all it's glory, we still had a few moments in Tarragona, waiting at the train station, where we saw this gorgeous graffiti-covered train. We also got to see the outlying areas between Barcelona and Tarragona, which are sort of a run-down dusty version of the typical idyllic rural Spanish scenery you might see painted on the walls of family-style Mexican restaurant. Arrived to Sants station and hoped on the wonderful metro, which I will later wax poetic about, to find our hostel. I don't think it is the same place Rebecca and Viv stayed in, but it was an extremely nice and hospitable place.
Our first explorations of the city took us to Las Ramblas, the main tourist magnet, filled with clothing shops, street performers, and restaurants oriented towards foreigners. We were lucky to explore it on a holiday when most of the shops were closed, because it wasn't as jam-packed as it ended up being on other days. We hung out a little on the waterfront, and then wandered into Parc de la Ciutadella, a lovely green park where we entertained ourselves by chasing each other around and people watching. Probably the most beautiful feature of the park is this huge ornate fountain. But the people may be more interesting even than the architecture. On the top of the fountain we saw a boy making out with his girlfriend's leg. We also saw more adorable children in one place than I think I've ever seen before, all running freely through the park, chasing each other, inventing games amongst themselves, not a single hovering parent in sight.
We came out of the park and walked towards the Arc de Triumph, before heading back to the hostel and sleeping.
Day 3 will come soonish...I'm not being as quick as I thought but hopefully I'll pick the pace up. ( Pictures!Collapse )