BarcaLOCALna (A bad pun but a trip to Barcelona with a local nonetheless)

As Annie, Casey and I left Maastricht en route to Spain, our best friend, Marta, was waiting to welcome us to Barcelona.  We had no idea how hysterical the journey to get to Marta was going to be.

The laughs started with our airport shuttle from Maastricht to Brugge. It was so cheap, we should’ve know there was a catch to the deal. There should have been no way that a van would bring us directly from Maastricht to the Brussels Airport for that price. The “airport shuttle” ended up being an old man who spoke no English in a private vehicle – but we made it there just fine and on time!
During check-in, I pointed to a sign that said Gerona and joined the Gerona line to travel to the Girona, Barcelona airport. The other two made fun of me for standing in the wrong line, so we switched over to the Barcelona line and proceeded to our gate.
As I was entering the plane, the flight attendant stopped me. She said I was on the wrong flight. Apparently, my two friends and I booked different flights to Barcelona, and mine was going to a different airport. We had no time for goodbyes or to make plans because my flight left just minutes after I turned around from the other plane. I made it onto my flight, and sat in a row with strangers instead of my friends.
Besides some chistes, the flight disaster didn’t turn out as potentially devastating as it could’ve been. Marta’s boyfriend, Mark, and his friend picked me up from the airport and we joined the others at Marta’s house for a fantastic paella welcome lunch (albeit a very late lunch due to my late arrival).
Marta’s family is charming – and speaks no English. In my flurry to tell them thank you I jumbled out my high school spanish and somehow managed to get the message across with much laughter and a few confused eye brow furrows.
I spent a lot of time speaking with Marta’s mother. All through high school I studied Spanish but never really enjoyed the classes nor was I particularly good at Spanish. But, placed into a Spanish speaking house for a week, I’ve been able to get along just fine. Languages are frustrating to learn but are such a pleasure to have. When language levels are intermediate, like mine, communication flows but absolutely includes a few hysterical translation issues.
For example on day 1 Marta’s mother asked me if my shoes were comfortable in the heat because they were boots. I immediately took off my shoes, Marta entered the room and asked what I was doing. In Spanish, I apologized for my dirty shoes – we then realized there was another translation error because she had no idea why my zapatos were off. I ended up making a joke of it and throwing them out onto the porch.
Our first night, in typical Spanish time, we headed to the Discoteca around 2am. The Discoteca, called Razzmatazz, is a quintessential club that is famous for its size – five massive rooms all with different DJs including a DJ in the bathroom. Marta had put our names on the list of a prestigious beach club in Barcelona, but after our long tapas dinner with many drinks we somehow ended up deciding on Razzmatazz instead. Which, unlike the other club, doesn’t have a guest-list and instead lets everyone in. This turned out to be the most hysterical crowd I’ve ever encountered, and we all had a blast making new friends and enjoying the evening with our Maastricht crew in Barcelona.
Arriving home at 5:30am we took a few hours of sleep then went to the city. A must eat for lunch is Vienna – a sandwich shop on Las Ramblas. Since a NY Times columnist declared the ham sandwich the best sandwich in the world, the small sub shop has been in the international sandwich spotlight  – and it should stay right there on center stage. Jamon cerrano, tomaten spread on the queso pan – deliciouso! Absolutely, un sandwich major de todos sandwiches en el mundo!
Walking around a city with a local is the best way to see a city, and Marta loved to show off BCN. She was so proud of every street sign, every building, every person – we learned a lot and enjoyed watching our friend light up. She is so Catalan – in Maastricht we didn’t hear her speak Spanish very often, so it was a lot of fun watching her communicate and exist within her own culture. We spent the afternoon walking Barcelona, touring Parque Guelle and loving each other’s company.
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That night, we ate another dinner with Marta’s family and continued to celebrate Annie’s birthday. Marta’s mother showed me her quilts that she made and I put out the standard “Que magnifico!” Spanish words I knew.
6am the next day we headed to Roc de Sant Gaieta to stay at Marta’s beach house.
The view from Marta’s patio:
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We feasted on fruit for every meal and basked in the sun. The waves were massive, so we had many a failed body surfing attempts. Our nights were spent playing cards and laughing about exchange semester stories. We had no Internet, but we had each other and the beach, which is way better.
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Gardens divided the different beach apartments
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Click here to read about the journey from Roc de Sant Gaieta back to Barcelona.
Posted on by Reagan J Payne in Part II, Uncategorized

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